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Your accent in English

Hello,

This is a thread for basically everyone, both native and non-native English speakers. So, what does your accent sound like? If you're a native speaker but live in a different country/region, how do people react to your accent? Do they find it cute/funny/ugly/sexy?

What about you, non-native speakers? Does your accent have certain traits that may indicate what your mother-tongue is? Do you try to do a generic American accent? Or have you lived abroad and picked up the local accent?

 

I'll begin:

I honestly have no idea. I'm not self-conscious concerning my accent. If I had to guess, I'd say it's all over the place. It probably shows that my native language is Portuguese and has both American and English traits. 

 

For those who are learning English: Is having a perfect accent important for you? Or are you more concerned in getting your message across and simply communicating?

 

Thanks a lot!

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I am not sure about my accent. But I think that a person would think that I am a native spanish speaker. because I can not speak some sounds in english that are natural for a native one. I make many mistakes. I still continue with some sounds that are normal in spanish and I can not make some sounds with consonants like a native speaker does. v and b sounds equal because in spanish we don´t know how to pronounce it diferent. But I don´t care about what other think about my accent, I only want to be fluent and other can understand what I say and me can understand what they tell me. it doesn´t matter if they think ohh you are not a native english speaker. I am proud to be a native spanish speaker and I love spanish language.

I'm pretty good with accents...so far I can pretty much talk casually in US, British, and Canadian. (: I'm working on the others... well I can actually insert some accents like Japanese into English (which of course sound rather...err...off).

 

It's natural when people aren't aware of their accents (: that's why sometimes it's hard to teach a person a foreign accent.

 

Personally, it's not really that important, only in some tests it is. Well, it IS more clear and comfortable when you're talking to a person; who has the right accent for the language he/she is speaking in.

Thank you guys for the answers.

Diego: That's cool. You should be proud. Spanish is one of the most beautiful languages in the world and I hope to learn it someday, especially because I am part Spanish.

 

Cielle: Woah, that's impressive. I sometimes try to do different accents just for fun. I was told that my Southern accent is good haha. I can also do French and Indian. One accent I'd love to do is Scottish, but I find it too difficult.

 

Steve H: True, you're speaking really fast, but it's easy to understand what you're saying. Your accent is very clear. 

The problem with any accent is that it is 'natural' only for those who speak it natively. I believe one can train in RP and sound passable, but with any real 'street' accent this trick won't do. You will be identifiable anyway unless you live there for a couple of years speaking only this version of the language.

I don't think my English has an accent (is this possible?). My country, which was a British colony is an English speaking country but no one speaks with a British accent unless they grew up in England.

 

We do, however, have many local languages, so some people tend to have accents that will betray (not in a bad way) their local language. Many Ugandan's accents may tend towards American English because it is the most widely imitated accent.

Lol thanks M_rk_s for bringing this discussion back from the dead

Anyway, don't be too hard on yourself

vitaly, you're probably right, mastering a "street" accent seems to be nearly impossible through self-study or something like that

edwinemm, you mean that people in Uganda sometimes speak their native languages with an American accent? That must sound odd, haha

 

I am a native English speaker from the United States, and I know from experience that even with native speakers of English there are many different accents.

 

I am from the mid-west, specifically from St. Louis, Missouri. I grew up in St. Louis until my family moved when I was 10 years old. I discovered after we moved that I had an accent and did not even know it! A classmate commented "I just love your country accent!" I was shocked, and I responded by asking "what accent?"

 

It took me another ten years to discover what she was talking about. I quickly lost most of my accent, as many Americans do, the longer I lived away from the place where I was born. But when I returned to St. Louis to visit family I finally discovered my family all spoke in the St. Louis-style accent.

 

For non-native English speakers, the difference between common American English and the various accents is hard to hear. Except when it comes to the typical Southern American English accents that can be heard in native of the Sourthern United States; states like Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia all are widely known for their native residents' distinct accents. 

 

Great question!

@MatthewK, sorry I didn't make my meaning clearer. I meant that their English probably has an American accent. It would indeed sound strange if I tried to speak my local language with an American accent - if I managed to pull it off anyway!

 

@M_rk_s, who knows, you are probably right. I only say I think I have no accent because its been pointed out by many of my friends (especially the fact that my English doesn't sound like it was influenced by any of the local languages I speak). I suppose if I ever spoke to an American or British native speaker, I would get better feedback on this.

I am a Filipino, English is my second language, and yes I have a certain distinct Filipino accent when speaking English. I try to do a generic american accent, but I'm really more concerned in communicating rather than having the perfect accent.

Thanks everyone for your answers! :D

marszalka, I'm with CJ Hepp in this one. Embrace your accent, you have nothing to be ashamed of. It indeed tells something about ourselves and I think native speakers won't mind.

 

John Paz, the same thing happened to me. I was born in Rio Grande do Sul (in southern Brazil) and we have a very distinct accent. I've been living in another state for 7 years and I lost most of my accent, sadly, but when I'm drunk I tend to sound more "gaúcho", which is quite funny. I guess I've also become more aware of the local accent, as now I can tell in which city people from Rio Grande do Sul were born. BTW, I absolutely love Southern accents, and not just for the laughs.

 

edwinemm: Haha thank god! Maybe if you want feedback on your accent you could post a recording here. But IMO you should stick to your accent, don't change it for other people. :D

 

CJ Hepp: I agree with you.  Answering your question, I do practice other accents, not only in Portuguese but also in English and French. I'm TERRIBLE at doing other accents in Portuguese (except for an exaggerated American accent). My European Portuguese accent is laughable. I can do a couple of accents in English, but they probably sound weird, lol. I try to do different accents in French mostly for fun, but since it's a language I haven't really mastered yet I think that no matter the accent I try to do I always sound Brazilian.

 

Armand: That's the spirit, I guess. :D

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