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    #1

    Do second language speakers have difficulty understanding English dialects?

    Hey guys, I'm writing my English coursework around non-native English speakers. I've seen a similar question answered before but I'm curious to find out whether non-native speakers have difficulty understanding dialects, and dialectal terms. Also, which dialects are most difficult and what struggles are most common? This may be a weird question, but how does it make people feel if we accidentally pre-judge intelligence, and become stressed with having to repeat ourselves?

    I hope you guys can help!

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Do second language speakers have difficulty understanding English dialects?

    Even we native speakers sometimes have difficulty understanding some dialects; therefore the more so for second language speakers.

    As to accent, having spent time in India and married an Indian, I am pretty good at Indian English, which can be very hard for many native speakers to understand. Scottish, on the other hand, sometimes defeats me. But Irish English I always understand and delight in.

    As to dialectal terms, there are very many. Think back to "500 miles" by The Proclaimers. Who in the world knew what "haever" meant? Only because of that song I now know that "haever" means "talk rubbish." Another example is "godown" which means "warehouse" but is nowadays unknown outside of the subcontinent.

    I have often wondered how well a Texan with a big drawl and a Scotsman with a heavy brogue would understand each other.
    Last edited by probus; 26-Jan-2015 at 05:28.

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    #3

    Re: Do second language speakers have difficulty understanding English dialects?

    I'm British, but I had to ask three people for directions in Newcastle.

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    #4

    Re: Do second language speakers have difficulty understanding English dialects?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I'm British, but I had to ask three people for directions in Newcastle.
    I am constantly runnig into the same problem in my native tongue, especally when I have to travel around the country (and officially, we don't have dialects in the sense English has). Another torture is written instructions - quite a few can be read backwards with no significant difference. At a certain point I even began to question my own intelligence but then it sturck me that I could easily get by in the country, language of which I speak fairly little.

    I am not sure I got your last question. In my experience, native speakers of any language can repeat their utterances twice at best without getting irritated. The desperate desire to make themselves understood runs exclusively in the blood of language teachers.

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    #5

    Re: Do second language speakers have difficulty understanding English dialects?

    I think that the interconnected society we live in will reduce the differences to an extent- dialect differences are already less marked than they used to be.

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