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View Full Version : What are Europeans' views on American English accent?



misa.j
31-10-06, 21:21
I like both American and British accents when spoken elegantly. Many Americans say that they like the Birtish accent because it sounds proper, classic and old-fashioned in a very good way.

What do Europens think of the American accent, standard but casual which can be usually heard in the movies? Do you think it sounds funny, cool, childish, mediocre, too casual, formal, etc.; do you like how it sounds; do you not like it?

I would be happy to hear if you could share about your background education in English class if you are not a native English speaker. Which English accent was the class taught? I had Japanese teachers whose pronounciation was not their best interest, for most of my English class in Japan, and I'm still trying to get rid of my Japanese accent.

Let me hear what you guys think!

Maciamo
31-10-06, 21:27
There are hundreds of accent in Britain, and a few in the USA. As you said, when spoken elegantly, I like either (with a slight preference for the British one), but the worst native English accents I have heard were all British too. The only American accent I really dislike is the strong nasal one (more common in the remote countryside). In fact we rarely hear it in Hollywood movies/series, but mostly in interviews of ordinary folks on TV.

Wang
31-10-06, 22:03
I prefer the American way of speaking English (i.e. Bill Clinton etc) to be honest.

Minty
01-11-06, 01:13
I like both American and British accents when spoken elegantly. Many Americans say that they like the Birtish accent because it sounds proper, classic and old-fashioned in a very good way.
What do Europens think of the American accent, standard but casual which can be usually heard in the movies? Do you think it sounds funny, cool, childish, mediocre, too casual, formal, etc.; do you like how it sounds; do you not like it?
I would be happy to hear if you could share about your background education in English class if you are not a native English speaker. Which English accent was the class taught? I had Japanese teachers whose pronounciation was not their best interest, for most of my English class in Japan, and I'm still trying to get rid of my Japanese accent.
Let me hear what you guys think!

Well even though I am Australian and originally Sino Malaysian I prefer American English above all. English spoken by England people comes next. I think Australian accents actually sound like duck talking...ha-ha, but that's a part of me now.

Sometimes I can also still speak English with Singlish accent which is the same as Malaysian way of speaking English for all ethnic groups.

Your English is good Misa; don't be so hard on yourself after all you are not born in the states!

Mitsuo
01-11-06, 18:45
I have heard from foreigners that American-English sounds harsh. Do any of you agree with that statement.

I think that German sounds a bit harsh. My Mother as a child would go visit her full blooded German grandmother and my mom thought she was yelling at her. Kind of funny when you think about it.

Kinsao
01-11-06, 19:32
Hmmmm - there are so many different English accents and also many different American ones, so it's hard to say! :mad:
I haven't heard that many different American accents, but generally I prefer... umm, a gentler southern accent (i.e. not too much drawl) or northern accent that isn't too nasal... but I don't know of all the differences. >< I like Canadian accent, too. :p
In English there are so many accents, some of them i think are quite horrible, and i'm not even too keen on the most 'standard' English as spoken by announcers but I like some northern accents, some Scottish accent, some types of southern, London... :relief: I'd say it depends entirely on the speaker and their individual voice, I don't have a preference for English or American. ^^

Duo
03-11-06, 01:38
I like comprehensive english accents... American accent is fine with me seeing as i was schooled in mainly american institutions i myself speak an american english. However, i also like some british accents...clear cut ones like in movies... ie pierce brosnan in the Bond movies and so forth. Smtimes though when i watch sm comedy shows on BBC like nevermind the buzzcocks i get totally lost at sm points at the hell these guys are saying...

TimeandSpace
24-11-06, 02:11
It's true, some English accents are, to put it mildly, not very pleasant. Listen to the distinctive Liverpudlian accent for example, it is far worse than the American accent we are all familiar with in Hollywood movies. However, dialects like the one found in Liverpool and elsewhere are not as common in England as is often assumed, the media gives them a disproportionate amount of exposure. There is definitely a common English accent in England which is found everywhere, even in places famous for unique accents. Go to the Westcountry(south-west) for example and far from hearing the 'oo-ar' one expects, it is more likely that a received pronunciation will be heard.

