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Thread: why did my accent change?

  1. #1
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    why did my accent change?



    Hey everyone

    im on exhcnage in japan now and the only people i really get in contact with are Americans. I am Australian by the way. Anyway I have been with them for 6 months now and everytime i ring home in Australia everyone gives me crap about my American accent. Why did my accent change from Australian to American?
    Why didnt the Americans accent change to Australia?
    Im going to get teased so much when i go back to Australia..

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    It's just the influence of the people around you. Sub-conciously you might be adopting their sounds. After a couple of weeks in Canada I began to say ehh, go figure!!

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    I Think Most People...

    tend to loose any accent they have when they travel. I don't know how common it is to pick up another kind of accent though? I had a real strong New England accent, which I lost after leaving Maine for a while. I bet after you get back home you go back to your ol self!

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    yeah i probably will get it back when i return...
    everyone finds it amusing though.
    how long will it take to change back to Australian accent when i return i wonder??

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    Personally, my accent changes almost with everybody I am talking to. With Japanese I have to adapt my pronuciation and vocabulary to their level of understanding. But it's also fairly natural for me to adopt a country's accent when talking exclusively to people from this country, except if I want to emphasize my difference (in which case, I'll speak something close to British RP).
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    American here. After spending a lot of time in Japan hanging out mostly with Auzzies, Brits, and Kiwis, I started using a lot of new words, but my accent didn't change much. At my school I was the only American, so I would often get teased for using Americanisms or not understanding words they used....

    "They were taking the piss out of me."
    and
    "I saw some people standing in a cue."

    ....are a few examples of phrases I didn't understand at first. I can't remember the words I used that they thought were funny, but I know there were a lot of them.
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    @Brooker - actually it's "queue"...

    Anyway, I've had an American accent ever since I can remember (standard, not Southern or Bostonian or anything specific) although I'm Canadian. Since I came here, like Brooker I've just adopted some phrases (mobile instead of cell phone, footpath instead of sidewalk, etc.) but my accent hasn't changed. I think if I liked Irish culture I'd be subconsciously adopting more of an Irish accent, but not even my Dubliner husband has an Irish accent (he doesn't have a strong accent of any sort despite growing up Irish and listening to the BBC), so I don't think I'll ever sound anything but American.

    Anyway Exidez, if you're an Aussie taking on American tones, isn't that obviously because you're only talking to Americans? And isn't most English taught in Japan the American flavour (orthographically as well as accent-wise)?

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    Neko wrote....
    isn't most English taught in Japan the American flavour
    I would say no. Very few of the other English teachers I worked with were American. It seems the English that most students get exposed to is "British English". And they hear so many different accents from the teachers that they can't really tell the difference between them.

    The teachers would often have debates about which English was correct, which I thought was kind of silly because they're all correct really. They're all different versions of the same language, and all valid.

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    I think they're taught 'British English' in Japan. They use British pronunciation, anyway. At least, the ones I know use British pronunciation and I've been told by them that they were taught 'British English'. Who knows? I think they've probably got a mixture going on over there.

    Anyway, I'm from the South. I grew up in North Carolina, and I have a pretty strong southern accent. For years, I tried to overcome it. I used to tape myself so that I could hear what I needed to say differently, tape it again, and see if I improved. Even now, I will subconsciously change my accent depending on who I'm around. I guess I have a chameleon accent! If I'm around anyone that isn't from the South, I will try to sound not so southern, but if I'm around my family, forget it! Here come the long i's!
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirei_na_me
    ...I think they've probably got a mixture going on over there...
    I am American! And I teach American English!--of the Pacific Northwest variety, cause I don't know any others

    Anyways... I can vouch for the "mixture" bit. Although, Yamanashi is sister "states" with Iowa (or something like that)... and there are a ridiculous number of Iowans out here. In fact, I am yet to meet any teachers who were not from Iowa. But I'm in a remote area, and I only know two teachers besides myself anyhow.

    But, yeah... the more I factor in the plurality of Englishes here, the more guilty I feel about my occasional "pronunciation" lessons. Still, I am banking on there being some pronunciation that is just plain wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    ... like Brooker I've just adopted some phrases (mobile instead of cell phone, footpath instead of sidewalk, etc.)
    So Irish people say footpath instead of pavement then ?


