Foreigners in England/France

Damian   Thursday, May 27, 2004, 11:46 GMT
I am in a great rush in between is stressful at the minute but SO FUN! I will respond in more detail later this evening. But I quickly want to say:

Dulcinea: Fantastic helpful and informative..thanks so much. No probs with my name..I get it all the time so it really doesnt's a devil of a name anyway :-) Will comment on your reply when I have time.

mjd - English - nic: thanks also for your comments on my accent...I'm stuck with it for life...some people like it some don't but at least it is NOT Glasgow! :-) I give thanks for that!

Got to go...I'll be so glad when these exams are over and I start a gap year hopefully.

Cheers till later
Nic   Friday, May 28, 2004, 07:38 GMT

I like the glaswigian too, i don't perceive it as british do. All scottish accents sounds nice, really "natural".
Lavoisel   Friday, May 28, 2004, 08:45 GMT
I too am fond of the Scottish accents. I don't think I have spotted all of their characteristics yet, but that is part of what makes them appealing to me. They are definitely special.

Nic, maybe you find them more natural because some sounds are easier to pronounce for you? I think the Scottish pronunciations have more similarities with French than the southern English accents which have much more vowels sounds we never use in French.

Maybe you will agree with me on this one, Damian? You know French, so you are probably more in position to spot the ressemblances/differences than I am.
Nic   Friday, May 28, 2004, 09:15 GMT
Scottish accent is gutural, i know well the glaswigian one. The "r" pronunciation is close with with the french, spanish one. Is it for example what you mean Lavoisel?
Damian   Friday, May 28, 2004, 14:12 GMT
Thanks for your comments on the Scottish accents Nic and everywhere else, it has its variations and some I like better than others. The Highlands or Western Isles accents I think are nicest. Glaswegian is harsher.

It is true that generally the accent is more guttural and we enunciate a wee bit more forcefully than do the English, especially the southern English. We use the Celtic "ch" sound as in "loch" meaning a lake. It is not the same as the English "ch" as in "church". Welsh has the same sound.

In a way, English is quite a "lazy" language in that generally it is spoken without great consonantal emphasis. The letter "r" is a good example in that the Scots place much more emphasis on the letter "r", as in French.

I notice that when a lot of English people speak they hardly seem to open their mouths much, some hardly at all, especially men for some reason. With English people the language just flows along without much mouth movement. That is not so true with Scottish people, and I'm sure with French people also. Just pronouncing the word "true" is a good example. With English people there is hardly any lip movement, but with Sots the movement of the lips is quite pronounced in the same way as for French people when they say "tu" or "dur".

Because of this, I think that maybe Scottish and Welsh people find it easier to learn and pronounce other languages than do the English who are, let's face it, a bit......erm, nae so guid, wee bit daeless! :-)

So I do agree with you, Lavoisel. English uses the diphthong (horrible word I think) which I don't think many, if any, other languages do. Maybe that is what you mean when you say English uses more vowels than French. In the word "late" for example the "a" really consists of two vowel sounds "e" and "i".
Damian   Friday, May 28, 2004, 14:17 GMT
oops another typo last message: for Sots read Scots! I know a lot of Scottish people like their whisky! :-)
Paul   Friday, May 28, 2004, 15:35 GMT
I find a Cockney accent to be more distinctive and harder to understand than a good Scots accent. No problem with a Welsh accent.


I agree that South English near London, is much more economical in their pronunciation of the r-sound.
Damian   Friday, May 28, 2004, 19:32 GMT
For the Sassenachs: daeless = lazy, useless :-) Please dinnae take it seriously...
Might Mick   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 04:29 GMT
I think Swedish is heavily diphthongised like English. Any other languages?
Lavoisel   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 09:38 GMT
Damian, Nic,

Yes, I was mainly refering to the noticeably less numerous diphtongs in Scottish accents, the stronger gutturality, and also something that you haven't mentioned: certain A's, like the one in "can't", really sound like a French A (to me).

