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Hello,

I just don't understand why you people are obsessed that much with your accents. For me there is only one thing seems important that is to be understood. I doesn't matter how you sound unless you are a stage performer. If we are foreigners we are supposed to speak with a foreign accent. From personal experience I can say that it makes me feel inconvenient when a foreigner is trying to speak with my accent in my native language; it sounds like a total humiliation. I think even if you are making small mistakes in your pronunciation you will be understood anyway, because we don't speak single words but sentences. So, mistakes in one or two words can rarely affect a clarity of speech. I believe I have a strong accent and I am proud of it. Giving up the idea of sounding perfect did improve my communication abilities in English.
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Hi,
SillyMeI just don't understand why you people are obsessed that much with your accents.
Who is obsessed? Most learners are not obsessed. Actually, they usually don't care much about pronunciation and neglect spolen English.
I am "obsessed" because I like English. I like accents. Why shouldn't I care about spoken English? Why shouldn't I notice the way people speak?
SillyMeFor me there is only one thing seems important that is to be understood.
Yes, if you're only interested in communicating a concept, a fact or something. Those who really like English like it as a whole, pronunciation included. You mention "to be understood", what about "to understand"? Learning about pronunciation has really helped me understand natives better. That's the main reason why I started to focus a little more on pronunciation. It's not a question of being afraid of having a foreign accent, it's obvious that we all have one.
SillyMeHello,

I just don't understand why you people are obsessed that much with your accents. For me there is only one thing seems important that is to be understood. I doesn't matter how you sound unless you are a stage performer. If we are foreigners we are supposed to speak with a foreign accent. From personal experience I can say that it makes me feel inconvenient when a foreigner is trying to speak with my accent in my native language; it sounds like a total humiliation. I think even if you are making small mistakes in your pronunciation you will be understood anyway, because we don't speak single words but sentences. So, mistakes in one or two words can rarely affect a clarity of speech. I believe I have a strong accent and I am proud of it. Giving up the idea of sounding perfect did improve my communication abilities in English.
Tell my English boss!!! Emotion: smile

In honour to the truth, the nearest you are to the Queen English, the clearer the communication it is. That is a fact. Maybe you are proud of your accent but not me. Speaking English with a strong accent (for me) is like writing English with poor grammar, everybody understands you but I wish to improve it. Emotion: wink
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KooyeenHi,
SillyMeI just don't understand why you people are obsessed that much with your accents.
Who is obsessed? Most learners are not obsessed. Actually, they usually don't care much about pronunciation and neglect spolen English.
I am "obsessed" because I like English. I like accents. Why shouldn't I care about spoken English? Why shouldn't I notice the way people speak?
SillyMeFor me there is only one thing seems important that is to be understood.
Yes, if you're only interested in communicating a concept, a fact or something. Those who really like English like it as a whole, pronunciation included. You mention "to be understood", what about "to understand"? Learning about pronunciation has really helped me understand natives better. That's the main reason why I started to focus a little more on pronunciation. It's not a question of being afraid of having a foreign accent, it's obvious that we all have one.
Hi,
If studying accents is your hobby I can understand that. Everyone has hobbies.
Mostly I meant people who posted messages like "I want a Scottish accent". Don't they understand that it is nearly impossible for an adult to learn to speak with the perfect accent? It might be possible for a child, but not for an adult. Another category is people with a good pronunciation who want to soften their accent in order to pass as a native. What is that for? Only for the sake of language or for something else...? Of course, I agree that if your sound "v" sounds like "b" you should work on your pronunciation. But if my "r" is a bit different from what natives usually use, why should I care then? I will be understood by a vast majority of people anyway.
I have never spoken to a native, may be they allways point out your pronunciation mistakes and make you feel inconvenient... I don't know. Why should I care how they speak if all my surrounding uses different patterns of speech? Now people from all over the world speak English and it doesn't mean that I have to learn a Polish or Spanish accent to understand them better. Of course it will help, but why should I do that?
Anonymous
SillyMeHello,

I just don't understand why you people are obsessed that much with your accents. For me there is only one thing seems important that is to be understood. I doesn't matter how you sound unless you are a stage performer. If we are foreigners we are supposed to speak with a foreign accent. From personal experience I can say that it makes me feel inconvenient when a foreigner is trying to speak with my accent in my native language; it sounds like a total humiliation. I think even if you are making small mistakes in your pronunciation you will be understood anyway, because we don't speak single words but sentences. So, mistakes in one or two words can rarely affect a clarity of speech. I believe I have a strong accent and I am proud of it. Giving up the idea of sounding perfect did improve my communication abilities in English.
Tell my English boss!!! Emotion: smile

