How do you notice "foreign accents" ?

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Masfer

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Hi everybody!
Since I am here in Denmark, I pay attention to the way people talk English (as most of us are not native) and I have come up with some dictation errors when speaking:

  • Spanish people: we speak in general very bad compared to the nordic people. The most common errors are:
    - We tend to pronounce the r like in Spanish, so we sometimes say "yourrr","wherrre", "carrrr" ...
    - We put an [e] sound (the same sound like in "pen") before all the words that start with "s" and are followed by a consonant, so we say "eSpanish", "eStar", "eSpace" ....
    - We pronounce v and b sounds in exactly the same way. That's obviously because we make no difference in Spanish between these sounds :?
  • French people: the main (and big) problem frenchs have is the way the pronounce the r. Some people pronounce it ike in French and it sounds quite strange. I know you can imagine this sound 8)
  • Italian people: There's something strange with the t and l sounds but I can exactly say what's wrong with them. I suppose they pronounce it in the "italian way" :lol:

What do you think about this? Do you find any other way to recognize "foreign accents"?

I have to admit that sometimes I pronounce the r sound stronger than usual because I think the other person I am talking to is not going to understand me if I don't pronounce it that way. I guess this is because in Spanish we pronounce all the letters :lol: Do you think it's better to exagerate the r sound than just pronounce it very "soft"? :?:

Looking forward to reading your answers! :turn-l:

(Would it have been correct to write: "Looking forward for your answers?")
 

Red5

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I'll let someone else answer the rest of your post, but...
(Would it have been correct to write: "Looking forward for your answers?")
I would have written:

"Looking forward to your answers" or "Looking forward to your comments". ;-)
 

Tdol

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French speakers may pronounce 'th' as 'z'. ;-)
 
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Masfer

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re

I've had second thoughts about my last post. Actually it's a little mistake. By this sentence
I think 'th' may be pronounced like 'z'
I meant that 'th' sounds like 'z' but that's in Spanish, not in English. Sorry, :oops: but sometimes my Spanish interferes with my English. :roll:

ByE!
 

Tdol

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Zat's no problem. ;-)
 

Tdol

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Japanese speakers make 'creative' use of rising and falling stress, so they can sound displeased when trying to show pleasure. ;-)
 
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comexch

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More than pronunciation of sounds

Accents can be produced by things other than pronunciation of individual sounds. For example, Spanish speakers often nasalize (air through nose) over longer expanses of speech than do English speakers (unless you are from some areas of the South in the US Russians speak more in the middle of the mouth at the palate and use a back and down tongue gesture that traps sound in the throat. Finns vary intonation little and clench the jaw in a way that Americans can mistake for anger.
 

Tdol

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I have, however, come accross sevral Finns who could pass for native speakers. ;-)
 
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charlotte

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In Portugal we are quite keen on languages and I think we have a nice accent when we speak English, I mean, of course it isn't the Queen's English, but we don't have an accent like the Spaniards, for instance, or the French. I really don't know why... Of course there are Portuguese people who really have a "very Portuguese accent" when they speak English, but in general it's not very easy to spot our nationality when we're abroad, just by the way we speak English. My brother speaks English very well and he lived in London for three years. He fooled a lot of English people, who thought he was English! :)
 
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Masfer

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Accents can be produced by things other than pronunciation of individual sounds. For example, Spanish speakers often nasalize (air through nose) over longer expanses of speech than do English speakers (unless you are from some areas of the South in the US Russians speak more in the middle of the mouth at the palate and use a back and down tongue gesture that traps sound in the throat.

I don't know exactly what you mean. I don't think we over-nasalize (new word I've just made up :lol: ) when speaking. Can you give an example of this or explain it again ? :wink:

In Portugal we are quite keen on languages and I think we have a nice accent when we speak English, I mean, of course it isn't the Queen's English, but we don't have an accent like the Spaniards, for instance, or the French. I really don't know why...

That's completely true. Most of Portuguese I've met have a very nice accent. Maybe it is because you watch films in English, but in Spain and France, we have to watch them dubbed (Thanks God we now have the DVD's )

How do you notice my Spanish accent ? I'd like to know that in order not to sound "Spaniard" any longer 8)

Thanks in advance!
 
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charlotte

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.
Most of Portuguese I've met have a very nice accent. Maybe it is because you watch films in English, but in Spain and France, we have to watch them dubbed (Thanks God we now have the DVD's )

That's probably a reason. A Tv channel once tried to dub an American Tv series and it was such a disaster that they had to broadcast the series in English :lol: !! Films for children are obviously dubbed, but even so in some theatres we can watch the dubbed or original version, which is great! We grow up listening to English in films, Tv series, songs...and that sure helps a lot. Oh, and the younger generation plays a lot of computer games that are in English.

