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  1. Newbie
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      • Native Language:
      • Urdu
      • Home Country:
      • Pakistan
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2014
    • Posts: 7
    #1

    Understanding the accent. How?

    Hi,

    My first post. Hope to learn from the learned people here.

    I am in a strange kind of dilemma due to which I am losing my confidence. Allow me to share my situation and to have some solution. I arrived in UK last year and working as a doctor. I have passed academic IELTS with 7.5 overall bands, 7.5 in each test. This might reflect that I am a moderate to advance English speaker.

    My problem is I am really having hard time understanding the accent. I sometimes do not understand simple sentences. In London, I feel easy to comprehend and mingle with the people which I think because of clear Queen's English accent. But as you go up to the midlands and highlands, not to speak of Scotland, the accent of the people is entirely different. Nowadays, I am working in Yorkshire. Here, accent is 'hard', 'rigid' and 'heavy'. As a doctor, I need to understand what patient is talking about otherwise I might do mistakes in judgement (which have not yet occurred) in turn wrong treatment. I never thought of this situation as I have always been under the impression that I am a normal English speaker with of course some inaccuracies here and there but now I feel embarrassed and ashamed asking to repeat the sentence everytime when I don't understand.

    I would like to know what can I do to improve my ability to understand different accents apart from listening to the language spoken by the people.

    Thank you very much for your time.
    Regards.
    Last edited by Emid; 19-May-2014 at 01:06.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    That's a problem in Australia too with mostly Asian doctors who can be enticed into the bush and regional centres to practice. I don't think there's a simple solution at all. My advice would be to work in places where you can understand the accent. That is ethical, and you'd enjoy it more. I understand that you might not be free to do that.

  3. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Urdu
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      • Pakistan
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2014
    • Posts: 7
    #3

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That's a problem in Australia too with mostly Asian doctors who can be enticed into the bush and regional centres to practice....
    Thank you. What I have noticed is that the native English speakers do sometimes fall in the same situation (to a lesser extent) when they encounter people from other regions. Scottish accent and jargon is difficult to understand to them too for example. Yes, there is no simple solution apart from listening carefully and hopefully after spending time you learn. Moving to other areas is not a possibility until I complete the term.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #4

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    In my experience, Australian people are very cooperative. If you have trouble understanding them, tell them so. Ask them to speak slower. They will try to help you. I was on the phone today with an Australian colleague. I needed his name and didn't get it the first two times. So I asked him to spell it and that took two more times. But I finally got it.

  5. Newbie
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      • Urdu
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      • Pakistan
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    • Posts: 7
    #5

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    If you have trouble understanding them, tell them so. Ask them to speak slower...
    This is exactly what I do, Mike. I don't want any mistake to happen when treating patients. Just sometimes it causes irritation to me and to the patient. But I never go blindly even it puts me in stress.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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      • United States

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    #6

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    You will get it. I spent two weeks in Australia once and I understood much more when I left than when I arrived. I lectured for the first week and I wondered how they felt.

  7. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Urdu
      • Home Country:
      • Pakistan
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: May 2014
    • Posts: 7
    #7

    Re: Understanding the accent. How?

    :D
    I leave the hospital everyday with the same feeling that how they felt. Thanks for encouraging though.

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