In honour to the truth, the nearest you are to the Queen English, the clearer the communication it is. That is a fact. Maybe you are proud of your accent but not me. Speaking English with a strong accent (for me) is like writing English with poor grammar, everybody understands you but I wish to improve it. Emotion: wink
There is no excuse to speak or wright with poor grammar (A few mistakes are usually not regarded as poor grammar since everyone understands that you are not a native. Of course if it is an official paper then it is a different story... you have to have a language check done.)
But I think your boss isn't right. It is extremely difficult to learn the Queen's English pronunciation if you are an adult. But I think everyone or ,well..., almost everyone can learn grammar. So, these things cannot be compared. Or may be he made a mistake to hire you if this position had required native English skills. It isn't your fault anyway.
Believe it or not, accents play an important role in the social environment. In the Spanish speaking world, colombian people may have a hard time understanding us costaricans because of the way most of us pronounce the "r" and because of the accent itself. To us, some colombian accents are just terrible, while others are pleasant to the ear. And that's just an example; add Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuadro, Chile, Argentina, España, Cuba, etc. Believe it or not, we can't understand each other that easily... and we all speak Spanish!

When I decided to learn the "standard" american accent (let's say an accent from a region that would make americans think I have no accent), I noticed how important it is. The better I am at "not having an accent", the easier a conversation with an american is. They feel they don't have to focus a lot in order to understand what I am saying... and I feel the same way when I speak with a foreigner in my native tongue. Why? Well, because you just "go with the flow", perhaps? Trying to learn an accent is not (and should not be) a humilating task. In fact, it's a real challenge.

Now, pronunciation is included in the accent package, and it's very important that we learn to pronounce words the right way. Just to give you an example, when I was working in a call center, once a coworker (a native american) and I listened to another coworker tell the customer, "Sir, you need to fu.ck us." The american turned to me and said, "Did you just hear what I think I heard?" And I was like, yes! So we told our friend to put the customer on hold, and then we explained to him what he just did; then we told him how to properly pronounce the word "focus." He meant, "Sir, you need to focus." Big difference, isn't it.

Maybe a bit of an accent won't hurt anybody; but when americans say, "You have an accent" what they usually mean is, "You don't speak like me and I'm having a hard time understanding." What's worse is having to ask people to repeat what they just said, cause the accent is like noise that doesn't let you get the words. This is not always the case, but accents definitely play a role in the communication process.

So if you wish, work on improving your English accent (be it american or british); just don't become obsessed by it.

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CvillaBelieve it or not, accents play an important role in the social environment. In the Spanish speaking world, colombian people may have a hard time understanding us costaricans because of the way most of us pronounce the "r" and because of the accent itself. To us, some colombian accents are just terrible, while others are pleasant to the ear. And that's just an example; add Peru, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuadro, Chile, Argentina, España, Cuba, etc. Believe it or not, we can't understand each other that easily... and we all speak Spanish!

When I decided to learn the "standard" american accent (let's say an accent from a region that would make americans think I have no accent), I noticed how important it is. The better I am at "not having an accent", the easier a conversation with an american is. They feel they don't have to focus a lot in order to understand what I am saying... and I feel the same way when I speak with a foreigner in my native tongue. Why? Well, because you just "go with the flow", perhaps? Trying to learn an accent is not (and should not be) a humilating task. In fact, it's a real challenge.

Now, pronunciation is included in the accent package, and it's very important that we learn to pronounce words the right way. Just to give you an example, when I was working in a call center, once a coworker (a native american) and I listened to another coworker tell the customer, "Sir, you need to fu.ck us." The american turned to me and said, "Did you just hear what I think I heard?" And I was like, yes! So we told our friend to put the customer on hold, and then we explained to him what he just did; then we told him how to properly pronounce the word "focus." He meant, "Sir, you need to focus." Big difference, isn't it.

Maybe a bit of an accent won't hurt anybody; but when americans say, "You have an accent" what they usually mean is, "You don't speak like me and I'm having a hard time understanding." What's worse is having to ask people to repeat what they just said, cause the accent is like noise that doesn't let you get the words. This is not always the case, but accents definitely play a role in the communication process.

So if you wish, work on improving your English accent (be it american or british); just don't become obsessed by it.

