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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Grade my accent - please

    Hello!

    I am Błażej and I come from Poland. I am seventeen years old. I have been learning English for nearly ten years.

    I would like to ask you to grade my accent - please. My teacher says that she is impressed by my British way of pronunciation. However, I would like to get an opinion from other people (preferably native speakers). I would appreciate any constructive criticism of my accent. What should I improve?

    I attach a link to a sample of me reading Tolkien's "Hobbit":
    https://youtu.be/VohUOqFIzMM

    Kind regards

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    Quote Originally Posted by rudy29 View Post
    Hello!

    I am Błażej and I come from Poland. I am seventeen years old. I have been learning English for nearly ten years.

    I would like to ask you to grade my accent - please. My teacher says that she is impressed by my British way of pronunciation. However, I would like to get an opinion from other people (preferably native speakers). I would appreciate any constructive criticism of my accent. What should I improve?

    I attach a link to a sample of me reading Tolkien's "Hobbit":
    https://youtu.be/VohUOqFIzMM

    Kind regards
    I give you a B+. You have a good feel for the rhythm and "roundness" of British English. Some of your pronunciations are slightly off - the R in "for," the I in "like," for example - but overall, you've done very well for just ten years of study.

    No one would mistake you for American, Irish, Scottish, South African, or Australian!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I give you a B+. You have a good feel for the rhythm and "roundness" of British English. Some of your pronunciations are slightly off - the R in "for," the I in "like," for example - but overall, you've done very well for just ten years of study.

    No one would mistake you for American, Irish, Scottish, South African, or Australian!
    Thank you very much for your answer

    It is good that I have a good feel for the rhythm. It comes probably naturally for me, because I have never really learnt accent and pronunciation apart from some basics. Many teachers in Poland do not pay much attention to that matter. I have always copied what I heard. Recently I watched a few series of Top Gear in English. I will try to watch more British films and documentaries. Is it enough to improve my accent?

    Meanwhile, I realized that my pronunciation during reading aloud is quite different than during talking on the spot. In my opinion it is even better. May I upload that kind of sample?

    I have two more questions:
    1. Do I sound posh sometimes?
    2. Can you say that I am Polish by hearing me speaking?

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    #4

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    1. I'd say your accent is on the posher side of the spectrum. I recommend that you stick with that unless you move to England. If you move there, your accent will naturally shift towards something that matches those of the people you spend the most time with.

    2. Your accent is Slavic. I grew up hearing Polish-accented English from my mother, though I didn't become aware that she had a foreign accent until I moved away from home to go to college. (This was a strange experience: I moved away, and my mother gradually acquired a Polish accent!) Her accent, like yours, started as a Polish accent layered onto English-accented English; after she immigrated to the USA, her accent gradually shifted until there were few hints that she had once favored English pronunciations. My father tells me she did this in just a few years. As a very young child, I noticed that she changed the way she said restaurant, shifting from a French-influenced English pronunciation* with a nasal at the end to the American version that pronounces the word as it's written. This was probably one of the last pronunciations she changed.

    My grandmother spoke English with a heavy Polish accent. Like you, she learned English from Polish teachers who did not teach students how to improve their accents. Your accent is far better than hers was.

    I also have cousins who immigrated to the USA from Russia, so I've heard Russian accents quite a lot. Russian and Polish accents are similar enough that many Americans might think you were Russian. I think I'd guess you were Polish or Czech, but I can't be sure.

    *English people are famous for (among other things) mangling the pronunciation of words borrowed from French. Restaurant is, on some peoples' lips, one of the rare exceptions.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    Reading a text is not a good way of showing your pronunciation- it would be better if you recorded yourself speaking naturally. Your accent is fine, though I would say that you put more emphasis on the vowel sounds than a native speaker would- you may be trying too hard there.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    And if you do what Tdol suggests, you could increase the input volume.

  5. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: Grade my accent - please

    The next sample of my accent. This time I used another device. I think the sound is slightly better.
    Sorry, it took so long, because I was really busy - school.

    Here's a link: https://soundcloud.com/user-338442402/my-accent

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