I said Scottish accents have less vowel sounds because in the book I bought "la prononciation de l'anglais", short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds and diphtongs are regarded as three different groups of vowels rather than regarding long vowels and diphtongs as, respectively, prolonged versions of short vowel sounds and combination of short vowel sounds.

Interestingly enough, there aren't many diphtongs in French and in Italian, but there are a lot of them in Spanish in words like "abuela", "vuelve", "cielo", "paella", "justicia". To prevent the reader from taking a set of two vowels for a diphtong when they don't form one, a stress mark is used like, for instance, on the "o" of "liberación". I think Portuguese has quite a lot of diphtongs too, but we'd better ask Mjd about it.

As for the rare lip movements there are with the English, maybe it is due to the way they hold the sounds deeper at the bottom of their throats than we do in French. Speaking English is a completely different way to use my throat, tell you. It takes a strict, regular practice. :-)

What is a gap year, Damian? Is that a year off in which you fulfill some of your dreams like, for example, going off on a long journey? If so,
1/ There is an exact equivalent in French: "année sabatique".
2/ You are extremely lucky! What will you be doing during that year?
Damian   Saturday, May 29, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Lavoisel: another interesting post from you....ok, the letter "a" in words like "can't". I suppose the best symbol to describe it is a: fairly long vowel. It's the same in the word "bath" whereas in Northern English the "a" then is the shorter, sharper @. American is similar to that I think. Colloquially though, instead of "can't" I sometimes say "cannae"! Nae is Scots for not.

Interesting to see that other languages use diphthongs...this site is a sourse of info every time I log into it.

A gap year is a sort of long, paid holiday doing rubbish jobs but having loads of fun at the same time. After the stress of university you need to chill out but unless your dad is a zillionaire who dotes on his son (deffo not the case for me and I guess a pretty rare scenario anyway) you have to work to finance this fun and attempt to pay off some of the debts you are lumbered with.

The gap year is the period between uni and settling down to a proper career and getting all boring! That is really when you have to consider doing something about those debts but until that time comes.....
hee hee!
Might Mick   Monday, May 31, 2004, 05:55 GMT
One sound I can think of in a Scottish accent that is identical to French is the "u". When Scots say "two", it sounds identical to the French "tu". (undiphthongised) Most other Anglophones diphthong it.

Australians from country areas pronounce "shut" identical to French "chatte", both having the same "a" to my ears.
Damian   Monday, May 31, 2004, 07:42 GMT
Might Mick: you put it exactly right as I have said in previous posts of the Scottish accent pronouncing words like "two" or "roof" of "who" is practically identical to the French "u" in words like "tu" or "mur".

We have the "ch" sound similar to German, as in "loch" (lake). I can't understand why the English have probs pronouncing that sound...they insist on say LOCK Lomond for instance. Probably the Welsh feel the same as they have that sound as well, plus their "LL" sound, which really isn't that difficult to say. As a fellow Celt I can pronounce it....just put tip of the tongue behind your top teeth and blow! No probs. Llangollen. The English just opt out and say something like "Lan-gol-un". Bless! :-)

I think there is a resemblance between Australian and Cockney/London accents, as in the example you give (shut/chatte). They do to my Scottish ears anyway. Maybe there is a shade of difference, I'm not sure. Interesting.
Might Mick   Monday, May 31, 2004, 13:27 GMT
There is a strong resemblance between Australian and Cockney accents but it's not as choppy or as swallowed as Jamie Oliver :)
We actually pronounce most consonants except for R on the end of words.

Being from a major Australian capital city, I pronounce "shut" with a more relaxed "â" like that in French "château" but the "t" on the end is softened. We don't like endings with an abrupt consonant sound unless we're in a formal situation.

The English don't pronounce "ch" in "loch" because they can't! Simple is that! ...I've never heard the Welsh "LL".
nic   Tuesday, June 01, 2004, 12:22 GMT
I think the scottish R looks a lot like the spanish J with words for example Jota.
There is a good exercise for british when they learn french, it’s to pronounce “brouilly” and “grenouille”.