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  1. anupumh's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile What is Neutral Accent?

    Hi,

    I would like to ask all the English Teachers..

    What do you understand by Neutral Accent?

    Thanks

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Among all the varieties of English, there are those that are widely considered less extreme in their pronunciation, more middle-of-the-road: the English spoken from Chicago to Toronto, around the Great Lakes; and the English of the South-East in England. Australians are also easy to understand and not at all grating. These might be neutral accents.

  3. anupumh's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Among all the varieties of English, there are those that are widely considered less extreme in their pronunciation, more middle-of-the-road: the English spoken from Chicago to Toronto, around the Great Lakes; and the English of the South-East in England. Australians are also easy to understand and not at all grating. These might be neutral accents.
    Dont you think the term "neutral accent" is an oximoron?

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    No, it is only the ethnocentric that view their own dialects as having no accent. Enlightened souls agree we all have accents, and speak dialects of a neutral collective. But it would be unrealistic to say they are all equidistant from the centre.

  5. anupumh's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    No, it is only the ethnocentric that view their own dialects as having no accent. Enlightened souls agree we all have accents, and speak dialects of a neutral collective. But it would be unrealistic to say they are all equidistant from the centre.
    So, if you feel everybody has an accent, then what is the basis of the term "Neutral Accent"?

    As something which is neutral should not have an accent and an accent can be intelligible but never neutral...

  6. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Only if you view neutrality as a black-and-white absolute: I feel there are degrees of neutrality, there are differences from averages and norms that can be measured as more or less extreme.

  7. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    But it would be unrealistic to say they are all equidistant from the centre.
    If that were true, where is the centre? To say that not all are equidistant from thecentre assumes the existence of a centre, and in that scenario, the centre from which not all are equidistant would be the "neutral accent", no?

  8. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    There doesn't have to be anyone at the centre for there to be a centre. Again, we're talking normative criteria for truth and falsehood, not logical or factual criteria. No matter what language you learn, there is a consensus about which accent is the middle ground. Egyptian Arabic, Paris French, RP English, Chicago English, Beijing Mandarin, Colombian Spanish... I am not making an argument about geometry.

    "Never make fun of Society, Algernon, only people who can't get into it do that."


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    #9

    Re: What is Neutral Accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    Hi,

    I would like to ask all the English Teachers..

    What do you understand by Neutral Accent?

    Thanks
    A neutral accent does not contain manners of pronunciation that are attributable to local or regional manners of pronunciation within a given country. Or it contains very few of those manners. It's that simple. I don't think that an accent is either neutral or not neutral. There are degrees of neutrality. The label "General American" is used to describe American English that is not noticeably affected by regional manners of speech in pronunciation, expressions, grammar usage, and vocabulary usage.

    The notion that the midwestern accent of the United States is the "neutral accent" of American English is false, as I see it. That's what "they say" and some people think it's true. Bless them, but that's just going along with what "they say" and not really listening and paying attention. I've spoken to people from the south whose pronunciation is not at all affected by any regional southern USA dialect. They sounded very neutral to me. Of course, there are plenty of southerners who speak with noticeable southern accents. As well, people have told me that my accent is neutral. On a few occasions, students have told me that my pronunciation does not sound like everyone else's around here: it sounds clear and easier to understand. Someone in finance and risk management, who works for the Colombian government, recently told me this at a business-social dinner.

    So now back to the so-called midwestern neutral pronunciation. I've spoken to people, and have heard people, from midwestern states who sound like cowboys. Now if you sound like a cowboy, that's not a neutral accent.

    In my opinion, politicians turn their neutral accents off and on, depending on the occasion. I think Barak Obama does this. He can sound very neutral, and other times it'll sound like his speaking style, or pronunciation style, is "colloquial midwestern". Of course, some politicians only know how to speak one way. Those that can switch are far more adept and skillful communicators: they understand how to use register. The more informal one is, the more regional one might sound. Even if a politician sounds like he's from one part of the country, the people can still relate to a regional sounding accent, in a way and in my opinion.
    Last edited by PROESL; 24-Oct-2009 at 17:39.

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