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Thread: English Accent

  1. #1
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    English Accent

    Hi I was just wondering what you native Russians think of an English (even London if you can be that specific) accent speaking Russian?

    What does it sound like to you? Is it nice in itself or would you advise someone to lose it as quickly as i would a Chinese-English accent?
    Personally i simply wouldn't bother trying to adopt an English accent if i was a Russian, considering that the Russian accent just sounds so great when speaking English!!!

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: English Accent

    Beeing a native Russian speaker, I don't mind any accents at all. If a foreign person speaks more or less decent Russian I'll respect him/her for that reason only.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: English Accent

    I have no exact idea about specifically English accent. I think it is accepted neither as nice nor as weird.

    There are different levels of accent. It is very hard to get rid of accent completely and nobody really expect perfect Russian from a foreigner. But if accent is very heavy it turns a speech into gibberish. For example when in Hollywood films actors speak would-be Russian, I usually either do not understand at all or put great efforts to understand. Even if their phrases themselves are perfect (written by Russian consultants). IMO such accent is not convenient in conversation.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo
    For example when in Hollywood films actors speak would-be Russian, I usually either do not understand at all or put great efforts to understand. Even if their phrases themselves are perfect (written by Russian consultants). IMO such accent is not convenient in conversation.
    Exactly! I usually don't even realize, or don't realize right away, that they speak in Russian.

    happyclogs, check this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19932
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Exactly! I usually don't even realize, or don't realize right away, that they speak in Russian.
    А вы можете привести пример такого фильма, где говорят по-русски так, что непонятно для самих русских?

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubr
    А вы можете привести пример такого фильма, где говорят по-русски так, что непонятно для самих русских?
    Боюсь, что нет. Я такие фильмы не запоминаю и обычно не смотрю до конца.
    Но если еще раз услышу, обязательно запомню и скажу.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubr
    А вы можете привести пример такого фильма, где говорят по-русски так, что непонятно для самих русских?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzdcgoKmr40
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: English Accent

    Hm, Lundgren is not so bad. Unfortunately, I can't remember any other examples right now..

  9. #9
    Hanna
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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Hm, Lundgren is not so bad. Unfortunately, I can't remember any other examples right now..
    He's not American though - he's Swedish. He probably had a lot more exposure to Russian when he grew up, from TV and radio. So he knows what Russian is supposed to sound like, even if he doesn't speak it himself. Plus Swedish has many more sounds in common with Russian than English so it's easier for him to sound reasonably close.

    But why don't they just get a Russian person to play the Russian roles? It's quite silly to use other nationalities.

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    Re: English Accent

    Ура, I've found a couple of examples.

    Seagal is almost completely unintelligible in this one, especially the second phrase after "Сразу..". I'm still not sure what he said exactly. He swears well, though. "Дурак" and "п*дорас" are well done. ))))
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9er9r0B7hg

    Schwarzenegger is famous for his bad Russian in "Red Heat". But, like Lundgren, he actually can be understood with some effort and from the context, even if his accent is VEERY strong, and thus funny (yes, English is his second language, but most English-speaking actors sound close..).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwn_d4Rn8uU

    I liked the way actors spoke Russian (a lot of Russian) in "BIRTHDAY GIRL"/"Именинница". For people who obviously just learned all these phrases without really understanding them they were good (not all the time, of course ).
    Check it (they speak Russian in the beginning, and then around 3:25)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMVjloGt00g

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Re: English Accent

    I really don't understand why the Hollywood film industry with all its' money can't find a decent Russian actress to play a role like that. I always think this type of casting is distracting in a film.

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Hm, Lundgren is not so bad.
    I bet he doesn't understand a word from the anthem he is trying to sing. He sounds more like a talking parrot than a human.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: English Accent

    Yeah, well it seems quite easy to find examples of Americans speaking Russian, but as they sound bizarre to me when they speak English i hardly feel that they sound as we sound in Russian!!

    Still, i was surprised at how people in Moscow assumed that i - speaking Russian - was an American when i went there last winter (they were a lot bloody friendlier when i told them i wasn't )

    Sometimes i do wonder if i should just give up trying to sound Russian as when i speak "normally" my teacher says i sound quite good, quite masculine; but when i really try hard she says i sound like a Ukrainian woman (lol_) and half-incomprehensible...

