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  1. VIP Member
    Retired English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Jul 2015
    • Posts: 18,411
    #11

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    I was born and went to school in the southern part of the county of Hampshire, on the south coast of England.

  2. Newbie
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
      • Home Country:
      • Brazil
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      • Brazil

    • Join Date: Jul 2016
    • Posts: 5
    #12

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    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.
    Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't aware of that. I see it now :)

  3. Skrej's Avatar
    Key Member
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 3,555
    #13

    Re: English accents and ESL speakers

    I generally don't worry much about accents with my students, other than trying to reduce their first language accents to a point where it no longer interferes with their ability to speak comprehensible English. At their level of language, there are far more pressing problems to worry about.

    I teach in the middle of the United States, primarily with unskilled laborers. As long as their English is comprehensible, I don't consider it at all important what accent they have. Of course, they tend to pick up my accent if they remain with me for long, but fortunately I have a fairly neutral generic US accent, at least when teaching.

    Since many of them are migrants, I do make a point to point out that not every native English speaker they will hear will sound like me, and cover a few of the basic differences they can expect to hear in various parts of the US. I don't spend a lot of time on it, just some general highlights, mostly dealing with regional vocabulary differences on common items. My primary goal however is just to teach them how to deal with unexpected differences, rather than expecting to adapt their accents as they relocate.

    I only occasionally say anything about non-American accents, aside from the rare times something comes up in class discussion, although towards the end of a session I do sometimes play samples of English accents from around the world, of both native and non-native speakers, for fun and to prove my point about not expecting everyone to sound like me. I'll play some samples of accents that I even have a hard time comprehending, contrasted against some I have little or no trouble following.

    When you start dealing with students who are concerned about using English for international business or higher academia, then accent reduction and English variants are more of a concern. Generally, it's my opinion that students should learn a fairly generic, neutral accent of the type of English where they're most likely to live, study, and do business. Ergo, a neutral US accent is probably better for those who'll be living anywhere in the North, Central, or South American continents. If they're going to be living in Europe, then a fairly neutral British accent would serve them well.

    Students from most Asian countries seem to prefer a US accent, mostly because they expect to be dealing with American clients. I've heard and read that for example in South Korea, the preference for American English is so strong that some language schools will even hire an American over a potentially more qualified British candidate just because they deem American English more desirable, for right or wrong.

    I sort of suspect that American influence in film and music probably plays a role in that preference in Korea as well, but that's just a hunch. The irony with that of course is that there are a good many actors from all over the world, some whose native language isn't even English, who adopt an AmE accent for a film role.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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