British vs American English in their accent

Status
Not open for further replies.

belly_ttt

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
In words which have the phonetic sound / ae/ , I hear the real differences between American and British Accent.
If in British they spell that phonetic sound similar to /a/, American would do with a sound like /e/, isn't it?
Some words such as slang, man etc. I wonder why they use the /ae/ sound for this? Do they mean, you can use whatever /a/ or /e/ when spelling the words?
Today I took one of the exam implemented in American English, I spoke the word: slang with an /a/ to the examiner, he didn't understand at all. When I said: "synonym is: vernacular language", he asked me:" Isn't it slang /e/ ?" . So confused!
 

rewboss

Key Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
I wonder why they use the /ae/ sound for this? Do they mean, you can use whatever /a/ or /e/ when spelling the words?

No: it's the sound /æ/ (one symbol, not "ae"), and this represents a sound halfway between /a/ and /e/.

The problem is that there are many, many dialects and different accents (not just "British" and "American"). Dictionaries usually give [æ] as the pronunciation in words like "man" because that is close to the pronunciation in both Oxford English and General American.

In real life, though, few speakers will use exactly that sound. Most British dialects will use a sound much closer to /a/ or even /ɑ/, while some American dialects may use something more like /ɛ/ or /e/. A few American speakers might even pronounce it as a triphthong, something like /ɛɪə/, although this is probably rare. This is part of what is called the "southern drawl", because it's typical of speech patterns found in southern areas like Louisiana or Texas.

The examiner might have thought you were saying something like "slong" (/slɑŋ/ in some dialects), and that rhymes with a, er, *ahem* rude word. (But don't worry: you found a way to explain what you wanted to say, and that's an important language skill.)
 

belly_ttt

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Member Type
Student or Learner
No: it's the sound /æ/ (one symbol, not "ae"), and this represents a sound halfway between /a/ and /e/.

The problem is that there are many, many dialects and different accents (not just "British" and "American"). Dictionaries usually give [æ] as the pronunciation in words like "man" because that is close to the pronunciation in both Oxford English and General American.

In real life, though, few speakers will use exactly that sound. Most British dialects will use a sound much closer to /a/ or even /ɑ/, while some American dialects may use something more like /ɛ/ or /e/. A few American speakers might even pronounce it as a triphthong, something like /ɛɪə/, although this is probably rare. This is part of what is called the "southern drawl", because it's typical of speech patterns found in southern areas like Louisiana or Texas.

The examiner might have thought you were saying something like "slong" (/slɑŋ/ in some dialects), and that rhymes with a, er, *ahem* rude word. (But don't worry: you found a way to explain what you wanted to say, and that's an important language skill.)

Hi,
There's some symbols I cannot see in your post , and :" ahem rude word", what does it mean?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top