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OT: Accent Softening


DavidMPires

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Well I though I might as well ask you guys.

 

Accent Softening are courses to help non - native speakers to be able to place their voice and twist their tongues in order to reach a better conversational level. So far where I work, people understand me, and in a social enviroment they understand me as well, exception made to situations with too much noise background and sometimes people ask me to repeat what I've said.

 

Because I'll be moving career and soon become a mortgage broker, I can see myself strugling sometimes, and the confidence that I can pass on to my future clients, can be at risk because of my strong accent.

 

I wonder if any of you guys ever had one of this courses or knows anyone who have had the benefit of this.

 

Thanks for your input

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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Hi David. I'm Polish and I've lived in UK for a couple of years. My girlfriend is a teacher of english ;)

There's a book (with a CD) titled 'How Now Brown Cow'. Its main goal is to improve the pronunciation, and it's very good at that. The excersises may seem silly at first, but they really help you to speak like a native english person.

Unfortunately I don't know about the courses...

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www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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I give you credit for being willing to take this on. Of course I have no idea what you sound like (hell - I probably couldn't understand the people that grew up in your area!), but I believe it will help. It sounds like they'll stress pronunciation, but I'm sure they will work on basic grammar, idioms, etc. I wish you all the best.

 

I have not taken courses like this. I am in IT - in the US that means that you deal with some Chinese and lots of Indian folks. I've learned to listen better (and learned their different vocabulary), but many of the recent arrivals would benefit from this type of course. Last year, a very large contingent of Indians was brought over and given desks in a separate building. When I would visit, it was clear that they spoke their native language all day long. Some had terrible difficulty being understood. I pointed out the issue of housing these people all together and asked the manager (an American) if there were courses available. I was told yes. Did the people that had to work with my business unit take the courses. No. So I volunteered - send the few guys that I have to work with over for lunch twice a week, and I'll improve their clarity. The offer was not accepted (though I think one guy would have liked to take me up on it).

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Don't worry about it too much, David, I'm a Scot with a well-rounded and educated accent - I used to be a lecturer, and there are those down here in Darkest England who still say they can't understand a word I say.

 

The English have never been the best at other languages, or accents for that matter!

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Thanks Geoff some people said already that's silly of mine to think that. But I don't know

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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... I am in IT - in the US that means that you deal with some Chinese and lots of Indian folks. ....it was clear that they spoke their native language all day long. Some had terrible difficulty being understood.

Tom

Funnily enough, for educated Indian folks their native language is English. As Mr Spock might have said, 'It's English, Jim, but not as we know it.' Some words are pronounced differently, and sentences might be constructed differently also - from what I've heard they tend to shorten them quite a bit and speak very quickly as well - eg 'Shopping you went?' 'Bass I bought!' I find it hard to follow much of the time.

 

My inlaws are Indian, all the adults in their extended family were born in India. I have asked many of them if they speak Hindi, and most say no, but they can read it a bit. Since they are from the south east, they are more familiar with Tamil, and even then they have only a smattering.

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I have a french colleague whose written English is fantastic but he is truly incomprehensible with verbal communication because his accent is so strong.

 

Good for you David for making the effort. I can easily understand you when there is no ambient noise. The difficulty comes when you are in a crowded pub ... then it becomes more difficult to understand accents. There again we're usually talking bo**ocks so it matters less:)

 

Davo

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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There again we're usually talking bo**ocks so it matters less:)

 

True!!! (with an accent) :D

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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I find it interesting that some people, like California Govenor, Swartzenager, have never lost their accent, eventhough they have lived in the US for 30-40 years.

Rocky :snax:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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My colleages at work have told me that I shouldn't loose my accent and that they understand me easily, So it may be just me being silly.

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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I am amazed at "good" actors who can develop different accents and call them up at will. Then they can go back to their native accent when "being normal"

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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for educated Indian folks their native language is English.

