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"March is a month of considerable frustration - it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity seems light years away."
Thalassa Cruso
Learn English in March

Strange accents

mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
The reality is that a thick accent can be a barrier for work prospects. Research shows that employers tend to favour standard versions of British and American accents over non-native accents for more prestigious or “higher status” jobs.

So how can you change your accent? Could the trick to true fluency lie in re-training your brain to neutralise your accent? Apparently ear training can help with modifying your accent, but the article points out that while newborn's brain can perceive the entire range of human speech sounds, by eight months it starts to narrow that range to its native language or languages. It is said by some linguists the critical period for picking up a language completely fluently is at around six years old, while others believe the cut-off period is in the teens.

By adulthood it is almost impossible to pick up a new language without some trace of an accent.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190506-this-technology-could-help-you-lose-your-accent

In this video I understand Pinfield's Yorkshire accent better than Garros' accent. But understanding different accents can be more to do with how used to hearing them you are. I always suggest trying to train your ear to be flexible and to listen to as many different kinds of accents as possible.

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Comments

  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Some private schools in the UK actually teach you to speak in a typical "British" accent, received pronunciation, for exactly this reason.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    I have met Brits abroad who speak with an unbelievable accent, more British than the British.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,593 ✭✭✭✭
    Each valley or even each village here has its own dialect. If you choose a school in the city you'll probably have problems to express yourself for others and they'll laugh at you.

    The other day our youngest girl was reading from a list with typical used words in my village. She asked us what does this or that mean and we could 'translate'.
    She asked us why we don't use those words.

    Hm, good question. She was right, though we knew all those named words don't we use them. We thought back to our late parents and they also didn't use them
    I know families, even young ones, who celebrate those words and use them daily.


    The main reason why we don't us it, is the German-Austrian grammer that would be more difficult to learn, because even the structure of sentences is different.

    E. g. = the dialect says 'isch' for 'is' or 'kusch du' for 'can you'.... .

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    I think this is universal @Hermine. My friends in Nepal say that they don't like using their mother tongue when they move to live in the city, as people laugh at them for being 'village people.' It is sad because this means their children often don't know their own language (there are over 60 different ethnic groups in Nepal and over 100 languages).
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Hermine said:

    Each valley or even each village here has its own dialect. If you choose a school in the city you'll probably have problems to express yourself for others and they'll laugh at you.

    The other day our youngest girl was reading from a list with typical used words in my village. She asked us what does this or that mean and we could 'translate'.
    She asked us why we don't use those words.

    Hm, good question. She was right, though we knew all those named words don't we use them. We thought back to our late parents and they also didn't use them
    I know families, even young ones, who celebrate those words and use them daily.


    The main reason why we don't us it, is the German-Austrian grammer that would be more difficult to learn, because even the structure of sentences is different.

    E. g. = the dialect says 'isch' for 'is' or 'kusch du' for 'can you'.... .

    That sounds like what it's like in Wales. There are beautiful accents and changes to dialect depending on where you are.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    Here when Ukrainians speak Russian it sounds very different from the Russian I have heard from Russia. It's much softer sounding.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Here when Ukrainians speak Russian it sounds very different from the Russian I have heard from Russia. It's much softer sounding.

    I always think that Russian sounds angry, even though they might be saying something perfectly nice - it's the same with German!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    Hindi can sound a bit this way compared to Nepali, which is much softer in comparison. @GemmaRowlands Italians can sound very heated but I think it's just their enthusiasm!
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Hindi can sound a bit this way compared to Nepali, which is much softer in comparison. @GemmaRowlands Italians can sound very heated but I think it's just their enthusiasm!

    I always think that Italians sound passionate about everything, in fact that is one of the things that I like best about visiting Italy :).
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    Now I'm in Lviv, I think Polish is a language familiar to many people here, not that I can distinguish between this and Ukrainian.
  • bfluentmanishbfluentmanish Posts: 328 Inactive
    @mheredge @GemmaRowlands
    I would like to tell you that all languages of world are based on Sanskrit.
    Which is considered mother of all language.
    It was language that spoken in ancient India.
    Wisdom books were written by sages in past later on these were transferred by other great philosophers.
  • ech0panditech0pandit Posts: 343 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2019
    @bfluentmanish that fact may vary for different people just because you read or saw it in your cultural book doesn't mean that it is correct and neither do we have credibility for that, but fun part is to decipher these languages.

    I personally think and agree with you guys that the accent can have a great effect on how the listener(s) respond , just like @mheredge and @GemmaRowlands experienced with different cases, I think it is not the accent rather what words we put influence on more, and on some words less, not generalizing but whenever you see good orators or speakers they tend to focus on some key words while speaking which can give goosebumps to people and at the same time get eggs thrown at themselves, I'd like to recall a post from past on the forum only where I saw Scottish cowboy speaking and it was English but I wasn't able to understand a single word, maybe Teach shared it on Discord.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,593 ✭✭✭✭
    Accent and dialect isn't the same I assume?

