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The joy of accents Options
rmberwin
Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 3:49:17 PM

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I enjoy hearing different accents. A Scottish brogue can sound charming, or comical if very heavy. What is interesting is that accents, and especially foreign ones, are perceived in terms of the native language of the hearer. A French-speaker speaking English presumably doesn't notice his own accent, or those of other French-speakers speaking English. But think of the practically unlimited combinations possible. For example, as an English-only speaker I have no idea what a Frenchman speaking Swahili sounds like to an African. And even if I learned Swahili, I still wouldn't. Maybe the accent sounds delightful, maybe not. Unfortunately, as numerous languages go extinct so do all these possibilities.

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 4:07:06 PM

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What I have found interesting is that if a learner acquires a regional accent in the language they are learning, this tends to mask their own 'foreign' accent. I knew a German who studied in Liverpool, and whose Engish acquired a distinct Liverpudlian accent. Liverpudlians could detct that he was not not a native speaker of English, but it was a long time before people from the south of Englandcould detect this.



A similar thing happened to me years ago after living and working in the south of Germany. After four years, my German was very good, but I had a clearly Bavarian accent. People from the north of Germany really believed that I was a Bavarian, but Bavarians could tell within a couple of minutes that I was not a native speaker of German.
Romany
Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 5:34:12 PM
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Drago - Snap!

I learnt French living in Switzerland. All my Parisian friends fell about laughing because I sounded like a Swiss cow-herd in French.

rmberwin - yes, I think one can tell accents, even in foreign languages i.e. although my Chinese has never gone past *basic* I could distinguish a Beijing or a Shanghai or a Ningbonese etc. accent.

And, once I got my ear in, I distinguish Swiss-French from French-French and Parisian-French - and could distinguish various accents.
tunaafi
Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:07:06 PM

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Romany wrote:

Drago - Snap!

ˈ/dreɪgəʊ/ - is that the way Swiss cowherds pronounce what I pronounce as /tjuːnə/?
Romany
Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2017 5:25:18 AM
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Tuna - exactly! I say, you do have a good ear!

(Sorry, mate. Yes, of course I was responding to you and not Drago.)
Priscilla86
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:29:47 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
What I have found interesting is that if a learner acquires a regional accent in the language they are learning, this tends to mask their own 'foreign' accent. I knew a German who studied in Liverpool, and whose Engish acquired a distinct Liverpudlian accent. Liverpudlians could detct that he was not not a native speaker of English, but it was a long time before people from the south of Englandcould detect this.



A similar thing happened to me years ago after living and working in the south of Germany. After four years, my German was very good, but I had a clearly Bavarian accent. People from the north of Germany really believed that I was a Bavarian, but Bavarians could tell within a couple of minutes that I was not a native speaker of German.


I find this very interesting and such encounters always amuse me.

Two people I know come to mind: an Italian and a Korean, who both have acquired a Javanese accent on certain Indonesian words.

The Italian is quite fluent in Indonesian because she was married to one for a long time. She was married to an ethnic Javanese which dialect has a distinct accent when saying certain words like 'no'. I still remember the first time I heard her saying 'no' in a Javanese accent, I was like 'whoa' =D

The Korean is not fluent in Indonesian at all. I think he was in Java for volunteer works. He was stationed in Jogja, a city in Java. He would speak in English but whenever he said 'Jogja' he would say it in a thick Javanese accent, just like a local.

In any case, I think this is what happens when you learn the words by ear, not through some formal education.

ETA: That's why I always roll my eyes whenever I watch a movie that depicts a character as 'fluent' in several languages (usually spy movies). There are just too many permutations of languages and dialects that it would be more believable if the character was written as being 'different but not really' as opposed to blending in with the crowd he's trying to infiltrate so easily.


The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
progpen
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 8:27:18 AM

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When I was learning German I was told I had a Bavarian or "southern" accent. When I was learning Russian I had an American accent. When I was learning French my teacher just thought I was a horrible student, so I couldn't say what kind of accent I had. (All this was decades ago when I was in Europe).

One thing that has gotten me in trouble (not really trouble, just a few raised eyebrows) is when I'm talking to someone with a heavy accent I'll sometimes start to pick up that accent myself. It isn't something I do on purpose and it can be embarrassing especially when my accent is noticeably bad.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
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