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As the poster mentioned here, Britain has many different English accents.

So, I am assuming that in other languages too, there are different accents. I am assuming there is no such thing as a "German accent", and that people in different parts of Germany speak German in different accents. Same for French - I am assuming people in France and Belgium speak French in different accents. Dutch - must be the same, right? I mean, a Dutch person in Amsterdam surely has a different accent to a Belgian Dutch, yes?

Now I think I can be forgiven for not being able to recognise the different accents in languages such as German, French and Dutch, but here's the thing - when it comes to English, all Americans sound the same to me! And not just Americans, but Canadians and Americans sound the same to me too! I have a very good friend who is Canadian, and she doesn't "like" Americans - too arrogant, full of themselves etc , but the thing is, she sounds totally American to me - I've just never told her this!

Anyway, is there a particular accent that you like? I LOVE the Eastern European accent - especially when spoken by a woman, I find it so seductive. There's been a huge influx of Polish and other Eastern Europeans into London in the past few decades, and I just love sitting there listening to Polish women talking, and I was drooling over Naomi Watts's Russian hooker accent in St Vincent!

 
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When explaining Jung, Jacobi speaks of differentiation and adaptation. The way i understood it (and she does not say this) is differentiation is when you identify a difference and adaptation is when you adapt to it. So, say someone from the East visits Europe, they will instantly recognize that Westerners are different than Easterners. However, there will be little difference noticed between the different countries, and will see everyone as pretty much looking the same and sounding the same.

As she spends more time in the West, she'll adapt and see that countries are indeed different, and that Americans are perceptibly different than Europeans. If she then came to America, she might notice that Canadians and US natives speak differently, and then parts of the country, and then even parts of each province or state. All it takes is time and a willingness to adapt. First notice that people are different and see them as a group, and then with time and acceptance, adapt to the intricate differences.

There are many differences in accent. Sometimes i think even different families have different accents, but the accent is so small it is usually not perceived. It comes down to how much you care and how large the difference is. Though, there is a level, it seems, where most people are in agreement is an easily noticed difference (to natives).
 
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In the Netherlands alone, we have 4 languages (Dutch, Frisian, Low Saxon and Limburgish), of which Dutch and Frisian are official languages. Each of these has many dialects, and then of course within most of these dialects, people from different places speak with different accents.

When it comes to languages, I've always been a fan of German, and since a few years ago I've really been enjoying Italian. As for accents, I love that of Flemish and South African English.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I am assuming there is no such thing as a "German accent", and that people in different parts of Germany speak German in different accents.


No, but there's very much a "standard English" (or "Queen's English" as used to be), and in German, it's Hochdeutsch (or "high" German) - and THAT is what you learn when you learn German as a foreign language.

And in the Ruhr, or Wesphalia, where it's spoken by rote, I never had any problem; but trying to understand one of our oldest family friends (and my surrogate grandmother), who came from Swabia, was like trying to decipher Swahili.

Same for French - I am assuming people in France and Belgium speak French in different accents.


Actually, I found Belgian French extremely easy - other than 'septante' and 'nonante' - although I'm sure people made allowances for a poor old foreigner like me.

Quebecois, on the other hand, is like a different language. And Parisien is incredibly annoying because it sounds like French, but contains all sorts of slang words that you've never heard before.

but here's the thing - when it comes to English, all Americans sound the same to me! And not just Americans, but Canadians and Americans sound the same to me too! I have a very good friend who is Canadian, and she doesn't "like" Americans - too arrogant, full of themselves etc , but the thing is, she sounds totally American to me - I've just never told her this!


What? You've never heard of "Ewt and Abewt"? Or, "Canajun, Eh?" You particularly notice it in eastern Canada; not so much in Vancouver or Alberta.

Anyway, here's a difference guide for you.

Is there a particular accent that you like?


What, you mean a foreign accent in English? I think I'd have to say German. It depends on who's speaking it of course . I also like the Jamaican accent.

As a language? Either French or Russian; although Iranian is quite nice on the ears as well.

Winston
 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:. . . And in the Ruhr, or Wesphalia, where it's spoken by rote . . .

Not in the parts of the Ruhr I know. I do remember going to Rees a few years ago and being very disappointed at being addressed in Hochdeutsch rather than Rheinländerplatt.

Actually, I found Belgian French extremely easy - other than 'septante' and 'nonante' . . .

Are you suggesting there is anything easy about quatre vingts?
 
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And then there's the Irish accents.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Not in the parts of the Ruhr I know. I do remember going to Rees a few years ago and being very disappointed at being addressed in Hochdeutsch rather than Rheinländerplatt.


Never heard of Rees, but I assumed it had to be on the lower Rhein, because where I was, in Oelde (near Gütersloh), the chaps in the programming department were very disparaging about Plattdeutsch - less so the Turks and Yugoslavs who worked on the shop floor. And when I went back, thirty years later, I still didn't have any trouble understanding the locals.

Winston
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Rees is about midway between Emmerich and Wesel. Yes, on the lower Rhine.
 
Author and ninkuma
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:but Canadians and Americans sound the same to me too!

If you heard a native Texan try to speak to a native Bostonian, you might think differently.

But on the whole, especially for its size, the US probably has a more homogenous "accent" than a lot of the rest of the world.

