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    #1

    English accents and dialects

    1/ In England, except for Cockney, do English people have other dialects?

    2/ I heard about that the accent in mid-western USA is considered relatively standard AmE, and the accents in the south of the USA are somehow difficult to understand. For example. Texas. Is this true?

    3/ Will people who are native speakers in the UK and the USA try to get rid of their own accents, and try to have a relatively standard English?

    For example, will the eastern Londoners try to learn RP and get rid of Cockney?

    4/ In some prestigious schools i.e. Harrow, will teachers be required to speak RP?

    In China, top schools requrie their teachers to pass the standard Mandarin test, and at least reach level B. (The best is level A)
    Last edited by tree123; 02-Jan-2020 at 06:04.

  2. J&K Tutoring
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    #2

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Can you tell where someone is from in China by the way they talk? I'm sure you can! It's the same all over the world. There can never be a 'standard' English, or any other widely-used language.

    1. Certainly! I'm a citizen of the United States of America, but I always have to turn on the subtitles if I watch a movie or TV show where the characters are from Northumberland.
    2. Midwestern AmE is somewhat standard but I think that's only because by definition the Midwest is in the middle of the country. Go to any edge of what is considered the Midwest and you start to hear a definite trend toward the next geographical dialectic distinction. In my opinion, the least inflected Ame is in the Northwest. Southerners do have more or less heavy accents, but Texas is no heavier (and arguably rather less) than other southern states further East. There is actually an on-line test that is remarkably accurate in determining where you come from by the way you say certain words in AmE.
    3. Impossible. Native BrE speakers can address this in more detail.
    4. I can't speak for British schools, but I think that western society as a whole is learning to judge people by the content of their character, and not by the way they talk, as long as they demonstrate proper grammar and usage.


    Edits in red.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 02-Jan-2020 at 23:58.

  3. Member
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    #3

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Can you tell where someone is from in China by the way they talk? I'm sure you can! It's the same all over the world. There can never be a 'standard' English, or any other widely-used language.
    Received Pronunciation (RP), commonly called BBC English and Standard British pronunciation or Southern British pronunciation, is an accent of Standard English in the United Kingdom and is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as "the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England ", although it can be heard from native speakers throughout England and Wales.
    from wikipedia

    Mandarin or Putonghua is a nationwide standard Chinese used in the mainland of China. It has been standardized and legalized. As I stated in the first post, many top Chinese schools require teachers to pass Mandarin test. Asides for ordinary teachers, most professional hosts, anchors, broadcasters are well-trained in the media universities.

    I am not completely able to tell where people are from in China simply by their accents. Some people I can; some people I can't.

    I am from the south of China, and went to Dalian which is an eastnorthern city for a few days, and I was soon affected with the local accent. When I took the taxi after I walked out from the plane, the taxi driver asked me where I was originally from. I said, "Can you guess"? He said "Eastnorthern provinces?" He was wrong about that.

    Besides Mandarin, I learnt Japanese before. The textbooks were named Standard Japanese which is based on Tokyo accent. The textbooks were co-edited by Sino-Japanese linguists.

    I learnt a little German before. However the accent or the pronunciation of German I learnt is based on certain standard. There are two Germans. One is called high German. The other is called low German. My friends study in Germany. He said it was very difficult for him to understand his lecturers' German who are from the South.



    4. I can't speak for British schools, but I think that western society as a whole is learning to judge people by the content of their character, and not by the way they talk, as long as they demonstrate proper grammar and usage.
    I think there's a popular idea in the West which is called political correctness. However the reality is not really all about correctness. I've searched the Internet before that many Western people claimed that they have been discriminated because of their accents.

    Martin Luther King said "We judge people by the content of their character, but not by their skin". Something like that. I couldn't recite his words verbatim. Sadly it is undeniable fact that there is still racism in the West as well as in the USA too.

    And I believe classes are still important in the UK, and some other European countries. So British people, if not all, are interested in the royal family. Many British politicans actually are from the upper class.

