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  1. #21
    probus's Avatar
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Opera (which, by the way I detest) has a long tradition of singers mouthing syllables with no understanding of what they mean. It doesn't seem to be a problem.

  2. #22
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Karen Peris is a native speaker. It's just that she has a rather unusual delivery in her singing voice.
    According to the research I did, she only uses her slightly odd pronunciation in singing, not in speech.

  3. #23
    Bernard is offline Newbie
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I have a very acute ear for detecting accents but I wouldn't have identified that the singer of Biting Elbows was a non-native speaker.

    It is interesting that you don't hear a foreign accent there and other natives hear it. Maybe it is because there are so many regional accents of English that a slight foreign accent can remain unnoticeable among them))

    The vocalist of
    Biting Elbows should have not bad English. He lived in London from the ages of 7 to 14. Now he is 37 and lives in Moscow, but from time to time he works in the USA as a film director. His upcoming film ​https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobody_(film)

    Doesn't a singer with an accent of a foreigner appear as some obstacle between a message and a listener?
    No. I don't really know what you mean. Does it to you? Could you explain how that is?
    Yes, a foreign accent of a singer (in my native language) distracts me to some extent from perceiving a song as the whole. Maybe that is because I'm not used to that (foreign singing in Russian). It was and is very rare that foreigners sing in Russian. And when that happens they usually sing with a very heavy accent and, seemingly, without any understanding. And it doesn't feel that the singer is connected to the song. And for me it lacks a big amount of credibility, in artistic sense.

    But when foreigners speak in Russian it is absolutely O.K. No matter how bad their Russian and how thick their accents are.
    Last edited by Bernard; 11-Dec-2020 at 20:27.

  4. #24
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    The only one I can't understand is the last one, Tesla Boy. It sounds like another language altogether, but I don't know what. The rest are good English.
    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.

  5. #25
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    But you hear that they all have accents of foreigners, don't you?

    Well, no, I don't. Except for Tesla Boy, I would have assumed that English was their native language. Remember that English has a lot of variation. There are hundreds (thousands?) of English accents.


    If you do, does it distract you to some degree from a song itself?

    The songs themselves are distracting. That's just my musical taste. But the accents aren't.


    Doesn't a singer with an accent of a foreigner appear as some obstacle between a message and a listener?

    As long the words are clear, an accent doesn't hurt a song or a speech.
    All singers' diction is artificial to some degree. It's part of the craft. Those singers seem to be polished performers using exactly the enunciation they want. Even Tesla Boy.
    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.

  6. #26
    Bernard is offline Newbie
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Does the vocalist sound like he is singing 'wheel', not 'real' in the chorus of the song?

    https://youtu.be/t8nbgm-bPIU?t=77

  7. #27
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    It does now that you've seeded that in my mind! The power of suggestion is strong.

  8. #28
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    Sometimes I hear "real", sometimes "wheel". Japanese people often have trouble pronouncing /r/, but this guy sounds more like someone with a bit of a speech impediment that makes him tend to realize /r/ as /w/.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. #29
    Bernard is offline Newbie
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    The first 'real' in the line is O.K. but the second one and the third are the real 'wheel' Like this: "Is this real...wheel...wheel

    Maybe that is because he's Japanese. Maybe he is not doing something to sound it like /r/
    Last edited by Bernard; 30-Jan-2021 at 19:45.

  10. #30
    Bernard is offline Newbie
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    Re: How do these non-native singers who sing in English sound to native speakers?

    There is a problem for non-natives. If one has polished his pronunciation well in a neutral conversational speech, the quality he/she has got does not stay the same when he/she switches to shouting or whispering or speaking in a strong emotional state.

    More likely, the singer is OK with /r/, but not when he has to sing it too loud. Linking /s/ to /r/ in "is this real" saves the first 'real'. But for the second and third ones it seems that he does not make enough effort to articulate the sound convincingly.

    Here is an interview with him in English:
    https://youtu.be/-oicyfWuTOE?t=8
    Last edited by Bernard; 30-Jan-2021 at 19:44.

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