 
Ahmed Bin S
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Bear Bibeault wrote:

Ahmed Bin S wrote:but Canadians and Americans sound the same to me too!

If you heard a native Texan try to speak to a native Bostonian, you might think differently.



For sure - if I heard them both say the same sentence immediately after one another, I would indeed be able to tell they are speaking differently. However, if I heard the Texan speak one week, and then the next week I heard the Bostonian speak, I don't think I would be able to tell the difference. I did one time think I had figured out the Southern US accent, until someone told me that someone from Georgia sounds totally different to someone from Texas!
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I did one time think I had figured out the Southern US accent, until someone told me that someone from Georgia sounds totally different to someone from Texas!


I find that amazing. The Texas accent has at least 17 extra 'R's in it - as opposed to "standard American" which only has about 7 - but Georgia, along with much of the deep South, has very few (including the word 'Georgia' itself which doesn't have an 'r' at all).

Indeed, it's fairly well known in Hollywood that Brits can do a 'Suthen' accent - or perhaps nineteeth century "white suthen" - quite well ... it's the other ones we have trouble with.

Mind you, Texas is biiig place, so maybe I'm generalizing, but my first American date was from "Tahlrrr" (Tyler), and she definitely had a sh*tkicker accent. Lovely girl though.

Winston
 
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I once had a conversation on a ski lift with a Texan, who was telling me something or other about his waff (rhymes with my "laugh"). His waff said this, his waff did that. Took me longer than it probably should've to figure out he was talking about his WIFE.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Americans don't say R; if you want to hear Rs you have to go to Scotland
 
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American accents all sound the same? Perhaps only because you haven't been here long enough. People like to think that there are southern, midwestern, and northern accents but it's more complicated than that. The Carolinas have a different accent than Mississippi or Alabama. The are a number of different accents in New York City alone. Brooklyn sounds kind of like Boston, but they are different. Maine and New Hampshire are different from Massachusetts. West Texas is different from east Texas, which is more southern. The northern midwest (the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) is different from Kansas and Nebraska.

The generic "midwestern" accent popular among newscasters and actors seems to be what most outside the USA associate with the American and Canadian accents, but the Canadian accent is a bit different.

Finally, there's the "mid-Atlantic" or "transatlantic" accent that is frequently heard in movies from the 30s. More here:


Mike (in Dallas - who grew up in Oklahoma and swears that *he* doesn't have an accent)
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Americans don't say R; if you want to hear Rs you have to go to Scotland



What??? Are you saying American English isn't rhotic? I agree that there are a few American dialects that aren't - the stereotypical Boston accent for example - but the "standard" Midwestern dialect certainly is.

...or are you referring to some other R, such as the rolling R?
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Yes, if you want a proper rolled R you have to go to Scotland (or Rrrrrrrussia).
 
Ryan McGuire
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I have a question for my non-American English speakers or English-as-a-second-language folks.

How easy is it for you to decipher "dialects" that are almost intentionally hard to understand? For instance, can you understand Snoop Dogg's songs?

What about learning American, British or some other "standard" version of English and then trying to communicate with a non-native speaker. For instance, an Italian, who learned British English (for the sake of discussion), and are trying to communicate with someone from China who learned English in Hawaii. Easy? Difficult? Impossible?
 
Brian Tkatch
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Ryan McGuire wrote:I have a question for my non-American English speakers or English-as-a-second-language folks.

How easy is it for you to decipher "dialects" that are almost intentionally hard to understand? For instance, can you understand Snoop Dogg's songs?

What about learning American, British or some other "standard" version of English and then trying to communicate with a non-native speaker. For instance, an Italian, who learned British English (for the sake of discussion), and are trying to communicate with someone from China who learned English in Hawaii. Easy? Difficult? Impossible?


Oh, how i wish i had something witty to say.
 
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Ryan McGuire wrote:
How easy is it for you to decipher "dialects" that are almost intentionally hard to understand? For instance, can you understand Snoop Dogg's songs?


In order to understand Snoop Dogg, you have to be doing the same drugs he was doing when he wrote the song.

Ok, I'm being a smart-ass. I'm actually interested in this question, as there are some American dialects that other Americans can't even understand. Have you ever heard a real Cajun speak? It's incomprehensible to anyone outside of Louisiana.
 
Ryan McGuire
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:Have you ever heard a real Cajun speak? It's incomprehensible to anyone outside of Louisiana.



I find it humorous when the TV producers feel a need to closed caption some of the people on the Swamp People show.

 
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There are a lot of accents in the us just not on TV. They all talk the same.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:

So, I am assuming that in other languages too, there are different accents. I am assuming there is no such thing as a "German accent", and that people in different parts of Germany speak German in different accents. Same for French - I am assuming people in France and Belgium speak French in different accents. Dutch - must be the same, right? I mean, a Dutch person in Amsterdam surely has a different accent to a Belgian Dutch, yes?


It is easy there is a learning curve, when you work in a multinational environment you recognize them from the first word. 8 years ago I could not distinguish a Chinese that speak English from a native English speaker, then you meet people and you understand even unconsciously that your Irish friend Ian as exactly the same accent of a new acquaintance, so you immediately understand that person could be Irish. And the same is for every dialect. The problem is that usually people learn English from Brit courses and then they see American tv series. It would be cool an English course made by this guy that took 25 mil views


 
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