What's wrong with my accent and how can I improve it?

Some foreign chick   Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:03 pm GMT
Oh, and I sometimes feel like people don't take me seriously just because I'm foreign and have an 'accent'. Like I'm not really important, they just see me as "the foreigner" and not as myself. I HATE IT
Guest   Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:29 pm GMT
Be proud of your accent. Anyways, American accent is detested by people outside America.. or if that guy is the only person in your life to socialize with then you gotta work on your accent. Make up your own mind on this whole issue. Most people would be happy to talk to you with your current accent...having a tinge of your natural accent adds up to your overall beauty of the accent...just a thought.
creed   Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:35 pm GMT
<<until that guy mentioned it 2 months ago, and it's been bothering me ever since. I WANT TO GET RID OF IT!>>

You should be proud over your accent. It gives you an identity; problem is that the Americans dislike it. They want all to sound the same; meaning dumb and robotic like, and you (with an accent / dialect) stand out. Reference are as follows (for those that do not deal with Americans on a daily basis), the program: American Choppers! Everyone sound the same, said and pathetic really, no variation what so ever, same tone all the time with linguistic and communication skills of a cave man. Furthermore; given their issues with accents /dialects, it amazes me how they solve their view in terms of all the diffrent races that makes up their country? After all; they do not look alike! Hypocritical bastards, if you ask me. A bit like "you dont look like us, but you sure as hell need to sound like us...miss" :/

<<Oh, and I sometimes feel like people don't take me seriously just because I'm foreign and have an 'accent'>>

Their foreign approach is interesting, think about that for a while

<<Like I'm not really important>>

Bollocks dear, you are as important as the next man / women; regardless of your accent / dialect. DonĀ“t ever let anyone state otherwise!!!
Josh Lalonde   Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:55 pm GMT
<<you are as important as the next man / women; regardless of your accent / dialect>>
<<everyone sound the same, said and pathetic really, no variation what so ever, same tone all the time with linguistic and communication skills of a cave man.>>

I can't believe you just said those two things in the same post. Americans definetely don't all sound the same; there is a huge variation in accent and dialect across the country. Besides, judging an entire country based on the way people talk on one TV programme is just as bad as dismissing a person because of their accent.
borat   Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:16 pm GMT
russians are always so preoccupied with what people think of them. Take it easy, you are an immigrant and if you came to Canada before you turn 13 y.o. you will alway sound like a foreigner. Just live with it.
ESB   Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:03 pm GMT
Hi people

This is a subject that interests me a great deal as well; I came to the US at the age of 12 but now, fifteen years later, still retain a slight accent that is extremely annoying. It is indeed a serious barrier in many aspects of life. To give you one example, dating and making friends is a lot tougher. You are perceived as an "outsider" and although people are too polite to mention this explicitly, this influences your confidence in social situations and your general way of life. Even something as trivial as the inability to take part in any conversation without fielding others' questions about your background first is exasperating and embarassing.

However, enough about why accents are so unpleasant -- let's try to focus on what can be done to eliminate them. I'll share some of my experiences.

The high school that I went to had a lot of Russian-born kids from immigrant families, and I was one of them. The vast majority had noticeable accents, despite coming to the US as children. However, there was one guy who had no trace of an accent at all, and spoke like a 100% native speaker. Interestingly, he wasn't fully "Americanized" -- he still dressed and acted in a somewhat geeky, non-American way -- but man, that pronunciation was PERFECTLY American, incredibly so. I asked him how he got to that stage, and he replied with a single statement: "I spoke a lot." He didn't elaborate, but I believe this answer holds the key to making progress.

How many of us actually go out of our way to talk in English as often as possible? It may be a vicious circle, in that our accent precludes us from making American friends and getting this opportunity, BUT this is crucial. If you talk in English so much that your mouth gets tired from the strain of forming so many sounds that are non-native to you -- that's when you know you're on the right track, because the mouth movement neurons are being reprogrammed. You want to accomplish a state where speaking English isn't a strain, it's a natural flow. Reading is irrelevant, you can forget about reading in English.

One more example--also in high school, I used to watch a British comedy show after school called "Are You Being Served." They'd show it on PBS. Somehow, I got to enjoy this show so much I started to identify with its characters, and unknowingly adopted their accent! It was very funny because after a certain amount of time, my classmates started telling me I had a British accent. This was when I was 17. I believe this shows that patterns of speech like accents can really come and go, regardless of age, so this gives hope. In this particular case, I believe the key was that I really *identified myself* with the personas and culture that I saw on that show. Pretty interesting.
Paul N.   Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:12 pm GMT
This subject is also of great interest to me. As a non-native speaker of English, still living in home country, I struggle to make my speech sound in a more natural manner. As for reading I can not agree with ESB in that I find it useful when reading aloud. I read regularly interesting passages out loud. As I see it, this regular reading helped me in improving my English though there is still a lot of room for further improvement.

Do you guys have your own unique ideas of practicing your spoken English other than reading aloud? Can you share your experiences?

Paul N.