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Accent Issues Hi, I'm from Germany and kind of have a thicker accent because of the region I'm from and I always worry that people won't be able to understand me if I talk in the same pace I do when I speak German, so I always feel the need to talk slower in English and I try to work on my accent so it's not so thick. I don't have too many troubles with people understanding me when I speak English, but I've had some people tell me that I don't need to speak slower in English to just speak the normal pace I normally do in German, but I'm afraid to do that as I'm sure people would not be able to understand my English at that fast of a pace. Does anyone else have this problem where they feel that they have to speak slower in another language than they do when speaking their native tongue so that people will understand them?
Aug 24, 2016 5:37 PM
Comments · 6
Sue, thanks for the advice I should try speaking at different speeds and see which one people lose me at when I speak English, because I would like to speak at the pace I normally speak at because it's just easier for me, but I always talk slower in English because I feel that I have to in order to be understood. But I should try speaking in different speeds and see which works for the person I'm talking to, it may not be the exact speed I usually talk at but I'd like to speak English faster so I should try some time. Thanks for the advice, yes intonation is what causes difficulties for us Germans because especially in the region of Germany I'm from we have such thick accents compared to the rest of Germany, so we all tend to talk to slower English not realizing that if maybe we just annunciated better we can speak at our normal speed or close to it.  
August 24, 2016
Xavi, yeah we German's do have hard accents because our language is so rough, and you're right I should probably work on my pronunciation of English words, I notice myself messing up the "TH" sound a lot, like I'll go to say "three" and I'll end up saying "tree" because that "TH" sound is difficult for me to pronounce for some reason. I know how to speak Spanish too and when I was in Spain I felt that I had to speak slower in Spanish or the locals wouldn't understand me. But you're right I should try to stop speaking slower in English and just speak the normal pace I do in German just better pronunciation and maybe then people won't have a hard time understanding me, or at least they shouldn't.
August 24, 2016

Hi Sid. If as you say, people don't seem to have a problem understanding you then you're probably OK at that speed. You could try a little experiment to see at what speed you seem to lose people- you'll be able to tell from their eyes! Comprehensibility comes from being able to maintain the  stress pattern and intonation of a language which is familiar to a native speaker's ear. Generally for Germans speaking English it's differences in  intonation that cause difficulties.

August 24, 2016

Interesting topic!!

I think German people have a hard accent because of their native language. Anyway, you don't need to speak slowly. In my opinion, the best think you can do is to practice your pronuntiation. I say this, because most Spanish speakers (I'm Spanish) have a terrible pronuntiation, and when they speak in English they use the same Spanish sounds. So English speakers have to make a big effort to understand us.



August 24, 2016
Katarina Really? that's different, I can speak English just fine it's just that my accent is so thick when I speak German plus I talk pretty fast when speaking it, so I always talk slower when speaking English even though I've been able to speak it for like 16 years, but if speaking with your normal tone of voice works for you that's awesome, just for me personally I'm just not sure people would understand me clearly if I speak at the same pace in English as I do with German.
August 24, 2016
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