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  1. Offroad's Avatar
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    #1

    Smile Simple questions...

    Please, dear friends and teachers,

    could you kindly give a few comments on these questions?

    a) Is it possible to a non-native speaker of English easily understand anything they say in the worldwide TV, CNN for example?

    b) Is that possible to a native speaker?

    c) As for the Brits, considering there are a lot of dialects in the UK, can you understand the UK English spoken by every Briton no matter where he/she is from?

    d) Is it possible, in a general way, to specify the strongest accent you have heard?

    Many thanks in advance!

  2. calinative's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Simple questions...

    Sorry if you only want British people to answer (Iīm American ) but I like your questions ...

    1. Anything is possible (but learning a new language and understanding it when spoken by natives is rarely "easy").
    2. I would say native speakers understand most (99%+) of what is said. But most groups have their own slang and this can prevent outsiders from understanding some of their speech. For example, many American adults complain that they canīt understand their own teenage children because of all the new slang used by the teens. And many work places use special words and phrases that people outside of the work place wonīt know. Also, I think misunderstanding amongst even native speakers occurs in all cultures and languages.
    3. There are some dialects in America (that spoken by "hillbillies" that live in North Carolina, the ebonics spoken by some inner city African Americans, etc.) that I canīt understand completely. Also...when I was in England (especially trying to get to Abbey Road studios) I had a very difficult time understanding a lot of what people were saying. It was more difficult understanding English (my native language) when I was in England and Scotland than it was to understand Spanish (my second language) when I was in Spain!
    4. On the bus trying to get to Abbey Road studios in England.

    So, perhaps no native English speaker (unless incredibly traveled) will understand EVERYTHING said by every other English speaker.
    Last edited by calinative; 03-Dec-2008 at 13:25. Reason: incomplete

  3. Offroad's Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: Simple questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by calinative View Post
    Sorry if you only want British people to answer (Iīm American ) but I like your questions ...
    Not at all, my questions could be answered by any native speaker of English.... By the way, thank you very much for answering!
    1. Anything is possible (but learning a new language and understanding it when spoken by natives is rarely "easy").
    I particularly think that is not easy at all, CNN is presented many people who are from many different places, as you may know, American English has influenced many cultures out there, so, my accent is closer to American accent and... of course, I can understand Americans better than Brits. The bottom line is, Indians, Africans, French... they all speak English and sometimes I can't understand, that's why I am asking this question...always wondering... Is my English that bad??
    2. I would say native speakers understand most (99%+) of what is said. But most groups have their own slang and this can prevent outsiders from understanding some of their speech. For example, many American adults complain that they canīt understand their own teenage children because of all the new slang used by the teens. And many work places use special words and phrases that people outside of the work place wonīt know. Also, I think misunderstanding amongst even native speakers occurs in all cultures and languages.
    Hmmm... I'd say I can understand 70% of the people who speak at CNN. The worst part is, they use such advanced vocabulary, they save time while talk... which requires some cuts. But... for me... it's a source of knowledge, thanks to CNN (TV) and to BBC (web page), my English has improved.
    3. There are some dialects in America (that spoken by "hillbillies" that live in North Carolina, the Ebonics spoken by some inner city African Americans, etc.) that I canīt understand completely. Also...when I was in England (especially trying to get to Abbey Road studios) I had a very difficult time understanding a lot of what people were saying. It was more difficult understanding English (my native language) when I was in England and Scotland than it was to understand Spanish (my second language) when I was in Spain!
    I read somewhere that most Brits and Americans can understand each other, but... it seems it is not as easy as it should be... I'd like a new comment on this topic, if you don't mind... of course.
    4. On the bus trying to get to Abbey Road studios in England.
    So, perhaps no native English speaker (unless incredibly traveled) will understand EVERYTHING said by every other English speaker.
    The same happens to me, when I try to understand the Portuguese from Portugal, it's not easy at all, but recently they ( a committee) has decided people from every country whose first language is Portuguese, will, starting in 2009, use the Portuguese from Brazil. The accent won't change, but the spelling will. What if it happens to English? everybody will be using American English.
    OK, in order to finish this topic, I'd like you to discuss the differences, in a general way, between US English and UK English. You know there are differences at spelling, and so on, is it always understandable? They say Britons can understand Americans better than the opposite. Is that true?

    Many thanks.
    Last edited by Offroad; 03-Dec-2008 at 14:19.

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    #4

    Re: Simple questions...

    a) generally, but not c); I struggle sometimes when I hear a strong accent that I am not very familiar with.

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