Skip to comments.An American accent can be charming, admits Tom Leonard - but not if it's his daughter's
Posted on 02/28/2007 10:50:51 PM PST by Muentzer2005
It's started. Rising inflection at the end of the sentence. Sometimes several times in a sentence. Very. Short. Staccato. Statements. As yet no use of "like" four or five times in a sentence, but occasionally once or twice.
Meike, once the vocalisation of Laura Ashley prints and the only girl at her inner-London primary school who never dropped any consonant, let alone an aitch, is starting to speak with an American accent. Perhaps not quite an accent, yet, but the rhythm of her speech has changed in a decidedly US direction. The rest can't be far behind.
We have been on "accent watch" ever since we arrived - monitoring our children's utterances for early signs of infestation ...
I caught our son, Joe, using "awesome" last night - without permission or prior consultation - to describe a Matchbox car.
Still, this was an unusual lapse from him. In London, Joe used to like to drop his aitches in grand style but now he has reversed roles with his sister and set himself up as the defender of the old faith.
He continually asks his mother in a worried tone if he's getting an American accent. He wants to go to an English school where he can be taught in English, he says. Quite where he gets this British snobbery from is beyond us.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Heavens forbid she can't pronounce Bananers properly anymore.
My Canadian brother is married to a native Chinese and lives in Texas. Their six-year-old daughter is perfectly bilingual in Canadian English and Chinese, but it's precious to hear her Texas "y'all". What's really funny is when she's been playing with her African-American friend, and comes away imitating an accent from the 'hood.
Kind of off to the side-my wife is Japanese. She takes it for granted that she can tell where a Japanese person is from by their accent or dialect, but she always seems surprised that I can do the same for an English speaker. They all sound the same to her.
We've all heard foreign language gibberish-what does English sound like to someone who doesn't understand it?
Do you mean that we will no longer be "separated by a common language"?
I guess their daughter is headed for the TX governor's mansion in 2045?
When I was a teenager, some family friends hosted a neat kid from Portugal who was a summer exchange student. We took him around with us even though his English was almost non-existent. Someone asked him to imitate an American accent just to get an idea of what we sound like. He played along by spouting a line of gibberish that was a mix of Brooklyn and Southen accent. We just about died from laughing.
I have friends in Brighton, England. He's Irish Canadian but has lived in England for a long time. His wife is a native of Wales. Both speak proper "estuary English" which to my ear sounds like Tony Blair. They send their little girl to a private school and live in fear - they told me - that she will come home from associating with her playmates having picked up the dreaded glottal stop - that catch in the throat that sounds so unelegant.
The wife teaches English as a Second Language to foreign students in Brighton (which is full of such schools.) One day a Korean girl announced that wanted to learn to speak American English without an accent. "But," Charlotte (the wife) replied, "Everyone speaks English with an accent."
Thank you for the best damn belly laugh I've had in a long tme.
Although the author wrote in a rather kind way, he brings up a big point. Foreigners are expected to take up (American) English. Personally have noted that non-Anglophones are the most probable to try to imitate the "standard" American English accent to the cue. In contrast, people from other countries of the Anglosphere make little if any attempt to copy the American accent, though they will make the necessary vocabulary replacements (they'd need to) such as lift/elevator, boot/trunk, crisps/chips, etc. The Britons continue with their British accents, Australians with Australian, and even Canadian with Canadian. If an American goes to the UK, to live there, they should try to copy the standard British accent (along with the spelling, vocabulary, etc.).
How does the American English (standard) accent sound to other English users? Does it sound drawly (suspect so, as theirs--minus the Canadians--tend to sound clipped)?
The term "jumper" is used here.
What's the American Standard? I was born and raised in Washington State, then I spent 24 years in the Navy. I don't think I have a recognizable regional accent. I cursed like a sailor for many years but I quit that when I realized I sounded like an illiterate, although that is a matter of vocabulary, not accent.
A dropping of the "T" sound, as in "Wa'er bo'le" for "water bottle", or "Mar'in" for "Martin."
In England this is (fairly or unfairly) a sign of a coarse lower-class upbringing, worse than using "ain't" would be in this country.
I hate this and the more so because it is at its root Valley Girl talk, which even grown men have adopted. It is so pervasive it is affecting my speech and when I succumb to it I force myself to say the sentence a second time without the Valley Girl inclines. The only way to stamp this out is wariness and application, but sadly, I don't see many even fighting it. This is the first article I've even seen about it.
