What's your English accent like?

César   Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:22 pm GMT
Yeah, it could be something like that... the pleasure of bothering others and creating fights.

Anyway, let's not lose our train of thought in this thread.

Any others providing recordings?
Terry   Wed Dec 21, 2005 3:22 am GMT
<<I put up the recordings at uploadhut. Here’s the direct linking code to Daisy Hamilton story: http://uploadhut.com/view.php/486028.wav >>

Roger, I give up. It must be my problem as Cesar was able to make the link. Although I don't understand why I link to the others and not yours. Star-crossed or some silly thing. Sorry. It must be me.:)
Roger   Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:15 am GMT

I’ve made the new recording. You will find it at http://uploadhut.com/view.php/487580.wav

As you suggested, I tried to smooth the speech patterns and not to be so word-stress-concerned. I don’t know if I succeeded.

Again, many thanks for taking your time to see my recording. Your advice is very valuable. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Roger   Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:30 am GMT
<<Roger, I give up. It must be my problem as Cesar was able to make the link. Although I don't understand why I link to the others and not yours. Star-crossed or some silly thing. Sorry. It must be me.:)>>


It’s okay. Don’t be bothered with it any longer. I appreciate your efforts. I hope you will hear from me sooner or later.

Thomas   Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:47 pm GMT
Here's my recording of "Arthur the Rat":


I've been staying in the US for 5 months. What suggestions for improvements do you have? Can you make out my native language or which part of the US I've been to?

Oh, "house" should have been /haUs/.

César   Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:19 pm GMT

Regarding word stress, you've improved. You "reader's accent" does not sound "young" to me, however. So I'd like to listen to you speaking normally, just talk about anything for about a minute.

I'd like to see if you apply the same intonation pattern or not.
César   Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:32 pm GMT

Are you from Ireland or Germany? Your pronunciation sounds (to me, of course) like that of a German who learned English very well, but who still uses some sounds that do not belong to American English.

That, or you come from a country like Ireland or New England. I don't know.
Thomas   Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:48 pm GMT
> Are you from Ireland or Germany?

Bullseye, Germany. I would be interested to know which these sounds are that "do not belong to American English".
Sho   Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:28 am GMT
You sound very American to my ears. To me it almost sounds perfect except, as you mentioned, some words like "house" which you pronounced like /haUz/ and you "last" sounded more like /lEst/ to me.
I'm very impressed.

I'm not sure which part of the U.S. you live, but probably somewhere in the Midwest? You don't seem to be cot-caught merged and your "carry" sounded like /k{ri/ rather than my /kEri/. (and I believe it is rather typical on the West coast)
Sho   Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:34 am GMT
"you 'last' sounded more like /lEst/ to me." should've been "your 'last' sounded more like /lEst/ to me."
Roger   Thu Dec 22, 2005 11:01 am GMT
César, you’ve got sharp ear, I must admit! You may be right about my "reader's accent" that as you imply does not sound "young". I think I need to explain to you a couple of things before you start downloading my new voice samples.

I work here as a banker and do lots of phone calls to my clients on a daily basis. I deal with large corporations. In order to grow my business I also search for prospects and do a lot of ‘cold calls’. I discovered that my voice over telephone: its melody, tonality, natural beauty, etc are vital to my business of pursuing new clients. I also found that I was received easier and more welcomed if I happened to sound ‘older’. Secretaries and various corporate “gate keepers” found it more persuasive when I sounded nicer and “older”. So I trained my voice to sound nicer and a bit older. Today, when speak over the telephone my brain switches to my telephone conversational patters, almost automatically. I think this may be the case as well when I speak to microphone. My brain probably does not distinguish easily between the telephone and microphone. Sometimes I even find myself to use these patterns in my daily speech, which is surprising. Although I’m not a native speaker of English I suspect that some of my native patterns slipped into my English. Probably those which you, César detected as sounding ‘older’.

I’ve put up two voice samples. There are some slight differences between them. Direct linking code to file 1 is: http://uploadhut.com/view.php/490474.wav
Direct linking code to file 2 is: http://uploadhut.com/view.php/490477.wav

For your convenience I attached the transcript to these files, which you will find below (I’m curious if I pronounce your name well.

Hi César! I’d like to give you a couple of things about myself to begin with. In this way, I hope you will get a better picture of my natural tone.

I was born in 1977 in Warsaw, Poland, moved to the city of Cracow when I was six. Then I moved to Warsaw and I’ve been living here again since 1990. I went to university in 1997. I was trying to speak English during my university days, but quickly gave it up.
César   Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:08 pm GMT
Yo, Roger! How about recording yourself speaking in your native tongue? It seems to me that you change the timbre of your voice in order to sound old. Do you do that?

The problem I find with your tricks is that when people start listening to you speaking in your mother language you might lose credibility.

I mean, it is OK if you do some things to make your speech nice, like slowing down a bit and sounding relaxed; but modifying your own voice will project a sense of "cheating" to some people.

Regarding the "old" thing, I was trying to avoid sounding rude, hehe. Now, honestly, you sound like a 90-year old american. From my perspective, you exaggerate waaaay too much. You need to project energy when speaking, instead of sluggish.

About your pronunciation? I believe it is very good, bro. I can say that you speak like an american, but old... hehe. I this case your intonation pattern improved a lot: you stress the main words in the sentences, and your singing pattern goes up and down; good job!

You pronounce my name correctly, but in English, not Spanish, hehe. In English, it's written Caesar.

Now, both recordings sound almost the same to me. I would suggest you speak even faster. You will need to get used to change some sounds--like the "t" in "city", making it like the "tt" found in your "better." Do the same with the "t" in "university."

I won't be posting messages until the 27th, so I will take some time to record myself imitating you and speaking the way I do (in both English and Spanish languages). This might help you get the idea of which things you should change and which ones you shouldn't based on the differences you find.

Merry Christmas!!
César   Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:10 pm GMT
Little correction: "instead of sluggish" should be "instead of sluggishness."
Thomas   Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:44 pm GMT
Thanks for the feedback. Midwest was right, more precisely Michigan, so expect a couple of NCVS characteristics in my speech.

ad "last": Well, /{/ is the most difficult vowel two me, it doesn't exist in German and the great regional variation of it doesn't exactly make it easier. I don't hear my "last" as being [lEst_}], I think it's tenser than that, but maybe I'm fooled by creaky voice and it's really just [lE_kst_}]. My /{/ is usually laxer than the one of the people around me, but I guess I somehow completely adopted the NCVS for /{st/. Also note that "fell" is something like [f@5] but I could just as easily have gone all the way and said [fV5]. I'm still very undecided as to to what extent I should use NCVS-features in my speech.

ad "carry": That one is interesting, and I admit I never really thought about it, thinking I'm Mary-marry-merry-merged and that's fine. Come to think of it, I developed a weird habit of using different vowels depending on whether the word is stressed or not. So I have [k_he:r\i] above but [k_hEri] in "I can carry it". Similarly,
"fear me!": [fi:r\]
"i don't fear anything": [fIr\]
"pure evil": [p_hj_0o:r\]
"purely": [pjU\r5i]
I don't know if that makes any sense, I should probably use lax vowels everywhere.
Kirk   Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:47 pm GMT
Wow Thomas you have a very good accent! For the most part it sounded like a Midwestern dialect of American English, with the exception a few little things that others have mentioned. I definitely noticed your fronted [a] when you said "stop!"--very NCVS ;)

Also, that's interesting about the difference you have between the tense and lax vowels. I would think that most people wouldn't even notice anyway.

I thought this was an interesting little passage so I made a recording, too: