What is neutral accent and what is correct english diction?

On Quest   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 12:47 GMT
There are a lot of rants from American customers (who do business with third world) that people outside their country dont speak English properly. Hence the suggestions to acquire a neutral accent and correct diction!!!

Pray someone out there tell us (An awful lot of the working community in countries like India, China etc) What is the kind of spoken English the folks both in Northern America and Europe understand?

Now who qualifies what is the correct neutral accent and correct English diction?

I saw a nice thread on accent in 2002 being taken into mud slinging politics polemics. Please refrain from such in this thread...

Easterner   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 12:58 GMT
Try General American. I think it is the most commonly understood accent within and outside the USA (including, of course, Europe). It is also becoming quite common among businesspeople here in Europe.
On Quest   Thursday, January 27, 2005, 13:11 GMT
Hi Easterner,

I have seen your name in few other discussion threads as well... I wonder if you are around East England.... Any idea if the finance industry in london also are ok with General American accent?

I had always thought if us orientals did not try a put on accent and instead tried to pronounce words clearly (as we could) the western folks would find it easy to understand... but it seems I am grossly mistaken!!

Thanks! Catch ya around :)
Someone   Friday, January 28, 2005, 00:12 GMT
You have to realize that your brain is wired specifically to be able to understand and produce the sounds of your own language. You can never pronounce a foreign language properly from the start unless that language just happens to have the exact same sounds as your own. Instead, you have to practice it a lot to train your brain for the sounds of that language. It's much easier for kids than adults, of course.
Jim   Friday, January 28, 2005, 00:24 GMT
There is no such thing as a neutral accent. The dialect going by the name "General American" would be understood by most English speakers, sure, but so too would RP or even Australian English (as long as it's not too broad and not too full of local vocab). Adapt your pronunciation to reflect that of those to whom you'll be speaking and you should be understood but the best way would be just to allow this to happen naturally so as to avoid an artificial accent.
from Ohio   Friday, January 28, 2005, 02:25 GMT
I believe that when Americans say that foreigners don't speak proper English they are wrong.I don't believe that accent has anything to do with proper Englis, unless that kind of accent is really bad. I noticed that there are Americans whoc can't undestand foreign accents, but there are others who don't have any problems. It's amazing how some of them say that, when they don't undestand each other many times and they don't know how to spell correctly or communicate properly.
a person   Friday, January 28, 2005, 02:27 GMT
Canadian English
James   Friday, January 28, 2005, 03:07 GMT
French English is the most neutral.
pistol pete   Friday, January 28, 2005, 03:11 GMT
No it's definitely the Indo-Pakistani accent.
Brennus   Friday, January 28, 2005, 07:17 GMT
For a very 'neutral' English, I recommend the English of Seattle, where I live. It's based primarily on the American English of the upper Midwest. It has no drawl, no nasal twang, no non-rhotic English sounds, none of the colorful r sounds that you hear in Scottish, Irish and New York English. Seattle has no equivalents of California Dude and Val-Talk and even seems to be rejecting new Californianisms more and more, no longer considering them a mark of being hip or cool.

What Seattle English lacks in accent and charm, it makes up for in good diction and grammar. Although it is a remote city in the U.S., it has spent a lot of money on education over the past 50 years. Consequently, most Seattlites are pretty litterate.
On Quest   Friday, January 28, 2005, 12:20 GMT
Hi you all thanks a deal for participating and providing a great amount of info.

Also i am kind of tickled to see that most topics in the forum refer to some issue or other with spoken English.

One more confusing thing for me is to find out what is it that western english speakers find difficult about non-native english speakers if it is the accent or diction.

Is there a difference between the two????
Paul   Friday, January 28, 2005, 14:55 GMT
It's strong accents which I find difficult to understand. Even if your grammar and diction are horrendous, your point will still get accross 90% of the time when speaking English.

Some accents are moe difficult to understand than others of course. Most accents from languages that use the Roman Alphabet seem easier to understand than languages that do not.
Adam L.   Friday, January 28, 2005, 17:40 GMT
I would recommend learning RP. Unlike American English, it is foreigner-friendly as it doesn't try to churn out whacky sounds from -o, -r, and -t.
TViewer   Friday, January 28, 2005, 19:45 GMT
RP sounds gay
Nick   Friday, January 28, 2005, 20:05 GMT
I actually work in a call-center and we have american customers. it seems that when i speak using neutralized accent and proper pronunciation of words (especially vowels), some americans are having trouble with that. for example, when i say, "sonic" as /so-nik/ (with british o), the americans cannot understand it. so, i will have to repeat it using american uh sound before they can understand.