Accent samples - Michal part 2

Tom   Monday, August 25, 2003, 11:55 GMT
wingyellow   Monday, August 25, 2003, 14:00 GMT
The second one, slower one, is more easy to understand and more native like. I don't know why even if Michal does have an accent, the accent is still more native like than my Cantonese accent.

I can't imitate some of the nasal quality. Cantonese is too clear.

Could Michal show us your free speech? I speak better than I read. I think it goes the same for you.
Ryan   Monday, August 25, 2003, 22:51 GMT
The second one does sound a lot better. It shows how much more American one sounds when one takes the patience to draw out the vowels. The second reading had much less of the "up then down" Slavic accent that I mentioned earlier as well, because it was spoken slower and more deliberately, as well as with a flatter cadence.

The biggest identifyer that it was not an American accent was, once again, the "R" sound. Both you and Michal do the same thing, but he does it a bit more. I don't like sounding picky but considering I listen to hundreds of midwestern Americans every week I'd like to think that I know what I'm talking about.

Of course, Michal is perfectly understandable and nobody would have any problem with understanding him or thinking his accent was "annoying" if he were to come over to the USA.

Tom   Monday, August 25, 2003, 23:11 GMT

Could you name the word where the [r] is pronounced the worst? I think that would really help Michal and me to identify the problem.
Ryan   Tuesday, August 26, 2003, 04:03 GMT
Probably in the words "power" and "leadership." The "r" sound does sound a lot better, though. It's a little detectable in the word "others."

Other comments:

"Revolutionary" should be pronounced as 6 syllables. When Michal pronounces it, it sounds like "re-vla-shuh-neh-ree." Only five syllables. He kind of skips over the third syllable, the "oo" sound.

The "d" at the end of "mind" sounds underenunciated.

The word "self" in "self-confidence" sounds almost like "sailf."

I know that I mispronounce words when I talk, as you pointed out from my sample, Tom. But I mispronounce them in a way that many Americans mispronounce them colloquially, especially in the upper-Midwest. Slight mispronunciations in a way that is not done colloquially in the US already will mark one as a foreigner, although I don't think Michal's accent is annoying at all.

It also seems almost like he is talking from a different part of his mouth than most Americans talk from. When I try to imitate his accent, I end up talking further back in my mouth than I usually do, and it makes my vocal chords vibrate more when I talk. American is spoken in the middle-back of the mouth. British RP English is spoken from the middle of the mouth. Scottish English is spoken from the front of the mouth. And Irish English is focused more around the teeth, almost outside of the mouth altogether. If you read some books about acting with accents, they will confirm that different accents are not spoken in the same place in the mouth.

If Michal moves the focus of his voice a little further up in his mouth, more towards the middle, I think it will help the general sound of his accent a lot.


wingyellow   Tuesday, August 26, 2003, 07:42 GMT
Could you give me some suggestion too?
Tom   Tuesday, August 26, 2003, 09:01 GMT
Wow, thanks Ryan, that's a very extensive analysis.