How can I improve my accent?
Hello all, I'm new to this forum. Since there are a lot of English speakers here (natives and non-natives like me), I'd love to receive all your opinions about what nowadays is the aspect I'm most focused on: my accent. I'm going to keep certain information from you in order not to condition your response, so in later messages I'll say which my native language is (I think it's still guessable from my speech anyway. That's why I'm here), what my learning approach is and how long I've been studying English.
Here's the sample:
(It's a 200KB WMA of less than 30 seconds made from a text I read on a web page on which they say this fragment contains almost every English sound).
Thanks in advance for your input.
I'll say your accent is just fine (atleast, clear enough to be understood). Some uncoordinated syllabic stressing (force with which a sound or syllable is spoken), which is natural for everyone with "heavy accents." I'm not sure if that was your natural accent or you tried to carve it for the audio recording, you sounded tensed.
Its unfortunate that the best ways anyone can learn the English language (writing and reading) doesn't quite work for accents, someone can be excellent in the language but still maintain a heavy accent. The important thing is to be understood. And if you insist on changing or improving your accent, the best way to do that is by way of interaction with those whose accent you admire.
And...its really not fun when you try to open a file downloaded from the internet these days, you nearly gave me a heart attack when my computer started acting funny just before the audio began to play.
That is an easy way to send a computer virus, even if you think "Yousendit.com" scanned it. I think thats why people hardly respond to posts like yours.
Hello Stan! Thanks for your insight.
"I'll say your accent is just fine (atleast, clear enough to be understood). Some uncoordinated syllabic stressing (force with which a sound or syllable is spoken), which is natural for everyone with "heavy accents." I'm not sure if that was your natural accent or you tried to carve it for the audio recording, you sounded tensed."
I've noticed that I don't read exactly as I speak, but I don't think my speech can be much better than that nonetheless, just a little more relaxed perhaps.
"Its unfortunate that the best ways anyone can learn the English language (writing and reading) doesn't quite work for accents, someone can be excellent in the language but still maintain a heavy accent. The important thing is to be understood. And if you insist on changing or improving your accent, the best way to do that is by way of interaction with those whose accent you admire."
Yeah, I totally agree. I want to improve my accent but it's not something that deprives me of sleep anyway. I'm aware that while I don't have personal contact with natives I can only go so far with my English. At any rate, from what I get from your message I should try to speak less sharply and more relaxed. Let see what happens.
As for the virus thing, I didn't find a better way to publish the file. I'm aware there's a huge paranoia regarding the issue and that a common user may not know that a WMA file can't contain a virus because it's not an executable file. However, you're totally right as my message hasn't paid off. I was certainly expecting more comments.
Thank you again Stan.
***How can I improve my accent?***
Move to Edinburgh.
Damian, I think he'll do better over here in Canada.
PolCas...you are German are you not? It's an accent somewhere in that region...perhaps Poland? I also hear just a touch of American influencing the speech aswell, am I wrong?
Anyway, my advice would be to sit down on your own with a recording of an English native speaking...try to get someone with a sub-urban London accent, simply because these are the most plain, unbiased and uncorrupted accents in my opinion. Listen to small chunks of the recording and say them back to yourself until you are happy that you can mimic the tones and stresses etc. I'm learning Japanese, and I find that mimicing back chunks of voice can help with the accent :D
If it helps, I'd be more than happy to read your extract out for you in my accent (Southern English) and send that to you for practise.
Best of luck,
Hello Ash, thanks a lot for your response and advice. I'm pretty amazed at what you said. You know, a friend of mine told me exactly the same you said when I emailed the sample to him. He said: You sound German. He is from Minnessota. However, the fact that YOU think the same is quite strong because you're way closer to Germany, so I think you know much better what Germans sound like when speaking English. Anyway, I'm a Spanish speaker from Uruguay in South America, which is far from Germany may I add. I'm happy to have overcome most of the common Spanish giveaways, but it seems I achieved that at the cost of losing what is usually seen as a warm and nice latino accent, haha, weird.
I will try out your mimicking tactic as it looks good. I think if it works for you in Japanese, it should work for me as well. I'd be happy to receive a sample with your accent although I'm not sure yours is the accent I should copy because I have much more contact with Americans. Needless to say that I wouldn't mind sounding British at all, which would mean I'd sound native!, but I think it'd be a much harder accent to maintain as we're all flooded with American stuff here with regards to movies, music and the like. At any rate, before making a decision I'd love to hear your sample and see how far I am from your accent. If it happens to be slightly German-like (due to the geographic proximity) I could even have the chance to achieve it and sound native, who knows!
Thanks again. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day.
***try to get someone with a suburban London accent, simply because these are the most plain, unbiased and uncorrupted accents in my opinion***
Ash: Like David Beckham? I read that he comes from Leytonstone.....I think. Forgive me if my London geography is all skewed, but isn't that London suburban...or is he an Essex guy? Are you really, really, really, really sure that Becks should be regarded as a role model for PolCas????
Oh! ....and another wee matter....why did you mock Edinburghspeak? It's pure honeyed tones are admired everywhere (except maybe Glasgow, but do they know about soft cultured vocals!
Stan: Send PolCas to Canada???? Don't be such a wee daftie!!!! :-)
I few weeks ago, I met a couple of Scots here in Peru. They said they came from a small town just a few miles north Edinburgh. Their accent was really cool, it was like music for my ears. Does that "a few miles north Edinburgh" accent sound like Edinburgh??
If that is true... Then Edinburgh speech is one of the best accents I have ever heard, mate. And I would defenitly save some money so I can move to Edinburgh...
Hi....we Scots do get around, don't we? Those guys you met obviously came from Fife and other regions to the north of this city, as Edinburgh is situated right on the south bank of the Firth of Forth (a wide estuary opening up into the North Sea). If so, which seems most likely, their accents would be just a wee bit different from that of the general Edinburgh accent, which is slightly softer than the Fife or further north accent, such as in and around Dundee. I would guess from the "small town just a few miles north" bit you mention that they were from Fife, which is full of small towns (and several bigger places like Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Glenrothes), and as far as I know nobody has said anything negative about the local accent there.
Anyway, it's nice to know you thought of it as music to your ears. If you're familar with actors like Ewan Macgregor or Sean Connery then you'll have a fair idea of the local accent hereabouts.
Aye, come over to Edinburgh and check us out for yourself.....you'd be more than welcome......mine's a Tennents for that wee bit of info. (Only joking) :-)
<<Hi....we Scots do get around, don't we? Those guys you met obviously came from Fife and other regions to the north of this city>>
Yes, that's it!!! Fife, they said. It's just that I didn't remember very well. So that's the place...
hi,i just wanted to knw a few things about english cos i get a little confuse when it comes to pronouncin a worh that start with th.like the,this,that nad the one that end with it e.g path,faith nd so on.how is it achieve?is it achieve by stickin your tongue or the tonge shud just hit the bak of ur upper teeth.pls help me out here.thanx
To do that sound you just have to put your tongue between your teeth. That's why they call it an interdental sound, right?
You put your tongue between your teeth, expel air and you'll get a voiceless sound, like in:
You do the same position, but expel air along with a vibration of your vocal strings, like in:
That's it. bye