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    #1

    Lightbulb English accents and ESL speakers

    Good morning/afternoon/evening to you all! Thanks for having me here.

    I'd like to propose a discussion on the English accents (from native English speakers) and how we as ESL teachers/speakers deal with them.

    As ESL teachers/speakers, do you feel that, aside from your natural accent (the one that comes from your native language), people find it natural to at least "try" to sound as standart American as possible, and as a consequence they think it's "weird" when ESL speakers, because of whatever reasons may be, use another native-english accent such as the British or the Australian?

    I'm asking this because as an ESL teacher/speaker I have noticed that, at least here in Brazil, standart American is considered the "right" way to pronounce the words and when we see native-Portuguese speakers trying to sound differently from that, we tend to believe that this is necessarily unnatural, forced, even an attempt to sound "fancier" compared to the other ESL speakers. This kind of "prejudice" is actually unconscious, I feel it and I've talked about it to some of my advanced English students, who feel the same way.

    Could this be a consequence of the american culture widespread - specially in the American continent? After all, as ESL speakers we would theorically be free to use whatever accent we want to and not be judged by it, but that's what seems to happen very often...

    Could this also be related to the way that the Americans themselves think about the way the British speak? (I've seen Americans refer to it as "classy" or "noble").

    Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.
    Last edited by Ferhenrique; 04-Jul-2016 at 19:02. Reason: Moderator's advice

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Welcome to the forum.

    Before we continue, please click on Edit Post and capitalise English, American, Australian, Portuguese and British each time they appear. You remembered to capitalise Brazil so you clearly know that proper nouns like this need a capital letter.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    Before we continue, please click on Edit Post and capitalise English, American, Australian, Portuguese and British each time they appear. You remembered to capitalise Brazil so you clearly know that proper nouns like this need a capital letter.
    No problems. Sorry about that :p

    • Member Info
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    #4

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    There are many parts of the world where other variants tend to be more common, so I would say no. What's true for Brazil doesn't apply in many places. My experience has not been in your part of the world, so I see things differently. However, that is not to say that ESL speakers in, say Europe, are speaking with a British RP accent.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    My own accent is close to RP, and so that is the accent I use in my teaching. Most of the recorded material available to me has been from British publishers, which has made it easier to stick to this accent, and to enable learners to use it. I also try to expose my learners to material recorded by speakers of other dialects in listening comprehension. A learner who has been exposed only to RP (or to standard American English) will not find life easy in many parts of the English-speaking world

    If my learners have already acquired a North American, Australian, Irish or regional British accent, I do not normally* try to change them. Most regional accents are perfectly acceptable.


    * There are certain accents, such as English Cockney, that are not ideal for high-level business presentations.

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    #6

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Most learners seem to acquire a fairly neutral accent with first language influence. I have rarely come across learners outside London who have picked up strong Cockney accents. International English seems to be winning the day for me. Gor blimey, guv, and no mistake.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Most learners seem to acquire a fairly neutral accent with first language influence.
    That's a revealing comment. You and I, speakers of an RP-ish type accent regard our accent as neutral.

    It happens to be what circumstances have conspired to make the 'standard' accent, but it's no more neutral to a Geordie or a Glaswegian than their accents are to us.

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    #8

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Among European speakers, for instance, there is something of a general international standard, which has some first language influence. A young German speaker will probably have less difficulty in understanding a Spanish speaker than many a British regional accent. However, I don't see it as RP- it's more neutral than that because of it's supranational.

    Interestingly, one place where RP is alive and well is the Singaporean Asia News Channel, which has many RP speakers- far more than BBC World.

    • Member Info
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    #9

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Thank you for answering. Would you mind telling me where you're from? I wonder if the case I presented would then be exclusively valid for Brazil (where I'm definitely sure RP would not be perceived as "neutral") or if it's related to the American continent or something like that, since you both seem to be speaking from an European point of view.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Are you asking exactly where they're from in the country in which they developed their natural/native accent? If you just want to know which country they're from, simply click on the "Member Info" under the username on the left and you will see any user's native country.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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