Where do you think my accent's from?

Mi5 Mick   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 07:31 GMT
"Double W": read double-u/ewe/you/ya. Whatever turns you on.
Damian   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 07:48 GMT
<<Whatever turns you on>>

Please don't ask! ;-)
Damian   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 08:04 GMT

<<Any chance you could send in a sample of your accent?>>
<<I wonder if you talk like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting>>


I will see what I can do on this.

Ewan McGregor.....his voice is a bit deeper than is mine.. he's a few years older than I am. I guess the accent is similar as we more or less hail from the same area of Scotland.....I'm from Edinburgh...he's from near Stirling, some 65km away. I like him very much for his acting ability.

I have Trainspotting on dvd....a good film but a bit scary...not the seedy side of life I have experience of in my home city thank goodness. Believe it ot not I have never done the drugs scene.
Mxsmanic   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 10:32 GMT
That remark about your transcribing of movies excerpts was very interesting.

I persued with the perserverance of a maniac the goal of getting the parts of movies and songs which are difficult in phonetics.

One of the most important thing I have learnt: the phonetics is not the main thing in such a pieces. It can vary far from the original sense.

The main thing is guessing. The rules of the "loose talk" only help to guess along with knowledge of collocations, phrases, intentions of speakers etc.

What is your idea about it?
Margaret   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 11:24 GMT
> It's perfectly possible to learn any other English accent with a bit of practice.

I have just three words to say to that. Dick. Van. Dyke.
Mi5 Mick   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 12:47 GMT
Three more words to rate Dick Van Dyke's put-on accent in Mary Poppins: not very impressive.

Ben   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 14:34 GMT
I think it IS possible for a native English speaker to learn any other accent, but in order to do so, you really need to learn the tiny differences between the accent and your own, rather than the big differences.

For example, I know, as an American, that my accent differs from British Estuary in three very big ways--the dropped "r"s, the pronunciation of "rather" and "can't" as "rahther" and "cahnt," and the very rounded pronunciation of words like "bought" and "caught." But it is really the SMALL things that distinguish the dialect from my own--the more open dipthongs, occasional glottal stops, the tight "u" sound in the word "book."

Another thing that anyone learning an accent must understand is that no accent is consistent. It usually has two sets of phonemes--one for stressed words, and one for unstressed. In New York English, for instance, the word "off" is pronounced "awf" when unstressed, but becomes a dipthong when stressed--"aw-uhf." In many accents, both American and British, the word "I" becomes a monothong when unstressed--"ah" instead of "ah-ee."

I feel for the guy who feels his accent is out of place. I've often been mistaken for British, probably because I grew up in a New England college town where crisp diction is more prevalent than the rest of America. It's kind of funny, because if you actually analyze my accent, it isn't remotely British sounding. Yet even Brits have commented on it, because they are so used to "sloppy" American speech.
Mxsmanic   Thursday, September 09, 2004, 00:14 GMT
My accent and diction tend to track my entourage. When I'm among people who speak well, I tend to speak well also; and when I'm among people who speak very poorly, my own diction suffers. I don't know why this happens as it is largely unconscious; a desire to put others at ease perhaps. At times I've been told that I slur my speech enormously (especially by non-native speakers); at other times I've been told that I "talk too big" (meaning too much vocabulary or diction that is a bit too precise, I presume). Obviously these are conflicting assessments.

I've never had any luck emulating any British accent; I actually find it easier to speak French without an accent than to speak English with a British accent. This may just be a lack of exposure, though. If I try to imitate such an accent in the absence of a model that I can imitate directly, the result sounds ... like a French accent.