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Hi,
there's something I've always liked to know, I'm too curious! When you watch TV or a movie in your own country, what kinds of accents do you hear? This is a very general question, but it involves this important point:
  • Are movies or programs dubbed? (i.e., British E. --> American E. and vice versa) I don't think so, but if they are not dubbed, that means you sometimes watch movies or programs in another accent. Well, so how much "different English" is there on TV and in movies in your country? And, most importantly, what's the effect of that? Does it bother you a little? Do you always understand? Do you find it perfectly ok, or does it sound strange and you have to strain you ears?
This question came to my mind thinking about an extremely famous cartoon, The Simpsons. Well, if it's not dubbed into British English, that means that in the UK people watch that series in American English. I don't know how much other American stuff there could be in the UK, or British stuff in the US.

Thank you.
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No, I've never heard of a movie being dubbed into another dialect. That would seem rather ludicrous to me. (Ok, so I've always wanted to use the word ludicrous.) You have to remember that North Americans usually understand most dialects of British English just fine. RP and General American (defined here as any North American dialect that has no stigmatized features) are more similar to each other than some North American dialects are to each other. The differences are very slight--the most noticed difference is usually the presence or absence of final r's. North American actors less than a century ago used to put on an RP or "Trans-Atlantic" style accent. RP tends to sound educated and well enunciated to North Americans. All British people can understand General American just fine as well. General American is easier for them to understand than some of their own regional accents. I've noticed that many foreigners learning English think that there is a huge difference between RP and General American (the 2 accents that are taught to foreigners), when in reality there is very little difference. In fact, a speaker of North American English can often sound just like a speaker of British English to other North Americans simply by not saying their final r's, and pronouncing words like "can't" as kahnt. (Simply doing this would of course never fool a Brit though.)
In the U.S. there are a lot of British offerings on PBS (the Public Broadcasting System). They are never dubbed. That would be completely unnecessary. They are not at all bothersome or difficult to understand. I agree with Marvin A.'s observation:
RP [British] and General American ... are more similar to each other than some North American dialects are to each other.
I can understand most British accents better than some of the more exotic American accents (e.g., very 'thick' accents from Brooklyn or Louisiana).

CJ
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Hi Marvin A,

You wrote:
No, I've never heard of a movie being dubbed into another dialect.
I think some children's cartoon films are dubbed, though.

Englishuser
>> I think some children's cartoon films are dubbed, though. <<

Really? I've never heard of that. Which ones? So, you guys on the other side of the puddle really can't understand us then?
This is interesting. Anyway, we haven't get an opinion from a British English speaker yet. But if I get it right, when Americans watch British movies, they watch them in British English (that is, they watch the original movies, as thet were made). And British people watch American movies in American English (the original movies, again).

The purpose of this thread is to understand how people see the "opposite" accent (opposite means British for an American, and vice versa). If what I wrote above is true, then American English should sound very natural to British people, since they hear it in a great number of movies, in the Simpsons, and in a extremely huge number of songs (all genres). As for Americans, well, I don't know. I guess there's less British English in the US than American English in the UK, nevertheless it seems that British English sounds natural too...

So, the famous sentence "England and America are two countries separated by the same language" is just nonsense, isn't it? If that sentence were true, we could sometimes hear conversations like these:
  • (In the US) - What about watching a good movie? How about <insert movie here> ? ----- That movie? But... but they talk in British English in that movie, let's choose another one...
  • (In the UK) - Tom!!! What are you doing in your room? ------ I'm watching TV, the Simpsons... ------ Oh my, again that American stuff...
I hope you like my examples Emotion: stick out tongue ---- If you have any comments, just post 'em, thanks.
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RP, or what is know to foreigners as "British English", sounds just fine to North Americans. Whereas we can have problems understanding some of the regional accents in Great Britain, we have no trouble understanding RP. In fact, the only noticeable* differences is that they leave out their r's at the end of words and pronounce /æ/ as [ A ] sometimes. That's *all we notice usually. It seems that foreigners seem to think it's like they're two different languages or something. If you want to know what "British English" sounds like to us North Americans, just speak in your native language, but leave out the r's that end syllables, and occasionally pronounce /a/ as [ E ]. That really is all we notice about the different accent. We have a devil of a time trying to fake each others accents convincingly, to fool people from the other side of the pond, but a North American can put on a British accent that would fool anyone else from North America by not saying their final r's, and dropping their upper lip over their upper teeth. British people by contrast mostly notice that we overpronounce our r's, and use the [ æ ] sound too much.
Your examples are not realistic. Remember, American actors a few decades ago used to put on a RP-sounding accent.
Hi Kooyeen,
then American English should sound very natural to British people
Yes, it does. British people can understand mainstream American English very well.
I guess there's less British English in the US than American English in the UK, nevertheless it seems that British English sounds natural too...
Much less. Your average American isn't really exposed to British English in his or her everyday life. Many British accents are difficult for most Americans to understand, with the exception of RP and some other 'less pronounced' British accents.
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