This view may be biased, but this common accent of England seems more attractive to me than the US accent. (particularly when the differences in pronunciation are stressed e.g. mirror as: mi-er(US pron) or orange as: aw-rinj) Kelsey Grammar on the other hand has a brilliant accent, but as brilliant as David Attenboroughs? Nah

Alma
25-11-06, 00:14
I have to say I prefer Britain English.. but I do not have chance to hear it so often (well, yes, but not often as American English)... I do not find American English bad, and I am used to it since i started to learn it.. so that may be the reason I prefer Britain

:?

Solstice
16-12-06, 01:51
I agree with the person who said Kelsey Grammar has a great accent.
I also really love the Boston and some of the Chigaco accents, and of course the New York accent because of it's richness of character. Every accent has it's charms, and i find most people's bias towards an accent has more to do with personal experiences and social prejudices, than with the accent itself.

The reason i prefer UK to U.S accents? Because here almost every town has a different accent and vocabulary. There must be a far wider difference in vocabulary between certain parts of the England, than there is between England and the U.S.

gaijinalways
06-01-07, 19:42
There must be a far wider difference in vocabulary between certain parts of the England, than there is between England and the U.S.


I would hardly think so. I run across vocabulary and idiomatic expression differences all the time, and I work with both British and American teachers. I think England has a lot of accents for the size of the country, but it is difficult to gauge how many accents there are in the US.

I did find one article that states there are 5 main regions



http://www.uvm.edu/Course/350-192/region.html

whereas this one has one more region, but it also goes on to explain some of the state differences;

http://www.answers.com/topic/american-english-regional-differences


Just like England, there are even town dialectical differences, they just may not be as recognized as England's (and perhaps people move around more as well in the US, sometimes 'blurring' their accents).

Maciamo
07-01-07, 11:24
I would hardly think so. I run across vocabulary and idiomatic expression differences all the time, and I work with both British and American teachers. I think England has a lot of accents for the size of the country, but it is difficult to gauge how many accents there are in the US.
I did find one article that states there are 5 main regions
http://www.uvm.edu/Course/350-192/region.html
whereas this one has one more region, but it also goes on to explain some of the state differences;
http://www.answers.com/topic/american-english-regional-differences
Just like England, there are even town dialectical differences, they just may not be as recognized as England's (and perhaps people move around more as well in the US, sometimes 'blurring' their accents).
I recommend you the books The Story of English (http://www.amazon.com/Story-English-Third-Revised/dp/0142002313/sr=1-12/qid=1168160969/ref=sr_1_12/103-6443157-9445464?ie=UTF8&s=books) as well as the Lonely Planet Phrasebooks for regional vocabulary in the USA (http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Planet-USA-Phrasebook-Understanding/dp/1864501820/sr=1-2/qid=1168161026/ref=sr_1_2/103-6443157-9445464?ie=UTF8&s=books) and in Britain (http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Planet-British-Phrasebook-Phrasebooks/dp/0864424841/sr=1-4/qid=1168161082/ref=sr_1_4/103-6443157-9445464?ie=UTF8&s=books). It is obvious once you've read these books that the diversity of English found in the UK is much greater. I do not contest that regional slang words exist in the US, but they are fairly easy to guess for an outsider. They are more related to modern slang in the UK. The true differences between regions of cities in Britain date back to the days before the formation of modern Englisg language, so that you have more words from Scandinavian origin in Northern England, more words from Scots and Gaelic in Scotland, etc. But what differentiates most Britain and the US is the pronuciation of words (not just a few, but all, in Britain's case). Go to Liverpool or Glasgow and you will understand what I mean...

It's a long time since I haven't been able to understand a (native) North American accent in English. However it happens almost anytime I watch British TV when regional accents come up. Ironically, the easiest accents for me to understand (and closest to mine) are also British.

gaijinalways
09-01-07, 10:14
I'll dig up some threads for you when I have time. Some of the US slang is newer, primarily because American English changes a lot more than British English (we like to create words more often, something Prince Charles once criticized). The main dialects are fewer (5-6), but as I stated earlier, there are many sub-dialects in the US, including towns, villages, and state areas, they're just less recognized internationally as most visitors .

The Lonely Planet books, much as they are mutually liked and derided, are hardly the last word on linguistic differences.