How do you notice my Spanish accent ? I'd like to know that in order not to sound "Spaniard" any longer

I don't know if you have an "obvious Spanish accent ", but you do tend to mispronounce some sounds ... eg. joe, ( I've heard some Spanish people say something like rroe).
However, if you'd really like to hear a Portuguese with a really lousy accent then you should listen to our former President, Mário Soares... Gosh, you'll even think he's talking Japanese when he starts speaking English or French :shock:
 
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Masfer

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re

However, if you'd really like to hear a Portuguese with a really lousy accent then you should listen to our former President, Mário Soares... Gosh, you'll even think he's talking Japanese when he starts speaking English or French icon_eek.gif

Some months ago, our beloved :twisted: President, José María Aznar spent several days in Texas with President Bush who is even more beloved than ours, :twisted: :twisted: and on the second day, they had a kind of conference or something like that. Well, Jose Maria Anzar (that's the way Bush called Aznar, :lol: ) started speaking in Spanish with TEXAN accent (he sounded like a cowboy, :p). Beside the accent, he also talked "backwards", I mean, he was ordering the words in a very strange way, it was like Spanish with English structure. It seems that he forgot Spanish in two days, :lol: . Everybody was laughing at him, obviously.

don't know if you have an "obvious Spanish accent ", but you do tend to mispronounce some sounds ... eg. joe, ( I've heard some Spanish people say something like rroe).
I think Spaniards tend to pronounce "j" very strongly compared to the way it is actually pronounced in English but I don't think we pronounce "joe" like" "rroe".
Anyway, I am completely biased since I'm Spanish 8)
 

Tdol

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[quote="charlotte] our former President, Mário Soares... Gosh, you'll even think he's talking Japanese when he starts speaking English or French :shock:[/quote]

I've heard that his Spanish is particularly entertaining. ;-)
 

Tdol

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Re: re

Masfer said:
Some months ago, our beloved :twisted: President, José María Aznar spent several days in Texas with President Bush who is even more beloved than ours, :twisted: :twisted: and on the second day, they had a kind of conference or something like that. Well, Jose Maria Anzar (that's the way Bush called Aznar, :lol: ) started speaking in Spanish with TEXAN accent (he sounded like a cowboy, :p). Beside the accent, he also talked "backwards", I mean, he was ordering the words in a very strange way, it was like Spanish with English structure. It seems that he forgot Spanish in two days, :lol: . Everybody was laughing at him, obviously.

Tony Blair came back from a visit to Camp David with a strange Texan pronunciation of nuclear, which he'd picked up. Most laughed at him, but it does give an indication of how often the word was used. ;-(
 
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charlotte

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What is important is making yourself clear when you talk, no matter what accent you have. A good accent doesn't necessarily mean that you speak English well.

I don't think we pronounce "joe" like" "rroe".

Perhaps you're right, Masfer, but it's just that I once met a Spanish couple who started talking about "Rroe Rrarron". They were referring to Joe Jackson. :lol:
 
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CitySpeak

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Some times a foreign accent is nothing more than placing stress in places where it is unnatural.

This is done at times by people whose first language is English, but it is done so in order to add meaning or change meaning.

Often times, ESL speakers change the stress and intonation patterns when their purpose is obviously not to add or change meaning.

It's a bit more of an explanation than this, but generally speaking content words receive more stress, while function words receive less stress. This is, more or less, what is meant by the "stress-timed quality of English" when speaking of pronunciation and accent.

Content words are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs

Function words are: pronouns, auxiliaries -modals/auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, articles


Generally speaking, BE and AE have the same natural stress and intonation patterns. It's the precise treatment of certain vowel and consonant sounds that can be part of what sets the two styles of speaking apart. The intonation can vary as well. I think the differences can be heard more in vowel and consonant treatment.

Subtle differences in intonation would account for different types of English language accents as well. This could apply to both native speaker and non-native speaker accents.
 
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CitySpeak

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charlotte said:
What is important is making yourself clear when you talk, no matter what accent you have. A good accent doesn't necessarily mean that you speak English well.

I don't think we pronounce "joe" like" "rroe".

Perhaps you're right, Masfer, but it's just that I once met a Spanish couple who started talking about "Rroe Rrarron". They were referring to Joe Jackson. :lol:


Some times ESL speakers are not easily understood when they speak fast. This some times has to do with not following the normal stress and intonation patterns of English.
 
M

Masfer

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Some times a foreign accent is nothing more than placing stress in places where it is unnatural.

That's true. For example, in the following sentence I've always stressed the word that is in bold letters.

Where are you?

But I've seen, mainly in movies, that they tend to pronounce it that way:

Where are you?

I should start paying more attention to this :wink:

ByE!
 
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