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Thread: Accents =)

  1. #1
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    Accents =)

    I'm listening to the Hot English magazin CD and I'm perplexed with the different accents.
    First of all I've learned that I can't destinguish between English and American speakers. They sound

    pretty much the same to me, though the Englishmen puffs alot and gulps some small words. It upsets me. Am I deaf or dumb?
    But the finishing blow was the Scottish accent. I'd never believe that's a native speaker. He sounds very much like any of my (russian) classmates, and a little bit like chinese .
    The question is can a native speaker mistake another native speaker for UNnative speaker? 'Cause ther are so many accents! Does anybody inclined to believe any particular accent more difficult to understand?

  2. #2
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    As a general rule, the stronger the accent the harder it is to understand, but most moderately intelligent people can tone down their accents and cut out any obscure vernacular whenever they are in the company of people from somewhere else, so it's rarely a problem.

    I have a strong Scottish accent, but I have no trouble understanding, or being understood by, someone from Wales, or California, or South Africa, or anywhere else.

    You'll probably find that the only really unintelligable people are those too stupid to have anything interesting to say anyway.

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    Thanks, scotcher. I listened once again to the record of the Scottish guy. I have no problem understanding him, but still it doesn't sound "english" to me. I mean it reminds me of the way russians speak English. It seems he even rolls his 'r'. Am I right? Does russians sound "scottish" or it is just my imagination?

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    Of course he doesn't sound 'English', he's Scottish!

    It's not your imagination though, Scottish pronunciation patterns are quite different from standard (BBC) English, and yes, I'd say Scots is much closer to Russian pronunciation than bbc English is, including our rolled-Rs. That's not to say that Russians sound Scottish when they speak English, of course.

    You have to remember that Scots, or Lallans, was a distinct language from English until relatively recently. The two were obviously related Germanic languages, but no more closely related than say, Swedish and Danish, or Spanish and Portugese. After the union though, the dialect of the larger, more populous England became the standard language throughout the UK, and Scots became simply a dialect of English.

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    Thanks again for your answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    That's not to say that Russians sound Scottish when they speak English, of course.
    What a puty! I hoped I have no need to improve my pronouncation since I speak with perfect scottish accent.

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    Simply rolling your r's as in Russian won't make you sound Scottish - you've got to mind other things like vowels, glottal stops, intonation, etc. How can you sound Scottish if your vowels and intonation are Russian? You can't. The reverse is also true - ask a Scottish person to say something in Russian and he/she will have an accent.
    Show yourself - destroy our fears - release your mask

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    Oh!.. In our small workshop we have a guy from South-Eastern London (he sounds like from the movie 'Snatch') and a guy from Ireland from Kilkanee (or whatever its spelling, they have beer there, anyway)... Oh, man, you have to be in our workshop to really enjoy accents...

    And there is a great movie I really like in part because of the accents they use there... 'My cousin Vinny'... Southern accent from Alabama and Norther from NY... Watch it; you will enjoy it, I can guarantee...
    Of all the things I've lost I miss MY MIND the most...

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