    And isn't most English taught in Japan the American flavour (orthographically as well as accent-wise)?
    Not at all. I'd say it only depend on the teacher, and there are quite a lot of Aussies and Brits because of the working holiday visa (which Americans cannot get). When the teachers are Japanese, it's about half-half.

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    @ Nekosari. Personally, to me, the Canadian accent is the same of American English. I didn't notice any differences exept the usage of the idiom ehh. Myself I have an American accent, or so people tell me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duo
    @ Nekosari. Personally, to me, the Canadian accent is the same of American English. I didn't notice any differences exept the usage of the idiom ehh. Myself I have an American accent, or so people tell me.
    The Canadian accent fairly subtle most of the time, but it is very obvious when they say words like 'about' or 'sorry'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirei_na_me
    I think they're taught 'British English' in Japan. They use British pronunciation, anyway. At least, the ones I know use British pronunciation and I've been told by them that they were taught 'British English'. Who knows? I think they've probably got a mixture going on over there.
    You are right, it is a mix.

    I can't speak for conversation schools like NOVA, but the two big textbooks for middle and high schools are in American English. The official school plans handed down by MEXT are for American English. All the tapes and audio that come with the texts are in American English. You hear from older people (in their 50's and so) that they learned British English, but kids today are tested and evaluated on American English, even if a "British English" born and raised instructor.

    This has caused something of a small row in the JET community as so many teachers come from non-American English countries. It is not rare, but not unheard of, that a JET might be asked to change his or her accent to an American pattern by less informed contracting organizations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandylion
    I can't speak for conversation schools like NOVA, but the two big textbooks for middle and high schools are in American English. The official school plans handed down by MEXT are for American English. All the tapes and audio that come with the texts are in American English. You hear from older people (in their 50's and so) that they learned British English, but kids today are tested and evaluated on American English, even if a "British English" born and raised instructor.
    Well, I think it really depends on the school or region, because about half of my students said they had learnt BrE, and the othe rhalf AmE, with some people having learnt both, at different times (junior high, high school, college...).

    Even Japanese words from English are a mix. That is why they say a car's bonnet (BrE => AmE = hood) and trunk (AmE => BrE = boot), or they use both the words sweets (BrE) and candy (AmE), or biscuit (BrE) and cookie (AmE).

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    Want to know

    Quote Originally Posted by Exidez
    yeah i probably will get it back when i return...
    everyone finds it amusing though.
    how long will it take to change back to Australian accent when i return i wonder??
    I wonder, too. When you do get back, do let us know when you do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by m477
    The Canadian accent fairly subtle most of the time, but it is very obvious when they say words like 'about' or 'sorry'.
    Don't you mean, "aboot?" Canadian is noticably different from American, for me, just like Boston or New York or Texas is noticable. As for my accent, it's getting more "southern" by the day, although I know if I traveled I'd pick up the accent of wherever I went, especially if Britian because all it takes is watching movies sometimes to send me back to my original (British) accent. (I grew up on a US Air Force Base in England.)

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    My accent is such a conglomeration. I grew up in Texas, then spent 7 and a half years in the USAF, stationed in Illinois for 9 months, California for almost 2 years, and in Japan for 5 years. After that, we lived in Texas for 3 years, then moved to Iowa, where we have stayed for 23 years. My accent is a mixture of midwesterner and Texan, but the dead giveaway as to which is more deeply ingrained in my mind becomes apparent in my speech mannerisms such as an excessive use of simile and metaphor, and from an insistence that differentiating between singular and plural when using the second person personal pronoun is a more articulate way of speaking, y'all.

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    In Sweden we learn British-english in schools, but most people seem to talk a mixture of American and british-english ("thanks" to all the american programs on TV). But that doesnt matter, since the Swedish accent is terribly ugly and hard to get rid of (i think so, at least), so you wont hear if i speak BrE or AmE. ^^

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    My accent has also changed...I used to speak American English from when I was little until the age of 18...That is beacause I went to an international school in Japan, in which American English was taught (most teachers were from the US), and when I was 18, I moved to UK and picked up the British accent, which I speak today....However, I have also noticed that when I speak to my American friends, I automatically shift my dialect to American......Yes, it is weird.

    When writing English, it also depends, I personally write British English, (articles, e-mails etc...), however, in my work I have to write American English....

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    Neutral accent is a way of speaking a language without regionalism. Speaking with an accent affects our communication and sometimes at its worst spoils our image in public. To make ourselves understand better we should speak in neutral accent. Let us learn about how to speak in neutral English.

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