    Can anyone explain it to me?
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,465 ✭✭✭✭
    Hermine said:

    Accent and dialect isn't the same I assume?

    Can anyone explain it to me?

    An accent is a way of pronouncing a language, so the difference between accents are in their phonetics only, while a dialect is a form of a language which implies differencies in the vocabulary and even in the grammar. Dialects of a language usually remain largely interintelligible. The border between dialect and language is blurred however, because it's often drawn out of political preferencies.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    @Practical_Severard has explained the difference perfectly @Hermine. I occasionally hear the Niçois dialect when I'm in Nice but it's totally incomprehensible.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,593 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks to both of you.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    I heard a couple of guys from Luxembourg. When I heard them speaking English, before I asked, I wasn't sure if I picked up a French or German accent. Closer inspection and I heard what sounded more German, though softer. The said Germans would probably understand what they were saying but there were some French words they used too.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,465 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I occasionally hear the Niçois dialect when I'm in Nice but it's totally incomprehensible.

    No wonder. It's a subdialect of the Occitan language which is, as far as I unsderstand, the modern name for the langue d'oc, the language of the troubadours.

    E·us dic qe tant no m'a sabor
    Manjar ni beure ni dormir
    Cuma qand auch cridar: "A lor!"
    D'ambas las partz et auch bruïr
    Cavals voitz per l'ombratge,
    Et auch cridar, "Aidatz! Aidatz!"
    E vei cazer per los fossatz
    Paucs e grans per l'erbatge
    E vei los mortz qe pels costatz
    Ant los tronchos ab los cendatz.

    Translation
    I tell you, I find no such savor
    in eating or drinking or sleeping
    as when I hear the cries of “attack!”
    from both sides, and the noise
    of riderless horses in the shadows;
    and I hear screams of “Help! Help!”
    and I see great and small alike
    falling into the grassy ditches
    and the dead
    with splintered lances, bedecked with pennons
    through their sides.

    Bertran de Born, an excerpt from Be·m platz lo gais temps de pascor
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    Sabot - know? (Spanish), dormir- to sleep is probably the only word here I can understand @Practical_Severard. I'm guessing that there's a certain amount of cryng out for help though.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,465 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    Sabot - know? (Spanish),

    savour (taste).
    mheredge said:


    dormir- to sleep is probably the only word here I can understand @Practical_Severard. I'm guessing that there's a certain amount of cryng out for help though.

    Yes, cries for help. But have you noticed the horses ("cavals")? French -cheval, Spanish - caballo, the "cavalry" has the same root.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    The area around Nice wasn't even part of France until quite recently, so no wonder the dialects here are weird @Practical_Severard.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    EEE by gum! (Do they really say this @Teach?)

    I have a friend in Kathmandu who came from Harrogate but who's lived in Nepal much of her 70+ years and she still keeps her lovely Yorkshire accent.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/10/accentism-yorkshire-regional-dialects-english-snobbery
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,465 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    The area around Nice wasn't even part of France until quite recently, so no wonder the dialects here are weird @Practical_Severard.

    France used to be very strict to dialects ("patois") in its educational system, as Wikipedia claims. The schoolchildren weren't allowed to speak their dialects even during breaks and were mocked. I think that the UK has always been more relaxed in this dimension.
    Since Russian is very uniform (there are dialects and substantially different from the standard language, but they're confined to remote villages and elderly people) I tend to think that the same was here. Add to this massive migrations we have had here.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    This doesn't surprise me @Practical_Severard though in the UK there are no dialects. I used be teased at school because I don't have a cockney accent and most of my primary school classmates, who came mainly from a nearby council estate dropped their haitches to say aitch!
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,465 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    This doesn't surprise me @Practical_Severard though in the UK there are no dialects.

    Oh yes, those are accents. I stand corrected. Though, I guess that American English can be classified as a dialect.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    No @Practical_Severard, they just don't know how to speak English properly.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    EEE by gum! (Do they really say this @Teach?)



    I have a friend in Kathmandu who came from Harrogate but who's lived in Nepal much of her 70+ years and she still keeps her lovely Yorkshire accent.



    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/10/accentism-yorkshire-regional-dialects-english-snobbery

    I can confirm that "eee by gum" is definitely used in Yorkshire! Most notably in the farming community. Members of my own family use this phrase on a regular basis. My grandad does, though he isn't from Yorkshire, he's from Lancashire, where it's also quite common.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    But really is it just as a joke? I can't believe people actually use the term as it's such a stereotypical thing people 'up north' are expected to say.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    But really is it just as a joke? I can't believe people actually use the term as it's such a stereotypical thing people 'up north' are expected to say.

    No, it's not a joke, it might be stereotypical, but it's most definitely a part of people's language - most notably the older generation.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,442 ✭✭✭✭
    I know that I couldn't believe people called each other ducks in the Midlands. The first time it happened when a bus driver called me this I was very amused.
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