British English or American accent?

Status
Not open for further replies.
A

Anonymous

Guest
I am a student in China. Because of the Hollywood movies, American songs and much more frequent contact with US than that of UK, American accent seems more popular.

However, the college teachers suggest that British accent is more acceptable in the world, especially in the world outside US. Is it true?

I want to know how would UKers react to American accent speaking callers and vice versa.

Do Americans like British accent on the phone when it is a sales call, for example?

I want opinions from only native English speakers, mainly UK and US citizens. Please state your nationality and your feelings about the accents.

Thanks.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
One accent should not be regarded as being better than another.

One accent is not more acceptable than the other.

Generally speaking, people whose first language is English appreciate the different speaking styles that English speakers from different English speaking countries have. I don't think anyone can say that he or she doesn't like the way an American sounds or a British accent sounds.

Keep in mind also that there are Australian accents, Scottish accents, Irish accents, South African accents, New Zealand accents etc. There are many types of "accents" in the English language. One is not better than the other. The main focus is usually on American and British Accents.

Most people whose second language is English have an accent, but it is usually their own accent.

Unless someone is living in an English speaking country, it would be very difficult to not speak with an accent.

Speak in the way that you feel the most comfortable with. The most important thing is correct pronunciation and that people understand you when you speak.


I'm from the U.S.
 

Red5

Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
However, there are certainly issues to do with pronunciation that would make the difference between being acceptable or not. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Re: British or American accent?

Wong said:
I am a student in China. Because of the Hollywood movies, American songs and much more frequent contact with US than that of UK, American accent seems more popular.

However, the college teachers suggest that British accent is more acceptable in the world, especially in the world outside US. Is it true?

I want to know how would UKers react to American accent speaking callers and vice versa.

Do Americans like British accent on the phone when it is a sales call, for example?

I want opinions from only native English speakers, mainly UK and US citizens. Please state your nationality and your feelings about the accents.

Thanks.

In my opinion, the accent doesn't matter. Diction and correct rponunciation matter in either dialect. --USA
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I'm from the UK and I really couldn't care less about the accent as long as it's comprehensible. BE speakers have few if any difficulties understanding AE, so it wouldn't bother me at all. 8)
 
K

Kathryn

Guest
English Accents

I am an American who grew up on the West Coast of the United States and have what I consider to be a very plain accent. British English comes across to me as polished, fluid and calming. I also feel there is something "upper crust" and refined about the sound of an English accent.

Personally, I think that American English is easier to understand (of course, I'm biased) but lacks the aesthetic, phonetic appeal of the English accent.

In the United States, I also prefer a Southern American accent (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, etc.) to accents used in other parts of the country as well as accents primarily used on television and in movies.

Alas, the grass is always greener on the other side...
 
H

HPRoxMySox

Guest
I'm from America and I personally like how British accents sound more than American one's. I think they sound a lot more proper and sophisticated. I think American accents are easier to understand though, seeing as I grew up here.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I'm not sure you'd say that about all British accents. ;-)
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
tdol said:
I'm not sure you'd say that about all British accents. ;-)
:lol:

I'm from Britain, and I don't think it matters which kind of English you speak. I always tell my students planning to go abroad; you will hear many kinds of English when you go to (insert country here); so don't rely on just one accent.

Incidentally, we have two teachers from New Zealand, and recently one was "fired" from a school he was sent to teach at, due to him having "poor English" (he has a rather strong Kiwi accent) :(
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
That's hard- I can't see anything wrong with a Kiwi accent. ;-(
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
tdol said:
That's hard- I can't see anything wrong with a Kiwi accent. ;-(
Unfortunately, if you don't have a clear British or american accent, the kids' parents don't like you :(
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
HPRoxMySox said:
I'm from America and I personally like how British accents sound more than American one's. I think they sound a lot more proper and sophisticated. I think American accents are easier to understand though, seeing as I grew up here.

I favor the Midwestern accent. :wink:

*ones*
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Is a New Zealand accent anything like an Aussie accent? (Steve Irwin is pretty easy to understand.)
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
RonBee said:
Is a New Zealand accent anything like an Aussie accent? (Steve Irwin is pretty easy to understand.)
New Zealanders will tell you they are not similar in any way; but to my ears they seem pretty similar. If anything, the Aussie accent seems much stronger.

Sometimes when I talk to our NZ teachers, I can't hear a difference in pronunciation between "hear", "here" and "hair"; or "beer" and "bear" :shock:

I simply try to tell students to listen for those differences and learn them - it will help them to understand. It's the same with Chinese. The standard mandarin pronunciation of the word for foreigner is "lao wai" (lao why) but here in Dalian, the "ai" sound is pronounced as "ei" (ay), so they say "lao wei (lao way). Once I recognised that difference - and others like it - , conquering the regional language barrier was pretty easy :D

Another example: in BE, we pronounce it "stop", but to my ears, Americans pronounce it "stup" (my approximation!)

I think that recognising little differences like these play an important part in dealing with different accents, and getting over that hurdle :wink:

What do others think?
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
While we're on the subject of BE / AE, I found a good site listing many differences in vocabulary: HERE :)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Thanks. :) BTW, where was the "stup" speaker from? (I'm from St. Louis.)

:D
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
RonBee said:
Thanks. :) BTW, where was the "stup" speaker from? (I'm from St. Louis.)

:D

I wasn't referring to anyone in particular, it's just the sound I hear when talking to Americans that I meet. Although now you mention it, I think I probably heard it from my sister who has lived in the US for 24 years!! She lives near San Francisco :)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I've always said "stop" as in "pop". Ala the Seuss rhyme "Hop on Pop".

:wink:
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
Slightly off topic, but amusing nonetheless:

I was shopping in a department store in Portland, Oregon a few years ago, and the female sales assistant asked me:

"What part of Australia are you from?"

I replied:

"England. Have you heard of it?"

:twisted: 8)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
shane said:
Slightly off topic, but amusing nonetheless:

I was shopping in a department store in Portland, Oregon a few years ago, and the female sales assistant asked me:

"What part of Australia are you from?"

I replied:

"England. Have you heard of it?"

:twisted: 8)

Hm. Is that anywhere near Queensland?

:wink:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top