My Accents--Various Language Samples

Guest 224   Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:28 am GMT
Here are my speech samples of English, Vietnamese, Spanish, and German. Which language is my first language? Which is my mothertongue? Which have I learned the least? Which have I learned the most?

What are certain things in my speech that I can improve on? What is weird? What sounds non-native?

Any kind of input whatsoever is appreciated :)


They're all really random things to read, but these were the easiest things I could find at my disposal.


In the spring the weather becomes really beautiful. The month of march is often stormy to be sure, just as this evening; but in April a warm rain falls. In May the meadows and fields become green. In June the sky is blue and the sun shines bright and clear. As the American poet Lowell wrote: And what is so rare as a day in June?


Cuộc tình vừa qua cầm theo lời hứa phôi pha .
Tình yêu đã có lúc của đôi ta
Cớ sao giờ đây chỉ có một người
Ở chân trời xa có bóng một ai kiạ

Rồi cuộc tình mồ côi
Đành nghe long xót xa thôi
Một ai đó đã lỡ buồn lòng tôi
Trách chi người ta đã bỏ thật rồi
Trách chi một người đã ở nơi rất xa


Der Winter is wohl kalt, besonders in den Bergen. In Oesterreich gibt es im Winter auch viel Schnee in den Bergen. Viele Touristen kommen deshalb zum Skifahren nach Oesterreich.


Helen comienza a hacer sus figures con un pedazo plano y grande de barro que los atensanos llman placa. Luego con los dedos empieza a darle la forma deseada. Hoy, como de costumbre, Helen esta’ haciendo la figura de un narrador de cuentos. Por lo general, ella moldea estas figures para que se parezcan a su abuelo, uno de los narradoes de cuentos mas’ queridos en la aldea de Nuevo Me’xico en donde ella se crio’.
Guest   Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:50 am GMT
I don't know about the other ones, but your English sounds native to me.
Gabriel   Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:52 am GMT
I cannot comment on your German and Vietnamese. Though your pronunciation of Spanish is very good, I can tell you're not a native speaker. Your English is native-like, so I guess it could be your first language.
Another guest   Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:45 pm GMT
My guess:

- Vietnamese: Your mother tongue / first language.
- English: The language you learned the most (probably you moved to an English speaking country - US / Canada - and became fluent in it).
- Spanish: Very good, but still sounds a little foreign.
- German: Good too, but I guess this is the language you learned the least.
Babel   Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:27 pm GMT
You are from Vietnam. You moved to USA and you studied English. Your third language was Spanish, because in the State where you are there is a sizable Hispanic minority. German is your last language.
Guest 224   Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:24 pm GMT
Thanks everyone for your input thus far :)

I just read over my post and clicked on the links. I realized that my Vietnamese clip sounds VERY boring! It was the last clip that I recorded, so by then, I was really tired and just wanted to get it over with. I usually don't sound so droning O=)

As for my Spanish clip, I'm sorry that I read so fast! I didn't even realize that I read that fast until I clicked on the link. And I'm sorry for all the typoes in the transcription. I re-typed that part of the story really quickly and I forgot to go back and check for mistakes.

My German clip was very short! I should have looked for a longer passage to read.

My English clip...I received a text message in the middle of my recording, but I was too lazy to make a new recording.
superdavid   Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:34 am GMT
Hey, original uploader(Guest 224)!
So what are you?
Are you a Vietnamese American?

You didn't answer for the questions above!
Guest 224   Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:23 am GMT
Yes, I am Vietnamese-American. My first language was Vietnamese, but I grew up in America. As I became more and more fluent in English, I lost my Vietnamese, so that's why my Vietnamese sounds non-native.

I've been learning Spanish for four years (of high school)...and I've taken one semester of German.

I'd still like some input from people, though. Any remarks you can make about my accents are well-appreciated.
Gator   Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:42 pm GMT
Your German isn't too bad. Just a few remarks here:
Your intonation is quite acceptable. You should pause after the comma, though. Otherwise the sentence is hard to understand.
The word 'Österreich' isn't pronounced with a /St/ but a /st/. A written 'st' is only pronounced as a /St/ in words starting with it (however, prefixes do not change the pronunciation of the 'st').
The word 'Ski' is pronounced /Si:/; what you say sounds more like 'Spiel'.
As I said, it sounds quite all right to me, even impressive considering the short time you've been learning it.
Enjoy your studies!
Guest 224   Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:43 pm GMT

Your input was VERY valuable! Thank you! I'll keep in mind the comment about Oesterreich. And with the word "Ski" I really had no idea how to pronounce it because I've never been faced with the SK combination before.
Gator   Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:25 pm GMT
Guest 224,
the word 'Ski' is an exception as it is taken from Norwegian (I had to look it up). There is even an alternative spelling ('Schi') reflecting the way it is spoken. All other instances of 'sk' are just pronounced as /sk/; e.g. 'Skandal', 'Skizze', 'Skorpion' similar to the /sk/ in 'scandal', 'sketch', 'scorpion'.
I hope that didn't confuse you.
Gabriel   Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:41 am GMT
I've been listening again to your Spanish sample, and there are portions in it in which I think you could pass for a native speaker with a mixed influence of accents. However, some of the things that give you away as a non-native are:
The ending point of the diphthong in HOY should be almost cardinal [i] and not the [I]-type vowel you have in it.
Your [r] in BARRO is good, but then in NARRADOR it becomes much weaker, almost [4] (as if it were "narador").
Interestingly, your pronunciation of MOLDEA seems to be [mo"Dea] instead of [mol"Dea].
The entire passage seems to be over-enunciated, but this could also happen to a native speaker when making a recording.

Overall, I'm impressed by the native-like alternation of [d] and [D] in words like DEDOS, and your spot-on [M\] in words like FIGURA.
Guest 224   Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:10 am GMT
Thanks Gabriel for your compliments and also your suggestions!
Native Korean   Wed Aug 01, 2007 5:03 am GMT
I don't know a thing about either Vietnamese or Cantonese,
but Vietnamese sounds similar to Cantonese to me. lol
Guest 224   Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:39 am GMT
I don't think that Vietnamese and Cantonese are related...something about Vietnamese being Astro-Asiatic/Mon-Khmer and Cantonese being Sino-Tibetan.

But the tones of Vietnamese and Cantonese are both very similar. Cantonese has something like 9 tones and Vietnamese has something like 5, but they are similar.

I've dabbled a bit in Cantonese and I find that it is very easy because our tones are similar. However, it was VERY difficult for me to learn Mandarin because even though there are less tones, the tones are different, so it was harder to memorize.