How much do accents matter in speaking English?
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English is used so widely now accents are almost totally expected, and even considered an asset in certain industries!! (take the French and fashion/film/design/style) etc.

Pronunciation is sometimes an issue, but that’s easily overcome; best idea would be to watch British tv and films (if you can take the dry humour). It’s a simple way to improve your pronunciation and also watch weird documentaries.
Emotion: smile

Here's a quote from Chris, which talks about the problems ENGLISH people have understanding other ENGLISH accents!

On the same note, I believe that the English spoken in Malta is far more understandable than most British regional dialects. I've lived in Geordie England (Newcastle) and living there is like living on another planet when it comes to understanding what people are saying.

Similarly, East End cockney, Birmingham Brummy, Scouse Liverpool, Mancunian English and most regional English dialects are extremely difficult for non British English speakers to grasp.
To add on to what Hitchhiiker was saying, there is no such thing as a perfect accent. However there is what is known as RP (Received pronunciationn) which is spoken by (I'm guessing here) about 0.001 of the British population. Funnily enough, the person who comes closest to speaking RP here is probably Hitchhiker himself!

As long as an accent is understandable, long live it! Wouldn't it be boring if we all spoke the same way!
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La de da oooo ar, aren't i powsh. Cup of tea ey what?Emotion: smile

It's definitely not a problem at all, i love the accents! I can't spell for instance, that's a problem!

Bad example, but funnily enough my dad couldn't understand my mum when they first met. She's Scottish. Much like the Irish character Brad Pitt played in “Snatch”; you only get a hint of what is being said!

That's a problem due to a completely different language being spoken, way too quickly, with "fun" pronunciation; so it's not really an accent!
that's good to hear. i am always a little shy but i will watch tv and improve!
la de da ol' chum isn't what I was referring to - that's more queens English which gets right up most common folk's noses.

You'll probably notice most BBC radio DJ's speaking RP - very easy to listen to and impossible to tell where they come from. A couple of weeks ago I was channel hopping and stopped on BBC prime where I heard the most wonderful British RP being spoken by a British-Asian girl. Another person I recommend learners of English to listen to is floppy haired Hugh Grant - another clear, concise English speaker. (mind you in some of his films he tries unsuccessfully to put on an American accent - not worth watching!)
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But it was a great excuse to ask for tea, that's why we run these forums after all.

Yep, i noticed that there's a general new accent for native English speakers, a sort of "non-descript" version as you describe. Non-regional, non-specific, relatively well pronounced with modern intonations but keeping to the general format as much as is possible. I actually worked hard on that when I was doing radio (it seemed the most obvious middle-ground)
Leave Hugh Grant alone! he is one of my favourites.
I'm complimenting his wonderful accent! Oh you mean about Mr Floppy - us men are just jealous of his locks!
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