Talking in American Accent

Alaa   Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:34 pm GMT
Hi there

I have a question and I need from you guys opinions, when I speak english (( I am aiming to pick up american accent )), I notice on myself that I sometimes say a setence with the same intonation and the tone of a little girl I saw in TV and another sentence like a tone and intonation of somebody else, it sounds to me that what I am doing is wrong, and if I speak in my own natural sound, I feel that my language is effecting on my English, I feel the tone that I have it when I speak in my native language is the same one I speak with in english (( not the intonation )) also I feel that americans when they speak, they speak with a musical tone that americans have and it differs from person to person , when I speak I feel I lack the musical tone that americans have, how can I get this musical tone that americans have ? correct me guys if I am wrong

Guest   Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:40 pm GMT
I want to add that it is so obviously and something noticeably that americans musical tones appears when they sing..
j   Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:20 pm GMT
Alaa: English is your second language, am i right?
Guest   Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:20 am GMT
j   Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:13 am GMT
I think what you're doing is the best way to pick up a "musical tone", or intonation: listening attentively to - i don't know, it could be "a little girl on TV" or some episode of a sitcom or talk show - until you can repeat it with the exact intonation. At the beginning you will feel a little bit odd listening to yourself, but it's OK, you just should be. You will get used to your new voice very soon and then will be able to make it sound more like your own.
Actually when I studied in ESL school I felt really shy and not myself speaking in this funny way and finally I stopped trying, so I really have a heavy accent. But those who kept going, they succeeded. So good luck!
Here is a link i found:
Guest   Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:01 pm GMT
Thanks a lot J
Alicia   Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:08 am GMT
Is it just me, or do other people also find the American voices in ESL programmes to be a bit... exaggerated and artificial?

"I would LUUUUV to go to MAAAAny places aROUND the WORRRLD!"
"So do IIIIIII!!!" (increasing volume)
"Wherrre would YOUUUUU like to GOOOO?"

All said with TOO MUCH dynamics and intonation, and at an extremely irritatingly sloooooow tempo that's probably designed to put every English learner to sleep if it weren't for the tacky dynamics.
Guest   Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:16 am GMT
Why would you want to pick up that particular accent? You may well end up with it, as it is easy and lazy, but why not aim higher, and aspire to some other accent?
j   Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:30 am GMT
On this forum we're talking about the problems which non-native English speakers have to deal with. " provides advice and inspiration to learners of English as a second/foreign language". But it seems sometimes people who giving advice here never think about that. "Why would you want to pick up that particular accent (i.e. american)?" -- Why not, if I live there? What other accent I supposed to pick up? Does it really motivate Alaa - calling american accent "easy and lazy"? And what actually does it mean??
Why picking "some other accent" (which one: British? Australian?) is more noble aim rather than American? You don't like American accent - so what?
Alaa   Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:49 am GMT
Guest, everybody has a taste, I love american accent because it is cool, I love this way of pronunciation and I'd like to pronunce the way they do, the best accents I've seen are the canadian accent and the american accent.


I notice that also but only in TV shows or anything offical,but in reality, people speak normally.
Alicia   Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:03 pm GMT

Of course! I know how American English is supposed to sound; I lived in the US for some time. My point is that those ESL programmes don't teach normal American English, but rather an exaggerated version of it that sounds terrible.
txema   Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:08 pm GMT
Get the book "American English Pronunciation for Spanish Speakers" or "Accurate English" if you speak any of the following languages: Spanish, portuguese, Italian, hebrew or arabian-like languages. The book is based on Spanish pronunciation features but It has been used for some fiends of mine from those countries and it has worked out quite well.
Deborah   Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:37 pm GMT
Alaa, I've known quite a few people in the US who came from other countries (non-English-speaking) who gradually acquired an American intonation without even consciously attempting it. I think it happens naturally if you hear it all the time. But if you don't live in the US, try to watch a lot of videos or TV, or listen to the radio. You can practice imitating specific phrases or sentences you hear, but I wouldn't advise consciously attempting an American intonation while you're conversing. That often results in very fake-sounding speech. Just let it filter in at its own rate.

I had a friend from Mexico who hardly knew any English when she came here. I remember how forced it sounded when she first started trying to swear in English rather than Spanish. At some point in our acquaintance, I met up with her after not having seen her for a couple of years, and the way she said "Aah, shit!" sounded absolutely American. (Of course, everything else she said also sounded much more American, but I was most impressed by her swearing.)
Deborah   Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:23 pm GMT
(In case it's unclear, my friend saying "Aah, shit!" was NOT her response to running into me after not having seen me for a couple of years -- it just came up later in the conversation.)
Kirk   Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:25 pm GMT
<<(In case it's unclear, my friend saying "Aah, shit!" was NOT her response to running into me after not having seen me for a couple of years -- it just came up later in the conversation.)>>

Haha. Well, to quote an "Arrested Development" line, that wasn't what I *was* thinking....