British English or American accent?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Hendu71

New member
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Member Type
Other
I'm from the U.S. I think a lot of Americans prefer British English over American English, mainly because it's something different! We aren't bombarded with British accents all day long, so it comes off as somewhat exotic. As has been said so many times before, it also denotes a regal or otherwise "uppercrust" background. For some reason that has a high appeal to Americans, probably because we have no royalty of our own. Of course, this is ironic because we rejected monarchal rule.

I think however, that this mostly applies to recieved pronunciation. While I find the increasingly popular estuary accent enjoyable to listen to, it does come off as somewhat quaint. Also, there are some accents in the UK that I just plain cannot understand at all. Of course, this comes from a person who turns on subtitles in American movies, so take that with a grain of salt. It's amazing how many movie actors mumble nowadays. I do find it hilarious though that they often cast a British actor as the main villain in Hollywood movies.

As has been mentioned before, there ARE stereotypes associated with different regional accents, for better or for worse; usually the latter. I personally don't have a problem with any accent, as long as I can understand it and the person can get their point accross.

If you are going to work at a call center, I'd recommend simply looking at your primary customers, whether they be Americans or otherwise. For international companies I doubt it matters. I will say this however: Nothing is more irritating than calling about a problem you're having with a product and not being able to understand the person you're talking to. As long as you enunciate and speak slowly when necessary, you should be fine no matter what accent you choose.

British people hear AE all the time in the media so I can see why many would view it indifferently. That's the way I see it too. And yes, if you do master AE and are travelling abroad, you are probably best off saying you're Canadian. :-D
 
Last edited:

Huda-M

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Urdu
Home Country
Pakistan
Current Location
Pakistan
Hello, I think that English doesn't matter, you should be able to speak, pronounce and spell properly...
I'm from Pakistan, and I think my English is UK/British English... Atleast I was told...
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Hi,
What you have asked is absolutely true:tick:. I am Ramanan Thiagaraj from India. Even here also british english is used and more preferred than american english, this is because british english is the original english and others are just derived. So be confusion in that.
ALL THE BEST:up:

That's untrue. It's a geographical confusion. It would be like saying Americans' DNA was re-written or evolved in Washington, whereas we have an unbroken lineage straight back, just as the British do.

In fact, if you read Chaucer or Shakespeare, you will notice that wherever there are major differences between AmE and BrE, these writers invariably follow norms which have been retained in America but which have evolved in the UK into new forms.

It is now well established that the North and South American dialects of Spanish, Portuguese, French and English are far closer to the continental European languages of 400 years ago than their current incarnations.

Perhaps you would like some examples.

Shakespeare wrote a good deal of blank verse but if you read his rhyming verse, you will notice that it rhymes most consistently in New England English. The BBC's "Story of English" pointed this out, and professors cited there believe a small island just off Boston is the closest thing in the world to Shakespeare's actual pronunciation.

'I guess' is a phrase the British seldom use, and they regard it as very American. But you need only read Chaucer to see that Middle English speakers used it all the time.

'Gotten' is a past participle that the British seldom use. North Americans usually use this variant. Read Shakespeare, and you will see that he does as Americans today do: 'gotten' is all over his plays, just do an online search in one of the public domain texts if you would like to verify this.

Not to mention that because England has been in England for so long, you get a different accent, style, geolect and set of norms every ten miles in the country, every two miles in the city. There is no ONE British English. There are thousands.

So I find it surprising when people make assumptions about our North American English based on geographic migrations. They are incorrect.
 

Huda-M

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2008
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Urdu
Home Country
Pakistan
Current Location
Pakistan
Here, I have also seen more British.
 

firao

New member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Re: British or American accent - - in my limited experience as an american living in different parts of the country and teaching ESL, the core of the accent difference is often in the vowel sounds. when teaching English there are more issues that are important, regardless of accent. Consonant sounds, such as the two th sounds, getting a clear s as opposed to a z, and of course the r and the l, also the endings of certain words.... these are so important, and if they are accurately and easily pronounced, the "accent" in the vowels is much more a question of "flavor."

when I moved to South Carolina from the New York area in the late '70's, no one would hire me because I talked "funny." and it was not a "NY accent." I just sounded too Northern. you cannot refine your accent to take advantage of every political or personal preference:-D
 

Pineal

New member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Member Type
Other
"I do find it hilarious though that they often cast a British actor as the main villain in Hollywood movies." - Hendu71

I've laughed at that too, and also that the British accent is usually limited to evil genius types, or genius-wannabes. The um, intellectually-challenged bad guys often speak in New Jersey or New York accents (for example, Lex Luthor's minions in "Superman"). "Waddaya mean?" just doesn't convey an amazing intellect, fairly or not.

It's way too late to respond usefully to the question which began this post, but I've enjoyed reading the responses nonetheless. Great question!

For the record, the accents that impress me the most favorably are Scottish and Irish; they are beautiful and lilting. A favorite song-writer of mine wrote this about the Irish: "In a green, green land far across the sea/live a people who speak like a song." I could listen happily to Irish and Scottish speakers for hours.