I'm surprised at this. Their native language may include English, but the use of their native language (Tamal in your in-law's case) tends to add an accent. This would be somewhat true for many multi-lingual people - it usually takes work and training to speak more than one language without much of an accent (in my experience). The folks I'm currently working with are clearly schooled in English, but just as clearly speak their native language most of the time.

 

As Mr Spock might have said, 'It's English, Jim, but not as we know it.' Some words are pronounced differently, and sentences might be constructed differently also - from what I've heard they tend to shorten them quite a bit and speak very quickly as well - eg 'Shopping you went?' 'Bass I bought!' I find it hard to follow much of the time.

 

I have found that I can quickly adapt to the different vocabulary and phrasing with two exceptions. I have seen people from some parts of India who shake their head side to side when you are speaking to them. To us, that would seem to be a negative response, but it's just a form of listening. That one still throws me. The other is the use of the term "into" in arithmetic. "3 into 6" would be division for me (answer:2), but for Indians (and other British? not sure...) it's multiplication (answer: 18). That makes me nuts.

 

The rest of the vocabulary isn't so hard to deal with. I "live" in a town, they "stay" in a town. I "move" to change houses, they "shift". We used to have fun teasing one guy who rode the bus to work. He would "get down" on White Plains Road, and we'd start doing wacky funky dances when he said that.

 

It's my experience that Hindi is used in the north (though I can't give you a geographic border). Friends from Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Punjab knew at least some Hindi (for Delhi, that's the native language). Friends from Madras and other southern places (native languages being Tamal and Telgu) don't speak Hindi, even if they are better educated.

 

I don't know if that fits with what you know from your family, but it's what I've gotten out of my experience here.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Hi Tom -

 

I should have known better than to generalise about India - it's a very diverse and contradictory place as you describe. I hope to visit in a couple of years, and I'm sure that nothing will prepare me for the place.

 

slow (well, I'm a Jim actually)

Epi EB-3

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diferent parts of countries have different accents, and that is often carried over to english.

i.e, I don't sound anything like a brazilian citizen, however we both speak portuguese as 1st language.

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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My wife and I were riding in a cable car in Austria a few years ago and another couple in the car with us were talking. I asked my wife, "what language are they speaking"? She said, "They are speaking English, Dummy".

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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My wife and I were riding in a cable car in Austria a few years ago and another couple in the car with us were talking. I asked my wife, "what language are they speaking"? She said, "They are speaking English, Dummy".

Rocky

 

My danish father-in-law, was asked if he was Welsh a few months back :D He cracks me up.. He lived over here for a while and picked up a load of London Cockney slang, which he now uses regularly.. Except he always gets the saying a little bit wrong..

 

Also my grandmother-in-law is Austrian, has lived here since age 19... . and she STILL speaks with a thick Austrian accent.

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Both my parents come from the Åland Islands, midway between Stockholm and Helsinki.

http://www.scantours.com/images/THE_AL2.jpg

My Dad came to the us in the 30's, my Mom right after WWII. My mother lost most of her accent, while my father kept a rather thick accent throughout his life.

 

The strangest accent I've ever heard was on my Uncle Walter who moved from Åland to Tennant Creek Australia in the 40's. I loved trying to figure out his Scandinavian/Australian accent.

Push the button Frank.
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Do some people purposefully keep their accent, even after living in a different country for many years? I know it's natural to be proud of your native tongue but also it may be good to blend in with the society.

Rocky

 

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Do some people purposefully keep their accent, even after living in a different country for many years? I know it's natural to be proud of your native tongue but also it may be good to blend in with the society.

Rocky

 

Well, when I was living in Italy, I found that my Australian accent was an immediate conversation starter. So I did my best to keep it! :D

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i.e, I don't sound anything like a brazilian citizen, however we both speak portuguese as 1st language.

 

Oh, God yes. As a Spanish speaker, I can't understand the Portuguese very well at all, whereas if I concentrate I can understand Brazilians without too much trouble.

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