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Plus Swedish has many more sounds in common with Russian than English so it's easier for him to sound reasonably close.
    Really? I had always assumed that we were basically "cousin" languages and can mutually learn each other in a couple of years... Surely thats why people like ABBA sound like their practically native!

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I really don't understand why the Hollywood film industry with all its' money can't find a decent Russian actress to play a role like that. I always think this type of casting is distracting in a film.
    Actually I can understand why they do it. Who wants to see some unknown Russian guy/girl as a lead in a blockbuster? Seriously. And casting actors basing on their language skills and not the talent does not seem wise either..

    The possible solution is inviting native speakers to dub/voice-over phrases, that famous actors say in other language(s). The voices should be alike, of course. Or inviting good tutors and making sure, that actors are at least moderately good.
    And, frankly speaking, bad turn of phrase and extremely weird wording can spoil the mood more, than an accent. How hard is it to find an expert on Russian in a country full of immigrants? It just shows film crew's lack of trying. Sad.
    "Accidents" like this are both hilarious and frustrating (this is Jason Bourne's passport):

    Come on, people, Russians watch your movies too!

  16. #16
    Hanna
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    Re: English Accent

    Actually I wrote my comment before I had listened to Lundgren's singing..

    I take back what I said, it was not good.

    Here is what I find difficult about pronounciation:

    1) I sometimes forget to pronounce "o" as "a" when it is un-accented.
    2) Not making much difference between "ш" and "щ". The difference is not that clear to me. It just feels like different spelling...
    3) Russian vowels are sometimes "two for the price of one". The pronouncation by native speakers often sounds like one vowel is in fact two.

    Everything else is ok.

  17. #17
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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by happyclogs
    Really? I had always assumed that we were basically "cousin" languages and can mutually learn each other in a couple of years... Surely thats why people like ABBA sound like their practically native!
    Well the trouble is that English really is more of a Romance than a Germanic languge... The words are more like French than like Swedish, I think. But if you think that German is close to English, then I suppose you'd feel the same about Swedish.
    The people in Abba have very strong accents...! Haven't you noticed?

    Learning English to a useful standard took me a lot longer than 2 years. More like 6 years.

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Here is what I find difficult about pronounciation:
    1) I sometimes forget to pronounce "o" as "a" when it is un-accented.
    I would not worry too much about that at this stage. It's good that you are serious about your pronunciation, and it's a good idea to analyse the word, i.e. to note stressed and unstressed vowels, hard and soft consonants, etc., when you encounter it for the first time. But this particular trick (pronouncing "o" as "a" and "e" as "и") will become easier when you are more fluent. When the temp of your speech is fast it happens almost naturally.
    2) Not making much difference between "ш" and "щ". The difference is not that clear to me. It just feels like different spelling...
    I agree, it's not easy to improve your pronunciation, when you just can't hear the difference. Many Russian speakers have a similar problem with English [i] and [i:] (ship/sheep), "p" and "h" (they often use Russian "п" and "х" as a substitute), and many other sounds. For me "ш" and "щ" sound quite different, but I see why it can be hard to ditinguish them.
    You may want to check this thread. There are a few useful tips there.
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1513759

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Actually I wrote my comment before I had listened to Lundgren's singing..

    I take back what I said, it was not good.
    He is not so bad in comparison to many other actors. At least he can be understood with some efforts (as gRomoZeka said)

    3) Russian vowels are sometimes "two for the price of one". The pronunciation by native speakers often sounds like one vowel is in fact two.
    Yes, this is the characteristic sign of Western European accent in Russian, pronouncing two vowels instead one (like миэниа instead of меня). This is indeed a problem as it really makes speech more difficult to understand. BTW Russian Е, Ё, Ю, Я never do sound as two vowels though sometimes as consonant й + vowel. Are you sure you can hear the difference between soft and hard consonants? Гол and голь, кров and кровь? Those "two-sound letters" make consonants soft, that is all.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Re: English Accent

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    this is Jason Bourne's passport
    gRomoZeka, ты подняла мне настроение на весь день.
    You made my day. ))
    If you have problems with both posting new messages and sending PMs, you can send an e-mail to the Forum Administrator here:
    http://masterrussian.net/sendmessage.php
    У меня что-то с почтой, на ЛС ответить не могу. (

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