What do Yanks think of English English?

Clark   Friday, November 14, 2003, 21:43 GMT
Does anyone know what "scarper" means? My cousin just told me it yesterday.

And, "just told me it" seems a bit odd to my ears, but I have used this most of my life. Do the British use this construction as opposed to "just told it to me" ?

Oh yeah, and in the last sentence I just wrote, which is the correct way for the "?" to go? I get confused sometimes as I know mostly English punctuation rules and only some French punctuation rules, but in this case, I know the French rule and not the English one.
Chris   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 02:11 GMT
I've already gotten slammed by some people for "hating" American English, but I view the British/American English situation like I view the Mexican Spanish/Castillian Spanish, Brazilian/Iberian Portuguese. The latter of each are not necessarily "offshoots" of a mother tongue, but rather variants of the same language (that came later) after years of different cultural influence.

But I can tell you this...in a lot of cases the European side thinks the "offshoot" is inferior. For example, if a Mexican goes to Spain, sometimes they will get bad treatment for speaking "gutter" Spanish even though they may speak great Mexican Spanish. Many Portuguese feel that the Brazilians have slaughtered a pure language and I wouldn't go that far but if you look at the differences between the two, they are quite different, Brazilian dropping a number of letters, sounds that exist in the Iberian original. Also, Brazil speaks portuguese only because it was the Portuguese that brought the language with them when they brought over African slaves. Thus brazilan portuguese is heavily influenced by indigenous and African languages. Same with Mexican Spanish.

As for American English...it was brought over by the British and over a few hundred years it went through a lot of changes. Same thing with the Australians who were also British.

But as usual, I have gone off on a tangent.

Personally, I love British accents. I don't know why a lot of Americans think it makes a person sound cultured, as that is just what they grew up speaking. I think people tend to just start getting bored with what they know all too well sometimes. America in general seems to be fraught with very informal speech patterns, and maybe it's the same in Britain, but for some reason I find British accents a pleasure to hear.

Search me. I just do. Maybe I feel that is the way English should be spoken although American English is as valid a language is any. Saying it isn't is saying Brazilian Portuguese and Mexican Spanish are inferior to their european counterparts. I know I keep going back to those, but I do because it seems like Brazilian Portuguese, "latin american" Spanish and American English have become very popular worldwide.
Californian   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 03:38 GMT
British accents, and Irish and Australian and Kiwi ones, are all soooo sexy!
Ryan   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 03:51 GMT
Canadian ones aren't very sexy, though.
wassabi   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 04:13 GMT
shad ap! and you think the american accent sounds better? think again (by the way I'm thinking the stereotypical american accent a.k.a the whiney, nasaly, annoying, texan cowboyish one (eg:legaly blonde's manicure best friend ) as you are probably thinking of the stereotypical canadian one) i don't find any accent particularily sexy...that's just weird....
an american   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 08:09 GMT

sometimes i'll be watching tv, and a briton comes on. a middle-aged man or woman, who isn't particularly attractive...

and if they're not speaking or doing much physical expression, they can look like just any other american (average clothes, average haircut, face that would fit in in any american suburb). and i might see this person and think that they look pretty loser-ish looking. (keep in mind it is usually some bad tv show about home renovation or blind dating).

then they'll say something, and i don't think they're a loser anymore. it is strange, but true. ultimately, i am sure that it has more to do with social customs and culture than accent. in american culture it seem to be it is much more common to be self-depricating and kind of chummy with people you don't know very well (which turns into awkwardly chummy if you aren't good at pulling it off). whereas britons strike me as more neutrally-judging of other people, and more respectful in general. of course it all changes person to person, but i think the social delivery secretly draws me and a lot of other americans to british accents.

and about the "intrusive r". that exists in some southern US dialects. it is sort of humorous and uneducated sounding. but hearing the same thing, like "north korear" on bbc world news sounds kind of cool.

RP always sounds bad, unless it is done in satire. and i find overexaggerated gutteral pronunciation rather annoying. the only example of this i can think of right now is "The Streets".. over-pronouncing glottal stops or something. it just sounds lame to me. i wish i knew the regions, then i could say better what i like and dont.

i think i should stop here, so in summary, british accents are very easy on the ears. the right scottish accent is by far my favorite to listen to.
an american   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 08:11 GMT
ugh, please ignore the editing mistakes. :)
James   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 10:00 GMT
I'm a Briton, would you like me to send in a wav of my voice? Keep in mind I'm 14...
Juan   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 11:54 GMT
"if a Mexican goes to Spain, sometimes they will get bad treatment for speaking "gutter" Spanish even though they may speak great Mexican Spanish"

Isn't it funny. The way they speak it is incredibly upleasant to me personally. It sounds so coarse and rought and it comes as no surprise that some people think that Spanish is vulgar French. But I've notice this only in their accent. Latin American accents tends to be much softer, musical and more refined in my opinion.
To an American   Saturday, November 15, 2003, 15:31 GMT
What do you think an average American looks like?What kind of hair cut does an average American have?
A.S.C.M.   Monday, November 17, 2003, 03:24 GMT
Certainly, James. Do send us a recording. I'll try to guess which region you're from.
Simon   Monday, November 17, 2003, 06:38 GMT
James, you need parental consent before you can record your voice.
Bayou Rover   Monday, November 17, 2003, 13:54 GMT
To Clark,

I believe scarper is a verb which means to leave quickly; it is a slang term.
Probably from rhyming slang "Scapa Flow" which means to go.
Oh, or perhaps from the Italian verb "scappare" that means to escape.

Back to the main subject, BE is nice with me but I can't make a judgment while I like almost all dialects of English. Yeah, it can be sexy sometimes.

BTW, as a southerner, I don't like that "Yank" term much. It is just like referring to a Canadian as a Canuck. Many will find it pretty normal but French Canadian will be offended.
Cly   Monday, November 17, 2003, 15:33 GMT
Yes James, but in MP3 instead !
mike   Monday, November 17, 2003, 22:48 GMT
I just wanted to ask Americans do they realise that there is more than one accent in England. The only accent they know of is the upper class snobs accent which only the Royal family speak. Other common accents such as scouse, mancunian, geordie, brummie, cockney etc. are all classed as Australians. How narrow minded can Americans be? We don't live in country mansions with butlers, eating cucumber sandwiches, drinking tea, driving Bentleys and we definitely don't play croquet or polo. That's just an example of what The Queen does, who most British people are against nowadays, not what the normal working class people do. I'm sick of turning on American programmes and the only English person is a posh upper class snob. Why can't you have a Mancunian on or a Scouser(Liverpudlian) who have proper regional accents. That posh talk is just fake and no-one except for The Queen talks like thta. What will it take to make Yanks realise we don't talk like we've got a pole shoved up our arse.