    American movie named My Fair Lady produced in 1964 tells how accents were important in England. Why did the haughty professor fall in love with the humble forist? Why did she finally become a fair lady? Would you say the change of her accent was not a factor, even if it would have been a minor factor?
    Last edited by tree123; 02-Jan-2020 at 12:46.

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: English accents and dialects

    1) Oh, yes! See a list of dialects in England here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...nglish#England

    3) Generally, not so much nowadays, not unless they have a compelling reason. Among those who might are people who would benefit professionally in some way from speaking differently, such as actors. It was much more common to do so in the last century.

    4) No.

    Be careful you don't confuse dialect with accent.

    Quote Originally Posted by tree123 View Post
    My Fair Lady produced in 1964 tells how accents were important in England. Why did the haughty professor fall in love with the humble forist? Why did she finally become a fair lady? Would you say the change of her accent was not a factor, even if it would have been a minor factor?
    Perhaps you should watch the film (or read the book) to answer these questions.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 02-Jan-2020 at 14:05.

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    #5

    Re: English accents and dialects

    The "standard" Midwestern accent used on TV in the US (particularly on the news) is not an actual, real-life accent. It is rather a careful removal of traits from the speaker's natural accent.

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...ithout-accents

  6. J&K Tutoring
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    Re: English accents and dialects

    jutfrank has made the key statement: "...don't confuse dialect with accent." I hope you will think about that a bit.

    Your post #3 is quite lengthy with several different points, and I will have something to say in response, but I don't want to dig into it at this late hour.

  7. Member
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    #7

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The "standard" Midwestern accent used on TV in the US (particularly on the news) is not an actual, real-life accent. It is rather a careful removal of traits from the speaker's natural accent.

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...ithout-accents
    I think I understand what you are talking about.

    Likwise, Standard Mandarin or Putonghua is not an actual accent, but a rather artifical accent. It is basedon the accents of Beijing dialect and other northern dialect. People who are originally from Bejing are not qualified to be broadcasters, especially working in state-owned TV state stations. Their accents have to be corrected by those experts.

    But this artifical Mandarin has been promoted in the mainland of China. If people speak Mandarin with severe dialect accents, their accents will be either poked fun or slightly be discriminated. If people are teachers of Chinese who fail to speak and teach good standard Mandarin to their pupils, I assume many parents will be frustrated.


    I've searched from the Internet it is said that standard American English refers to English without accents. It is much like Putonghua.
    Last edited by tree123; 02-Jan-2020 at 17:13.

  8. Member
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    #8

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    jutfrank has made the key statement: "...don't confuse dialect with accent." I hope you will think about that a bit.

    Your post #3 is quite lengthy with several different points, and I will have something to say in response, but I don't want to dig into it at this late hour.
    Without realizing this post of yours, I've deleted it after second thought, because I think it is largely irrelevant to the topic as it is about values I hold and I don't know how much legroom the mods will give me. Sorry.

    In Chinese, dialect and accent always affect each other. I am unable to speak perfect Standard Mandarin, because it is affected by my mother tongue. Most people cannot speak perfect Mandarin and their Mandarin with accents are because of their dialects.

    Without Standard Mandarin, I couldn't understand the other dialects which belong to the family of the Chinese language. They are like German and Dutch, German and English. Many of them have quite different pronunciations.


    My English accent is largely affected by my Chinese too.
    Last edited by tree123; 02-Jan-2020 at 16:28.

  9. VIP Member
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    #9

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Most people in the US talk the way that they talk. Some will attempt to lose an accent, for personal or professional reasons. I am careful not to use particular dialect words when I speak to people from outside my area. When talking to those who are not native English speakers, I tend to enunciate more clearly and restrict my vocabulary.

  10. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: English accents and dialects

    Tree, you can't delete any posts except your own.

    It's northeastern.

    If you make your posts shorter it will be easier to correct any errors.

    There are regional variations. For example, I once heard a Texas woman say "I got all (oil) on my ball (bowling).
    Not a professional teacher

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