I don't know much about Spanish. You know it better. May be proper pronunciation is important sometimes, but I think it depends on the place where you are living. There are no native speakers in my surrounding and everyone makes his/her own mistakes in speech. Moreover everyone tolerates them and nobody will point out mistakes made by others. Also a lot of my friends complain that they have a hard time understanding native speakers (they speak fast without a half of the letters in their words, another half sometimes is usually changed to totally different sounds. That is what an accent is about.). Why should I make their time even harder by speaking with a particular accent? Nothing can sound more terrible than a foreigner trying to speak with a stupid "native" accent. I think it is rude to say to someone that he/she has an accent especially by a native. It is much more polite to say "sorry" sometimes when you don't understand something.
SillyMeI don't know much about Spanish. You know it better. May be proper pronunciation is important sometimes, but I think it depends on the place where you are living. There are no native speakers in my surrounding and everyone makes his/her own mistakes in speech. Moreover everyone tolerates them and nobody will point out mistakes made by others. Also a lot of my friends complain that they have a hard time understanding native speakers (they speak fast without a half of the letters in their words, another half sometimes is usually changed to totally different sounds. That is what an accent is about.). Why should I make their time even harder by speaking with a particular accent? Nothing can sound more terrible than a foreigner trying to speak with a stupid "native" accent. I think it is rude to say to someone that he/she has an accent especially by a native. It is much more polite to say "sorry" sometimes when you don't understand something.
That's exactly why it's good (or important) to improve your target language's accent, because your friends complain that they have a hard time understanding native speakers. Were your friends familiar with the accent of the native speakers, they wouldn't have a hard time understanding. That's my own experience: I had trouble understanding native English speakers before... now that I learned a "standard" american accent I no longer have that issue. Native speakers shouldn't slow down and pronounce every single sound the way you think should be done for you or your friends to understand... that would be totally out of the question.

And sorry, but I don't agree with you: a foreigner who has learned to speak with a "native" accent (for the target language, of course) does not sound terrible. Perhaps the problem is that you're having a hard time learning an accent? And that's why you consider that learning an accent is stupid?

And americans will usually come up with "you have an accent" when you have already repeated the same sentence like five times and they still have a hard time figuring out what you're trying to say... because of the accent. That's frustrating! And I've seen it.

And I don't know how an american can have a harder time understanding you if you learn their particular accent. Could you please elaborate?
Cvilla
SillyMeI don't know much about Spanish. You know it better. May be proper pronunciation is important sometimes, but I think it depends on the place where you are living. There are no native speakers in my surrounding and everyone makes his/her own mistakes in speech. Moreover everyone tolerates them and nobody will point out mistakes made by others. Also a lot of my friends complain that they have a hard time understanding native speakers (they speak fast without a half of the letters in their words, another half sometimes is usually changed to totally different sounds. That is what an accent is about.). Why should I make their time even harder by speaking with a particular accent? Nothing can sound more terrible than a foreigner trying to speak with a stupid "native" accent. I think it is rude to say to someone that he/she has an accent especially by a native. It is much more polite to say "sorry" sometimes when you don't understand something.
That's exactly why it's good (or important) to improve your target language's accent, because your friends complain that they have a hard time understanding native speakers. Were your friends familiar with the accent of the native speakers, they wouldn't have a hard time understanding. That's my own experience: I had trouble understanding native English speakers before... now that I learned a "standard" american accent I no longer have that issue. Native speakers shouldn't slow down and pronounce every single sound the way you think should be done for you or your friends to understand... that would be totally out of the question.

And sorry, but I don't agree with you: a foreigner who has learned to speak with a "native" accent (for the target language, of course) does not sound terrible. Perhaps the problem is that you're having a hard time learning an accent? And that's why you consider that learning an accent is stupid?

And americans will usually come up with "you have an accent" when you have already repeated the same sentence like five times and they still have a hard time figuring out what you're trying to say... because of the accent. That's frustrating! And I've seen it.

And I don't know how an american can have a harder time understanding you if you learn their particular accent. Could you please elaborate?

There is no need to improve an accent. Sometimes some work on pronunciation is required, but no more than that. Everyone should just make sure that he could be understood and that is enough. I've seen a lot of people who thought they were fluent in the language enough to imitate a native pronunciation. Needless to say everyone had hard time understanding them. What is that for?
Perhaps you have never met a foreigner who thought that he could speak with an Irish accent. You even cannot imagine the sequence of sounds generated by this person.
I don't know how but you misunderstood me. I was talking about my friends who would have hard time understanding me if I started speaking with a stupid accent.
To conclude I want to say that accents are evil, because they imply various patterns of speech. Why should one learn for instance American accent? To be understood better by Americans, but it means that all other people will have hard time understanding this person. It seems senseless to me. Proper pronunciation is important but only to a sensible degree of course. Overdoing is just as bad as underdoing. Just make sure that you can be understood and be happy with that.
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