+0
I have a general question about accents: I have to decide now between the britisch or the american accent, I don't want to speak with a mix of both what I'm doing now. I tell it straight up, I learn english to have sucess in my career, I love UK so much but many of my coleegs told me, american accent is better for buisness relations, is that tru? Which one is easyer? thanks
1 2
Comments  
Hey Mednos Emotion: smile, American English of course! Why? Because I said so, just learn it! Emotion: stick out tongue (I'm kidding of course) Now, seriously...

You can learn the kind of English you like most. And you are right, learn a variety and stick to that, don't mix British and American English. Learners should choose the veriety they like most or the variety they are more likely to speak in the future.

In your case, it seems you are interested in English for business, jobs and relations. Well, I really don't know what to say... I think in that case both British and American English are equally good. But maybe your colleagues are right, maybe American English is more common in the business world (I'm not sure at all, though). Anyway, it all depends on where you are going to work and what kind of business you are going to do. For example, if you are going to work in London and deal with customers that are mainly from the UK, I see no reason for getting an American accent.

But if you think you are likely to use both varieties, again, choose the one you like most. You said you love the UK, learn British English then. Choose what you like, not what might (maybe) be convenient in some circumstances but you don't feel comfortable with. I chose American English because in my opinion is the one that sound smoothest, the one I really like, and the one I'm more likely to hear when I listen to the music, the radio or watch TV. Now it's up to you to decide, good luck Emotion: smile

PS: Anerican English rulezzz, down with British English, whoohahaha Emotion: wink
To tell you the truth, I've never heard any foreigner (unless they learned English when they were very young, or had lived in an English speaking country for at least a decade, and had extensive, and personalized accent coaching) ever be able to pull off either an American or British accent. "British English" and "American English" consist of 3 parts--accent, spelling, and lexicon.

As for accent: when people learn an American accent, they learn what is known as "General American"--an accent based on a generalized Midwestern accent, spoken in the 1950's Narrowly definied, this accent is only spoken by very old speakers (80 year olds) in the Midwestern and Western portions of the US, and in a couple of 90 year olds in Canada. Broadly defined, it is spoken by everyone in the Midlands US, the North Central US (North Dakota and surrounding areas), the Western US, and Western and Central Canada (BC to ON). It is also spoken by many newscasters. If they learn "Received Pronunciation" then they learn sort of the upper-class sounding accent in England, that is considered overly posh to some. Both RP and GA are very much alike, except in the overall place of articulation. As a speaker of North American English, it would be very difficult for me to pull of a convincing RP accent. I would need long and intensive accent coaching. Even actors are notorious for doing very lousy RP accents.

There is however something called a Mid-Atlantic accent, which is very easy to do. It sounds exactly like a British RP accent to Americans, and exactly like an American accent to British people. It uses the American vowels and consonants which correspond to British ones, but uses the American place of articulation. If you aren't a native speaker of English, unless you honestly *do* sound like a native speaker, most people won't be able to even tell if you are speaking "American English" or "British English". It just depends on how your own non-native accent compares to an American or British accent. For example, almost every Japanese speaker I've met learned American English, but they sounded like they were speaking "British English". The reason was simply that they could not make the vowel sound that exists in the word "hat", nor could they make even a reasonable approximation of the North American English retroflex final "r". Thus, even though they learned "American English", they sounded just as British as they sounded American. So, they could have just as easily learned RP, and they would have ended up with the same accent. So, unless you really do have a native sounding accent with no interference from your native accent, it is not going to make a bit of difference whether you learn American or British English-and if you are so good at imitating accents (unlikly), you should be able to do them both-certainly better than I, as a North American, can fake an RP accent.