I was born and spent my first five years in the Midwest, then got transplanted to Washington State. As an adult, visiting my MI relatives, I found no difference in the sound of our speech and theirs. There were a few regional expressions I'd carried to Washington that people here weren't used to, but beyond that, there was no difference.
I spent a day talking with a young Dutch man some years ago on one of his stopovers while traveling the US and Canada. He was absolutely amazed -- shocked -- to discover that everyone sounded the same in America (I don't know if he'd gotten to the SE or NE, but he began his journey in Eastern Canada). He said wherever he went, no matter how many thousands of miles apart, we all were clearly understandable to him. English is his first language, as it is with many Dutch people, as he explained: they are a tiny country, but they have so many dialects they can't understand one another and so they adopted English as the universal language for the school texts.
So as diverse as we think we sound, even when considering the NE and South, we aren't all that different from one another in the sound of our speech.
lol; but @TEOTD, can only say. . .
2B or not 2B; is the question. . .
Wouldn't Dutch be his first language?
Technically some dialect of Dutch is his first language, but not in general conversation, only among those in a small radius from where he lived. He said Dutch people have to speak English to understand each other if they are out of their own little area. This is going to sound unbelievable but he said they have hundreds of dialects in Holland and you don't have to travel very far before you can't understand what the residents are saying. That is why he was so astonished, and marveled exceedingly, at our ability to travel a thousand miles and never have any difficulty communicating with other Americans.
If you've studied the Low Countries, how difficult it has been to get the people to agree on many issues, and how staunchly set they are in many ways, it isn't difficult to see how this situation developed.
India and the Philippines seem similar to the Netherlands in that English is the unifying, working language of the nation as a whole, although there are a bunch of local dialects or languages. South Africa could also be the same.
Well considering that Brits sing words just like we do and our standard American accent sounds essentially the way we sing, it must sound like singing to the Brits...
Quite where he gets this British snobbery from is beyond us.
Hopefully in jest - from his earlier statement: We have been on "accent watch" ever since we arrived - monitoring our children's utterances for early signs of infestation ...
Reads more like a Frenchman than an Englishman.
I believe children should be bilingual, and English English is nearly a second language. Thanks to Ivan I have been learning some English English words over the years.
Good grief, here I am reflecting on the thought that I know very few people who don't have an accent from my perspective. OTOH, I know TONS of folks here in SoFlo that have accents from literally everywhere else who attempt to produce a facsimile of proper "American" English. Note that I'm not about to claim I can speak properly myself. I've chosen to commit the random slaughter of the Portuguese and Spanish language myself, but it can't be helping my English any.
Many younger folks can't hear themselves doing it. I was at a meeting recently where a wonderful and smart young lady was presenting some results from her research. The audience was primarly older engineers and PhDs. She Valley Girl'd her way through the whole thing. The tragic, but understandable result, was that she failed to establish any credibility for herself and her work.
When I was teaching, I would occasionally parrot the way the girls would talk. The lesson was that it sounds ridiculous no matter who is doing it and if a young person wants me to take her seriously, she'll stop it.
This author is an idiot on American regional accents. To call the Bronx honk a "twang" reveals all I need to know about his knowledge of the U.S.
Interesting-as opposed to the UK or Japan where the standard accent is that of the largest city.
What a nightmare that would be if standard American English was New Yorkish ;-)
That sounds odd. Even though people generally speak english in Holland their first language is still Dutch.
Oh, man, that's like so 2005! Try, like, what-EVZZZZ!
A few years back I was in Germany, and, not speaking the language myself, I noted to the German guys I was working with that one of the guys seemed to speak quite differently that the rest.
They all laughed and said that I was detecting his "country accent." He was a rural type German, apparently.
My last girlfiend was from Texas and had a sweet accent. I asked her if she thought the President had an accent. She said no, absolutely not. That made me laugh that she couldn't hear it.
Some Bostonians use a glottal stop as well. Of course, that dialect is descended from East Anglia.
I fight it when I notice myself doing it.
In fairness, I think all American accents sound "twangy" to some degree to the Brits.
I can hear the British accents in the Beatles and Stones but not in Dire Straits...for an example.
Language mutates as Dutch in Amsterdam, then transitioning to Flemish as you head south toward Antwerp, then to Walloon (more Frenchlike) as you continue down to Brussels, then gradually transmogrifying into French as you approach Paris. And up in northern Holland, they speak Friesian (which is the most closely related to English)
As posted in another post, personally suspect that almost all American accents/dialects sound twangy to the British ear, just as most British, Australian, New Zealander, and even Irish accents/dialects tend to sound clipped to American ears.