As to guessing, here you go,

I need to go to the packy.

He's a bit of a wibble.

He's a wad!

He's from downeast?

Buy it from a scalper.




The true differences between regions of cities in Britain date back to the days before the formation of modern Englisg language, so that you have more words from Scandinavian origin in Northern England, more words from Scots and Gaelic in Scotland, etc

I'm sure that's true, with British English being an older language.


But what differentiates most Britain and the US is the pronuciation of words (not just a few, but all, in Britain's case). Go to Liverpool or Glasgow and you will understand what I mean...

Read my earlier comments (and thanks for the link to the book, I think I'll buy it, though they mention valley girl talk, as an example, which again, supports my point about regional dialects).

Boru1916
12-01-07, 22:57
People are referring to American & British, but what about Irish accents in the English tongue? Irish are often looked over because of being associated incorrectly with the British. It would be like saying all Malaysians are like the Japanese. (not true!!!) By the way, I as an Irishman love the Far Eastern accent of English from a female. Sounds very provocative and innocent sounding at the same time.

gaijinalways
18-01-07, 07:53
Good point Boru, Irish and Scottish speakers are often overlooked and certainly they sound different than British speakers. We sometimes lump N. American speakers together as well, but a lot of Canadians don't like it (whether they are Anglo or Franco speakers). But then, ay, what can you do, ay (and I always thought 'a' was just one letter in the Roman alphabet)?

Maciamo, I noticed you haven't come back with your quiz 'guesses'.

mightyboo
20-01-07, 09:15
Good point Boru, Irish and Scottish speakers are often overlooked and certainly they sound different than British speakers. We sometimes lump N. American speakers together as well, but a lot of Canadians don't like it (whether they are Anglo or Franco speakers). But then, ay, what can you do, ay (and I always thought 'a' was just one letter in the Roman alphabet)?

Maciamo, I noticed you haven't come back with your quiz 'guesses'.

The Scottish are british to, that's why maciamo is saying there are more british accents then american because you have the accents of the Welsh, English, Scottish and (debatable) northern Irish..and where do people get this notion from that Britian = England? i see alot of people get it rong!

gaijinalways
20-01-07, 09:28
Many Scots take exception to being called British. And Irish in Ireland are not part of Britain (UK).

Maciamo
20-01-07, 11:01
Many Scots take exception to being called British. And Irish in Ireland are not part of Britain (UK).

That doesn't change the fact that Scotland is part of the island called Great Britain, and so are British, whether they like it or not. In fact, even if the UK were to split into 4 countries within the EU, the English, Welsh and Scots would still be British, in the same way that the Portuguese and Spaniards are Iberians, or that the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians are Scandinavians.

mightyboo
20-01-07, 22:14
Many Scots take exception to being called British. And Irish in Ireland are not part of Britain (UK).

I'm Scottish and i'm proud of my British heritage. Alot of scots are Scottish first british second just like alot of English and Welsh.

[off topic]I've seen in american text books about the American revolution where they refer to the Great Britain as just England. Is this just a case of American ignorance or is it like this in other countries?

gaijinalways
21-01-07, 18:09
Would depend on the etxt, but it is certainly an error (England =UK).

Maciamo, I never said they're not, I just told you what the ones I spoke to said. To quote your 'bible', the Lonely Planet also said it's an insult to most Scots to be called British.


I'm Scottish and i'm proud of my British heritage. Alot of scots are Scottish first british second just like alot of English and Welsh.

Have to take your word for it, but my experiences tell me a different story.

martin parra
24-07-09, 03:14
I have to say I prefer Britain English.. but I do not have chance to hear it so often (well, yes, but not often as American English)... I do not find American English bad, and I am used to it since i started to learn it.. so that may be the reason I prefer Britain

:?

very many americans speaks spanish not always in english.

Kivanch K
02-08-09, 23:48
Southern accent sucks. It's like an Essex boy trying to speak Irish while chewing 45 gums in his mouth ))

Wilhelm
02-10-09, 18:19
very many americans speaks spanish not always in english.
The spanish spoken in America is VERY different from the spanish spoken in Spain , wich is not called Spanish, but CASTILIAN.

By the way, what is the origin of the American english accent ?