can anybody tell me what is a standard english accent?

sreekar   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 17:49 GMT

yes! it is very difficult to find out. because English is used as the medium of communication across the world, we see very different accents. I am an Indian I have the access to news channels like CNN, BBC and also I watch various english channels like movie channels, discovery so on.
but I am confused on what is a world standard english accent. by following CNN or BBC can I get good accent.

thanks in advance
mjd   Saturday, March 13, 2004, 18:08 GMT
There's no "world standard" English. CNN is American and the BBC is British, so you'll have to make a choice as to which dialect you want to pursue.
wassabi   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 02:25 GMT
don't forget CBC...although...that's only Canadian...and nobody knows about it.....
Nick   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 07:48 GMT
Listen to the Queen!!
Harbinger   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 19:20 GMT
There's no standard English accent. There are social and regional varieties of English, but no standardised variety. The British queen has a marked RP accent, but nobody in their right mind would call it a standardised accent because very few people actually speak like that and it has not undergone a process of selection, codification and acceptance which standardised varieties have.
Jim   Sunday, March 14, 2004, 23:49 GMT
... don't forget ABC ... although ... that's only Australian ... and nobody knows about it ...

... and the Americans have an ABC of their own.

I agree with Harbinger: there is no standard accent or dialect ... nor should there be.


I have to disagree. There is more to the American accents than the CNN accent, there is more to the British accents than the BBC accent and there is more to English accents than the choice between "the British accent" (which doesn't exist as one single accent) and the American accent (which doesn't exist as one single accent either) ... but I know that you know this.


A good accent is one that can be understood easily. My advice is to work on clarity of pronunciation. Sure, follow the examples you hear on TV, in the movies and on the radio: it can't hurt. But I wouldn't worry too much about developing one particular accent or other: an Indian accent is fine if it's understandable.
Claire   Monday, March 15, 2004, 00:05 GMT

There is no such thing as a standard english accent. English as a language is spoken in multiple countries and each country has their own sound. Even within a single country you will find a wide variation in the pronounciation of words. I am a native english speaker from Australia and even I have trouble understanding British, Scottish & Irish accents because they sound so different to what I am used to.

Typically it takes me a couple of months to get used to a strong accent that is foreign to me as I learn to assimilate the different sounds. I think that perhaps the most easily understood accent from my point of view anyway is probably Nothern American, like the voices you hear on CNN.

I have a friend who is a native mandarin speaker and has worked a lot on reducing his "chinese" accent. He attended elocution classes, which is where they teach you to pronounce your words properly. The result is that he now has no trace of a chinese accent at all when speaking english. He doesn't have an Oz accent but more of a general easily understandable way of speaking. He calls it an "international" accent which is probably the best description because it doesn't sound strongly of any region.

His english sounds so natural that you would not know that he wasn't a native speaker except when you read his writing which still has a few telltale signs.

From personal experience of speaking with Indian speakers I can tell you that for me it's one of the hardest accents to understand. You have a lilting rhythm to your speech which sounds alien with english. If you want to speak well then I would highly recommend that you have some pronounciation lessons or work on that since it will make you much more easily understood.

mjd   Monday, March 15, 2004, 05:45 GMT

Very true. I only mentioned that because he was talking about the news channels, but those are more "journalist American or British" accents. No one speaks like a newscaster in their everyday life.
Simon   Monday, March 15, 2004, 06:06 GMT
No but a non-native who starts by imitating a newsreader will at least have clear pronunciation and structured language. Imitating Snoop Dogg might be fun but you'd look a bit stupid ultimately.
mjd   Monday, March 15, 2004, 06:12 GMT
Absolutely. I think watching the news is a great way to learn vocabulary, proper pronunciation etc. It's just that you don't encounter too many people in your daily life that speak as if they were delivering a news brief.

As for Snoop Dogg, Simon is absolutely right....definitely not a speech pattern that one should aim for.
Simon   Monday, March 15, 2004, 07:56 GMT
No but things like register, colloquialisms etc. are things that get developed later on. Most non-native speakers are looking I think to use English in a professional capacity so CNN or BBC English is ideal.

I remember saying to a French teacher who had just taught us a rule that I had seen it broken in a Stendhal novel. He said "It's Stendhal's language, he can do whatever he likes". Which is the crunch.
sreekar   Monday, March 15, 2004, 14:28 GMT


thanks to all.

but I am talking about the possiblities of adopting some kind of western touch to my english pronounciation. I am good at grammar and vocabulary which allows me to continue easy conversation. many good English language inistitutes are there in my town. but when it comes to diction, nobody can teach me, because all they have Indian languages influence on their pronounciation. so I would like to depend on enlgish channels. somebody has suggested me to watch STAR WORLD. when I see these channels belive me, I feel that some of the actors pronounciation is easy whereas others have got very difficult accent. Here I got the doubt on good english accent.
by the way what is your comment on Indian's english accent.
paul V   Monday, March 15, 2004, 15:33 GMT
If you live in England, Israel or South Africa or in the Eastern part of the world, that is to say the world East of South Africa, use a British (BBC) Accent as your Standard.
If you live in Western 1/2 of the world. West of South Africa, use the American English (CNN) accent as your standard.
Exceptions might be Far Eastern countries with an American Link or Military presence. (i.e. Philipines, Vietnam, Korea, Japan)

Regards, Paul V.
Adam   Monday, March 15, 2004, 15:40 GMT
I've noticed a few things that stand out among English usage in Asia:

British English is preferred in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, India, Pakistan, Russia, Mongolia, Thailand, Laos, and some other places that I can't think of right now.

American English is preferred in Japan, Taiwan, and I think both Koreas.

I had always thought British English was more international and I would expect everyone outside the US to be using it instead of American English, but it looks like I was wrong. I spot LOTS of Web sites based in Japan and Taiwan written in US English.

Being from the US, I've been using US English up to about 2001, when I became interested in writing in a way that the most people from around the world would be able to understand me. So, I decided then to change to gradually using more and more British English spellings, words, and even developed an accent (I think it's Received Pronunciation) that I've received positive comments about over here. I now believe that British spellings should always be used instead of American spellings because it's closer to the original form of English. It may be true that some American spellings reflect the pronunciation of the words but, there are so many more words that only have one spelling that sound the same as other words (homophones; like 'they're', 'their', and 'there').
Pink   Monday, March 15, 2004, 17:49 GMT
Pick what you like. And, I'm completely agree with Paul V. British English & American English or another??? It depends. :)