I am from the western states of America.
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Interestingly, in North American TV advertisements, a Briton is used (with fake RP) whenever luxury goods are touted.... sociologically, it would seem North Americans don't mind mother, father or the British knowing something they hadn't heard of yet.
 

Offroad

Key Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Brazilian Portuguese
Home Country
Brazil
Current Location
Brazil
Forgive my ignorance, but... if the English language was born (from German dialects) in 450 A.D. in Britain, how come American English did not "take after" British English?

Thanks.
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
English wasn't really born from German dialects per se; Old Scandinavian is closer to Old English than Old German, I believe. I happen to be studying them now. They still study Icelandic at Oxford as part of an English degree, but not German.

And American English did indeed "take after" the British English of Walter Raleigh's time, so I don't know what you mean by that.
 

Offroad

Key Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Brazilian Portuguese
Home Country
Brazil
Current Location
Brazil
Sorry... I have experienced some problems concentrating in certain subjects that requires logics, due to a problem in my left eye.:-(

But... what I am trying to say is that the use of English in the United States was inherited from British colonization.
 
Last edited:

davidbailey

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
Brazil
Don't forget that there are other accents besides American and British. Even American English has 5 major flavors (i.e. boston, L.A. midwest, N.Y,redneck, etc)

The best 'flavor' for you depends on your future goals. Do you plan on living in one of those countries?

It's not like they are all that different. I can talk with English people all over the world and translate for them here in Brazil without a problem. Learn English in one accent...then follow up on the others. ;)
 

Lacretstreet

Junior Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Member Type
Other
I prefer American English because it sounds more natural and beautiful than British English.
And, in my opinion, it is easier for a French speaking person to get an American Accent than a British one.
But the fact is that in almost all over the world people are learning British English.
So many people are more intersting to get a British Accent.

P.S: My accent is a mixture of American and British English. (LOL)
But I wanna get both of them.
 
Last edited:

americanspt

New member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
If you'd like to hear various accents, go to this YouTube link:

h t t p : / / w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v = 3 U g p f S p 2 t 6 k

Her American accents (California, Texas, Seattle, Brooklyn, Charleston, trans-Atlantic) are perfect.
 

thx0110

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Member Type
Student or Learner
Hi, maybe it's off-topic, but I want to know which of these two radio stations would you recommend me. BBC or CNN?

CNN Radio
BBC World Service - Multimedia

I personally prefer AmE, because it seems to me to be more melodic and natural. I like how "Americans" pronounce words like can't, love, pop, dot, body etc.

I can't stand the british pronounciation of the word "body".

For instance: "Touch my body" sounds beautiful in AmE but strange in BrE.
But it's just my feeling.

BrE sounds too old fashioned, the rhythm of speech and melody are disharmonic to me and also too speed up or if you want too fast. They don't prolong words into the rhythm of speach like the Americans do. They talk like machine gun da da da da. It's good for grime, but not for country or pop music. But on the other side BrE sounds less provocative :D.

So, what is your advice? Should I listen to BBC or CNN?

Personally, I don't like the more commercial feel of CNN and their show-like and provocative style in general. Or should I try NPR or some other US radio?

On the other hand, I like the more european way of BBC and a little more professional style of BBC.

So, I don't know. Give me some advice or suggestion. Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:

bhaisahab

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
England
Current Location
Ireland
Hi, maybe it's off-topic, but I want to know which of these two radio stations would you recommend me. BBC or CNN?

CNN Radio
BBC World Service - Multimedia

I personally prefer AmE, because it seems to me to be more melodic and natural. I like how "Americans" pronounce words like can't, love, pop, dot, body etc.

I can't stand the british pronounciation of the word "body".

For instance: "Touch my body" sounds beautiful in AmE but strange in BrE.
But it's just my feeling.

BrE sounds too old fashioned, the rhythm of speech and melody are disharmonic to me and also too speed up or if you want too fast. They don't prolong words into the rhythm of speach like the Americans do. They talk like machine gun da da da da. It's good for grime, but not for country or pop music. But on the other side BrE sounds less provocative :D.

So, what is your advice? Should I listen to BBC or CNN?

Personally, I don't like the more commercial feel of CNN and their show-like and provocative style in general. Or should I try NPR or some other US radio?

On the other hand, I like the more european way of BBC and a little more professional style of BBC.

So, I don't know. Give me some advice or suggestion. Thanks in advance.

Well, being British, I would obviously recommend the BBC. It is non-commercial and, as you say, more professional.;-)
 

Offroad

Key Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Brazilian Portuguese
Home Country
Brazil
Current Location
Brazil
I believe you should listen to both, CNN and BBC.

There's also this link.

Click it and you will have access to many accents.
 

Spaenfruit

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
I'm Dutch and I'm used to speak with an American accent. But I prefer British English. At the moment I improve my British English pronunciation.

It is also easier for a Dutch speaking person to get an American Accent than a British one.
Almost every Dutch person learns British English at school. But the pronunciation is mostly 'wrong' because they get their hands on American movies and tv shows.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top