The next aspect is spelling. There's American spelling, British spelling, Canadian spelling, and Australian spelling, and New Zealand spelling. First of all we have to keep in mind that spelling has nothing to do with pronunciation, and the fact that a word spelt in one form of English is pronounced differently in another has nothing to do with spelling. The spellings of words are simply national unofficial norms and customs. There are two categories--high frequency, and low frequency words. You can often read several pages of text and not have a clue as to where it was written based on the spelling. The high frequency words are the most important. The low frequency words are written much less frequently, and thus people hardly notice if there are differences in the spelling, and most people in all of the English speaking countries don't care too terribly much. For example, the word [ mIdiv@l ]. I have a hard time remembering how to spell this word. In American spelling, I believe it's spelled midieval or something like that, and in British spelling, mediaeval. I doubt anyone would really care how you spell it this word, in fact many Americans spell it the British way, because the American version looks ugly. So, as for these types of low-frequency words, it really doesn't matter how you spell them. The high frequency words on the other hand, spelling is much more important.

You have to remember, though that everyone will understand these words just fine whether you use the American, British, Australian, or whatever spelling, it's just that some that have not been exposed to the other form, will consider the other form incorrect--American schoolteachers are a good example of this, and they will usually mark your paper if you use, say a British spelling, to let you know that it's spelled differently in America. Most of them don't really care, actually, they just want to help you. I'd say it's probably the British who are the most uptight about spelling, because they tend not to like Americanisms. Canadian English technically has no "official" spelling. Both American and British spellings are accepted, but even so, there is a general trend in how many people spell words, and thus we can say that there is a distinct spelling. so, anyway the only words that you need to worry about are the high-frequency words (as for the low frequency words, just spell them the British way-Americans really won't care-and if they do, tough.)

If on the other hand, you really want to be consistent and spell everything the American way, just get Microsoft's en-US spell checker. Unlike the Canadian or British one, there is no controversy regarding Microsoft's en-US spell checker, and thus it could be said to be the final authority on American spelling Emotion: smile (I'm serious. No American would argue with it.) So, the only important words with varients, are those of the or/our class; the er/re class, and the -ize/-ise class. These are the only ones that will get anyone worked up over.

If I were you, simply consider your audience. If you're writing for a British audience use -our (colour, honour) and -re (centre), and if you're writing primarily for an American audience use -or (color, honor) and -re (center). Truthfully, it's mainly the British people that get emotional about these words, because they don't like to see Americanisms all the time, and Americans usually don't care, they just either haven't seen the British form before and think it's just a misspelling. On those two examples, the current trend in Canadian English is to follow the British spelling (colour, centre). When it comes to a few words in American English, the British spelling is regarded as classier, and thus the following words are often spelled like in British English in the US especially for places: Theatre, Centre, Harbour, and Glamour. Note, it's pretty much only these 4 words especially "Theatre". You'll find about the same number as "Theatres" in the US as you'll find "Theaters". You may find a city "Centre", although it's less common than "Theatre", and many businesses use the word Harbour. "Glamour" is far more glamorous than "Glamor"--in fact I don't think I've seen the word "glamor" very often.

When it comes to -ize/-ise words, I believe -ize is considered correct for all varieties of English. -ise however is quickly gaining ground in the UK, and -ize is sometimes even mistakenly assumed to be an Americanism. Most newspapers and magazines now use -ise, for example. The Oxford English Dictionary still lists the -ize form first. I believe that -ise is more common in Australia and New Zealand. -ize is the only acceptable form in the US and Canada (although ise is sometimes [rarely] used in Canada-usually by people originally from somewhere else.)

So, anyway, if I were you I'd learn both spelling varients just so you know them-the high frequency words are not at all hard to learn. Just consider your audience when you're writing, and be consistent (I'm not, but I just like to be different, for my own personal entertainment. [Of course I'd never hand in paper to a teacher, or for anything important using an odd concoction of American and British spellings-as people would just think I was a bad speller.]) Do as I say, not as I do Emotion: smile )

The third thing to learn is the vocabulary differences. You can also just describe what you are talking about, or try to use alternate words. If I were you, I would simply avoid any deliberate Americanisms, or Canadianisms, or Briticisms, or whatever, or learn all of them.

So, in conclusion, it doesn't matter too terribly much which variety of English you want to learn. I myself, would suggest that you learn both, and what the differences are between them, and as long as you don't overwhelm yourself with the differences (they're fairly small ultimately), if you learn both, you can adapt to the person you are talking to and be more easily understood. If you want to learn a particular one, learn either one, it makes absolutely no difference, because no one will take you for a Englishman or an American, nor will you sound like one or the other to native English speakers. You'll still sound like you're speaking German-English or Italian-English or whatever you are. Until people say you sound like a native speaker, you needn't worry. Besides, if you really want to become very proficient in English, you'll have to live in an English speaking country for a while, and you'll pick up the local accent anyway, which more likely than not will not be Upper RP or conservative General American.

