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Weird problem. I'd just like to hear as many opinions as possible.

I have learned a lot of stuff about pronunciation, and I like to learn as much as possible, to keep improving my English. However, I have never seriously practiced spoken English, that is, I might know the single sounds and features, I might be able to pronounce single words or sentences, but when it comes to talk naturally and fluently I really get stuck, just because of lack of practice.
I would like to start practicing, somehow, and since I have always focused on American English, I should just find an American to talk with, right? Nope. Because I realized that focusing on American English only might not be the best thing. I realized I need to know some British English too. I realized this when I tried to watch "The Office", UK version, and I could only understand 10% of what they said. Then I thought, "this is not possible", so I went to check "The Office" US version, and I could understand 90% of what they said. The truth is I was not used to British accents at all, and so I could not even figure out what they were saying.
Now, if you consider that in movies, TV series, on the radio, etc., you will hear different varieties, and also consider the fact that I am much more likely to visit the UK than the US at first, and also consider I don't plan to move to any definite area (if I ever moved, I could end up anywhere), then... I think the best thing to do would be to be able to speak in two dialects: an American accent, and a British accent.

Now, the question: is this possible at all? Is it really convenient?
The thing is, I am afraid it is too difficult to keep them separate, and I will end up using a weird mix. Also, if I really start to listen to different varieties regularly, I am sure I will end up using a mixed variety anyway. It doesn't take much British English for me to start losing my R's, for example. I also think it would be difficult for two different accents to coexist, especially because the British accent I would like to pick up would be a kind of London accent (not too strong though). There are a lot of vowel shifts to consider, so it becomes difficult to switch. Bay Bay Say (BBC), pay-pul (people), noiss to may choo (nice to meet you)... Geeez!

So what do you think? One accent seems limiting, but more than one is very likely to lead to an odd mix. An odd mix might not be too bad
for a non-native speaker, but it just depends how odd it turns out to be.
Thanks in advance for all your comments.
Comments  
The best choice is to study received pronounciation because you'll be understood wherever you go. In fact, BBC english is very posh and just lovely, yet they're catchy.

Several weeks ago, I was wondering what my english was like. I didn't do so much practice on spoken english, so I decided to meet some contacts on yahoo and get started asap. The result? Horrible! The people couldn't catch what I mean for a good time. I felt bad. My studying grammar came down hill when I realized so, however; I could confirm what many say around.

Practice does make perfect! Emotion: big smile and slowly with time I get to share some words over.

I discovered that I have a nice spanish accent, which I feel proud of it.The american said I didn't lose it cuz it was part of my mainland. Emotion: smile

to determine what accent is better off is hard! what about a mixture! we non-native speakers don't have to chose a particular way of speaking.

I've been speaking english for about 4 weeks. the fluency you get by speaking english, maybe arranging ideas as you're speaking is a good thing, develops criteria and confidency and allows selecting right words for the purpose intended.

Thanks for your advise..

I got out to street to make some talking. hahaha so I'll stay over.

good bye! chao
If I understand correctly, Koo, there are two separate problems here: fluent performance in any accent, and comprehension of BrE.

I would tentatively hazard that it isn't necessary to acquire a BrE accent yourself to resolve the latter; and so you could happily concentrate on AmE to resolve the former.

MrP
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
There is, I think, a difference between pronunciation and accent, though I am not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it is a question of degree. It is perfectly possible to pronounce words correctly but with different accents. Different accents may of course involve different articulations of vowels and consonants, but they also involve other aspects like pitch and intonation. Unless learned at a young age by immersion, most people have at least a trace of a foreign accent when they speak a foreign language.
I have to say I don't really want to have a "perfect" accent: first of all, it would be impossible or at least not worth it, second of all, I wouldn't really know how to define a "perfect accent". I mean, how could you have a perfect accent from, say, the Bronx and always be consistent in the way you speak if you don't live there or have any reason to pick up that particular accent? My goal is to have an accent that is pleasant to listen to, and be able to understand the most common kinds of English pretty easily, but of course I can't guarantee I'll always be consistent in the way I speak.

Anyway, the accent I currently think (or speak) in is American, but I don't want it to limit my understanding of other varieties of English, so I plan to listen and "analyze" some British English too, and then I'll see what happens. It'll be very interesting to see what actually happens, what accent I find myself thinking in, whether I mix incompatible features together (one example could be using intervocalic glottal stops for T's in American English), etc.
I'm scared, LOL. See you around. Emotion: smile
You are right that it is unwise to try and adopt a specific accent such as a Bronx accent without living in the right area. You say that you want an accent that is pleasant to listen to; that is very subjective. The fact is that, at least in Britain - I cannot speak for the US or any other English speaking areas - the way you speak goes a long way to pigeonholing you. If you speak with a foreign accent you will not be pigeonholed - except as a foreigner.
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Hi Kooyeen

I'd like to tell you about what happened last night. I was watching a documentary on National Geographic Channel about an air disaster that happened in Los Angeles in 1986. It wasn't until the program was almost over that I realized the speaker was a Brit. I was so immersed in the content that I paid no conscious attention to his accent. Of course the Americans who were interviewed had American accents.

It's an American TV channel, I think. This made me think. How many times have I watched a program thinking I'm hearing American English even though I'm not. It may have happened before. A long time ago, I think it was in the late 80s, I was watching tennis on Eurosport. After some time I began to wonder why it was so difficult for me to understand the commentator's English. Then I realized that he wasn't speaking English at all; he was speaking German!Emotion: smileDouble fault, dobbel Fehler, they're so similar! In those days we usually got Eurosport in English. These days, unfortunately I would like to say, they always have a Finnish commentator.

CB
Cool BreezeAfter some time I began to wonder why it was so difficult for me to understand the commentator's English. Then I realized that he wasn't speaking English at all; he was speaking German!
Sometimes it happens the other way around: I wonder what language they are speaking, and then I realize it's English, LOL. It can happen if you listen to some Scottish accents, or some other "unusual" accents (Nigerian, Jamaican, etc.).
In the end it's all a matter of what accents you are familiar with, and how familiar you are with the vocabulary that they use. Sometimes I notice I can understand more if I just focus on the topic and what they are talking about, instead of focusing on the syllables too. Sometimes focusing on the syllables is completely useless, because you are not going to hear them the way you expect them to be, and that usually happens in songs, fast speech in movies, or accents you are not familiar with. I have a clear example of this in mind: I recently heard someone say "Did anyone ask you if you wanted a copy?", but that "copy" was actually supposed to be understood as "coffee". And it wasn't my ear that was faulty, there was just no "f" at all in "coffee", and in the movie it really came out like "copy" or something like that.
I'll go on improving... We will see how much I've improved later on... in a couple of years or so Emotion: stick out tongue