Native speakers, How can I get an American accent?

Chris   Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 14:11 GMT
I don't think it is about lazyness but it's about finding the easier way to pronounce words
mjd   Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 20:13 GMT

If I misunderstood your post, mea culpa. I'm from New Jersey in the northeastern USA. The notion of "correct" pronunciation is a blurry one. I admit that what is correct to one person, is completely incorrect to another. However, I do believe there exists some sort of standard or average pronunciation which varies according to region. All I was trying to say is that I pronounce words in the standard American accent characteristic of my region.

If I sound thick....well, there is not much I can do about it. It's my accent. Once again, I'm sorry if there was a misunderstanding.
Chris   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 13:46 GMT
Is American accent very thick??
Marie   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 17:33 GMT
What do you mean by the American accent sounding thick?
Could you please explain yourself a little bit better?

Chris   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:13 GMT
Maybe MJD can give us a better explanation since he wrote : "If I sound thick....well, there is not much I can do about it. It's my accent. Once again, I'm sorry if there was a misunderstanding."
Boy   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:14 GMT
It looks sound thicker and louder but this is a case only with middle-age or older people. I haven't found a thick American accent among teenagers.

(this anology is based on hearing American accents on TV, through news channels or special programmes on American channels).

I it more something with vocalcords not with accent thing?
Boy   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:26 GMT
One more personal and real example for you, guys. There is one newyorker whom I know very well and his age is around 40 or 42. His accent looks very thicker to my ears and not easy to listen to. Notwithstanding, this case is not true with each American. I found easy accents to hear of those news anchors who broadcasted the news on CNN. My question is....someone whose age is around 18 and raised in NY. Would he have the same accent like that above guy had?
mjd   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:37 GMT
I grew up in New Jersey right outside New York City, so it's possible that I might sound that way to some, although the NJ accent is different. It depends. One of my roommates in college was from Queens (a borough of NYC) and while his accent was not that strong, some of his friends had thick Queens accents. A friend of mine has another friend from Indiana and she told me I had a strong Jersey accent.

I can't really judge my own accent. Someone from another region would have to tell me whether it's thick or not.
Fly   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:38 GMT
yes, what do you guys mean by "thick" anyway?

New Jersey accent sounds good to me. And, I think in general, American women sound better than guys. Maybe they enunciate the words more clearly?!

Southern accents may be a little bit bothering to me though.
mjd   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 20:51 GMT
My understanding of a "thick" accent is a heavy accent that is noticeably of a particular nationality or ethnic group. For example, I might hear a German speaking English with a very heavy German accent where all of the w's are pronounced like v's etc. I could describe this individual as having a "thick" German accent.

As for Beelzebubs' original description of the American accent as thick, perhaps he means the pronunciation is very heavily American as opposed to British (But this goes without saying. I mean they're two different accents). He'll have to explain what he means by thick, because I'm not too sure either given the context.
Ryan   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 22:54 GMT
Saying someone is "thick" in Britain means that they are an idiot. Chris has a good point in that Americans contract a lot of words to make communicating less of a verbal chore, saying things like "wanna" and "gonna" when they are speaking colloquially. Language isn't about following pointless rules to the letter. It's about communicating information, and if we Americans can find a more efficient way to do it collectively, then we don't care about what any of the damn pronunciation rules are.
Fly   Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 23:25 GMT
A.S.C.M.   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 00:42 GMT
Aye, Ryan, just as the French contract "tu n'a pas" into "t'as pas".
Ryan   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 01:34 GMT
Right, and the English do the same thing by putting a glottal stop into words like "better" instead of pronouncing the t's. Of course, RP speakers don't do this, but I'm sure many from the UK who criticize American speech also use glottal stops on a daily basis and don't consider this an extremely minor corruption of the English language.

English was already corrupted in the south of England, anyways. From what I've read, the current version of English started out as a Midlands dialect.
Chris   Thursday, November 13, 2003, 13:54 GMT
I agree with what Ryan posted about English as a tool to communicate information efficiently.
I also think English is used by people in order to communicate ideas and as people change, language changes too, so those contractions are just part of the change and it might even be accepted someday as a correct way of pronouncing those words, why not?