Emotion: smile As for speaking in a mix of British and American accents, to tell you the truth, I doubt many native speakers would notice... They'll just be thrilled that you're doing the best you can to try to communicate with them, and as long as they can understand you--and General American and RP are the most easily understood forms of English for native speakers to understand.

(edited to insert paragraphs to make reading easier)
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hi Kooyeen,
And you are right, learn a variety and stick to that, don't mix British and American English. Learners should choose the veriety they like most or the variety they are more likely to speak in the future.
I don't think it really matters which variety you choose to learn. Nobody really cares.
In your case, it seems you are interested in English for business, jobs and relations. Well, I really don't know what to say... I think in that case both British and American English are equally good.
I agree. For the sake of repetition: It doesn't matter which variety of English you use as your model. Besides, you need to be very proficient in English for people to notice that you're actually attempting to speak British or American English.

Englishuser
Hi Marvin A,
For example, the word [ mIdiv@l ]. I have a hard time remembering how to spell this word. In American spelling, I believe it's spelled midieval or something like that, and in British spelling, mediaeval. I doubt anyone would really care how you spell it this word, in fact many Americans spell it the British way, because the American version looks ugly.
I still think it's good to spell words correctly. Misspellings will often attract unwanted attention. Sometimes employers won't take you seriously if you show them you're a horrible speller.
If you want to learn a particular one, learn either one, it makes absolutely no difference, because no one will take you for a Englishman or an American, nor will you sound like one or the other to native English speakers. You'll still sound like you're speaking German-English or Italian-English or whatever you are.
That doesn't mean people shouldn't take accent softening seriously. It is important to pronounce words correctly; frequent mispronunciations are bad if you want to make yourself understood. Most non-native speakers won't achieve a native-sounding accent, that's true. But some do. If you want to improve your accent, work on it! There is always room for improvement.
If they learn "Received Pronunciation" then they learn sort of the upper-class sounding accent in England, that is considered overly posh to some.
Do you think it's good for learners to use an upper class accent as their model for imitation? Suppose that a Japanese English student succeeded in speaking exactly like the Queen of England. Would that be a desirable outcome?
>>
For example, the word [ mIdiv@l ]. I have a hard time remembering how to spell this word. In American spelling, I believe it's spelled midieval or something like that, and in British spelling, mediaeval. I doubt anyone would really care how you spell it this word, in fact many Americans spell it the British way, because the American version looks ugly.
---
I still think it's good to spell words correctly. Misspellings will often attract unwanted attention. Sometimes employers won't take you seriously if you show them you're a horrible speller. <<

Yes, of course one should try to spell words correctly. What I meant to say is that many people wouldn't care whether you used the British or the American spelling of this word--not that any random spelling (such as midevil) would be acceptable.

>> Do you think it's good for learners to use an upper class accent as their model for imitation? Suppose that a Japanese English student succeeded in speaking exactly like the Queen of England. Would that be a desirable outcome? <<

I've heard of several foreigners who actually did acquire an Upper RP accent. They were usually mocked for sounding too posh, so I think it's usually best to tone down the accent a few notches. Even the Queen herself has toned down her accent over the years. Of course, some people like to have a really posh accent--so whatever floats your boat. Understandability is the main thing, of course.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
to tell you the truth i have a british freind and i learned the accent form her quickly i used to have a russian accent and now i have a british one so if i was you i would choose to learn the british accent!First cause it sounds intelegent.Cool.And smart and it is easy to learn so yeah thats my advise.


its better the britisch accent


i would choose to learn the british accent!First cause it sounds intelegent.Cool.And smart and it is easy to learn so yeah thats my advise.
Yeah, they sure do sound smart, cool, and intelligent. I was just talking to a Glaswegian the other day. It was the coolest sounding accent I've ever heard.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more