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  Tags: Accent | English
 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
29 messages over 4 pages: 13 4  Next >>
Sennin
Senior Member
Bulgaria
Joined 5881 days ago

1457 posts - 1759 votes 
5 sounds

 
 Message 9 of 29
07 May 2009 at 3:48am | IP Logged 
Sgt.Pepper wrote:
I’ve been growing more self-conscious over my accent. I find it very unpleasant. I
absolutely hate hearing recordings of my voice in English. It makes me think “oh god…
is that what I sound like???” What amazes me every single time I record my voice is
that I absolutely cannot hear my accent as I speak.


I was in a state of shock 2 years ago when I recorded my voice for the first time ;). At that time I was revising for the CPE exam and it made me really pessimistic about my prospects of passing it. In the end, the exam results were quite satisfactory but I made a commitment to obtain a more genuine accent.

My advise is not to be too negative about it. There are at least two strong points to your current situation:

- You are aware of the problem. This by tiself is an important first step. I know a lot of people who prefer to live in blissful ignorance.

- You are already native-like with regard to grammar and vocabulary and therefore it is possible to focus exclusively on the phonethical aspect.

There is also one problem:

- You have some bad habits you will have to unlearn.

I firmly believe it is possible to be native-like or nearly so, regardless of your age or "bad habits". However, it will take a lot of listening, a lot of repeating and recording of yourself and iterating it all over again. In my view, the defining factor is your stubbornness more than anything else.

Good luck.

p.s. You should definitely go for an American accent if you live in the US.

Edited by Sennin on 07 May 2009 at 4:09am

1 person has voted this message useful



be2lewis
Newbie
United States
Joined 5670 days ago

12 posts - 12 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 10 of 29
19 May 2009 at 8:42am | IP Logged 
Sgt. Pepper,

The English I heard you speak is grammatically perfect and your slight accent is really very charming. However, if you must have a "perfect" accent, there are ESL (or whichever acronym you want to use) texts that list specific challenges for English learners by native language. For example, When speaking English, many native Spanish speakers tend to pronounce "ch" where "sh" would be the sound a native English speaker would use.

I know there would be information like that written for Polish speakers learning English. If you can get a hold of a list like that it would most likely give you the precise sounds that are keeping you from having an accent free command of English. You sound great to me but if you want to know the exact the tongue placement etc. that is keeping you from having perfectly native sounding English, a guide like that would be a step by step answer. But really, imo, you sound just fine.

Best wishes,
be2lewis

Let me know if you are really interested in working on this. If you can't locate the guide for Polish speakers, I can help you. I am an English teacher and would be more than happy to assist you if I can. Also, I hav been told the West coast speech patterns in the US are said to be the most representative of a "standard" pronunciation. Oregon, Washington etc. are said to have the least "accented" American English vernacular. I don't know as this is true but it has been taught as such in colleges. If you hear a native Oregonian, he/she is most likely to sound (accent wise) like your typical news broadcaster.

Good luck and if you need help let me know.
1 person has voted this message useful



rNajera
Triglot
Groupie
Canada
rafaelnajera.com
Joined 5984 days ago

45 posts - 60 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2, French
Studies: Latin, German, Korean

 
 Message 11 of 29
26 May 2009 at 12:47pm | IP Logged 
Sgt. Pepper:

Your recording has made me aware once more of how bad my own English pronunciation is. If I had your accent I would be really confident when I communicate in English. If I didn't know beforehand that you were a native Polish speaker, I would have at most guessed that you were European, but most likely I would have said that you were a native English speaker trying to sound a little "fancy" :) (Well, perhaps the 'th' sounds non-native, but if you were speaking faster I'd never notice it)

The first time I listened to a recording of myself speaking English I found it hard to believe that I spoke that way. It was unbearable even for myself: most of my vowel sounds were wrong, I never pronounced the voiced 's', the intonation was awful, etc. Then I recorded myself speaking Spanish, my mother language, and it was as bad as the English one. I truncated words, spoke too fast, mumbled sounds. It was really really awful and I wondered if speakers from other parts of Latin America or Spain would actually understand me.

I think it takes serious training to be able to speak clearly in any language, even your own. Since my first experience listening to my own voice I routinely record and listen to myself when studying languages. I have become much more sensitive to even minor differences in sounds an I'm improving my own pronunciation accordingly. Still, I know that there's only so much I can accomplish without a voice coach. Since I will eventually work as a college professor in North America, I think that at some point in the near future I will have somebody to help me.

Cheers,

Rafael.

1 person has voted this message useful



GuardianJY
Groupie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5532 days ago

74 posts - 72 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Italian, Swedish, French

 
 Message 12 of 29
26 May 2009 at 6:57pm | IP Logged 
Yes, you do have a slight accent. Immediately listening to it, your intonation sounds similar to a well-known person's voice...but I can't place whose it is. You shouldn't think badly of your speaking abilities, as I perfectly understood you the way you speak already. I could tell you weren't from my specific area of the U.S., yes, but I'm sure a lot of people here won't pay attention to that so much. As you live in NJ...I see where you got that accent. NJ has a very distinct accent to the rest of the country; especially if you're anywhere near the state (I'm in WV). If you go outside of the NJ, people will know you're from NJ, likely, and not that you are foreign.
1 person has voted this message useful



cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5685 days ago

1473 posts - 2176 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 13 of 29
27 May 2009 at 3:24am | IP Logged 
Agree with others such as zerothinking - yeah you've got an accent, slightly Slavic accent although most would not be able to tell even that - it is hard to place.

I also notice some seriously strong American influences in your accent. My personal opinion is that it would sound better if you toned that down a bit. To Americans (where you live)it probabably makes you sound more native, so no problem. But if you move back to Europe you'd be better off without it.

My own accent is hardly noticeable and most English people find that dissappointing. They like it when people have accents -- I am not joking. There is no stigma with having an accent, as long as your vocabulary, grammar and spelling is up to scratch.

Be proud of your nationality and the excellent standard of your English and don't worry if you have an accent.
3 persons have voted this message useful



laoshu505000
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5663 days ago

121 posts - 232 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 14 of 29
27 May 2009 at 6:19am | IP Logged 
You are very good already. No need to worry about anything.

Moses McCormick
1 person has voted this message useful



ChiaBrain
Bilingual Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5655 days ago

402 posts - 512 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish*
Studies: Portuguese, Italian, French
Studies: German

 
 Message 15 of 29
28 May 2009 at 5:17am | IP Logged 
Sgt. Pepper, your English is perfect and clear.
You have a very slight non-native accent but, for me at least, its hard to tell where it is from.
Your pronounciation is as clear as any native accent.

I would not waste time worrying about it and honestly I think it can make you seem more interesting.
It's not uncommon for men fake an accent to seem more intriguing to women they are trying to pick up.

Edited by ChiaBrain on 28 May 2009 at 5:29am

1 person has voted this message useful



GuardianJY
Groupie
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5532 days ago

74 posts - 72 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Italian, Swedish, French

 
 Message 16 of 29
28 May 2009 at 4:13pm | IP Logged 
ChiaBrain wrote:
Sgt. Pepper, your English is perfect and clear.
You have a very slight non-native accent but, for me at least, its hard to tell where it is from.
Your pronounciation is as clear as any native accent.

I would not waste time worrying about it and honestly I think it can make you seem more interesting.
It's not uncommon for men fake an accent to seem more intriguing to women they are trying to pick up.


I second this assertion. Believe me. Some people fake French accents all the time, and it works!


1 person has voted this message useful



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