https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven.Sm

Question about accents

I live in the Midwestern United States, so I have no accent whatsoever. I understand that people who DO have accents, however, want to get rid of that accent for their foreign language and adopt the accent of that language. Do I need to learn an accent? It'd be difficult, considering I know nothing about accents or what causes them or how to imitate them. Would Spanish/Hebrew/etc. people think it odd that I have no accent, (well obviously they'd realize I'm foreign) but would understanding be altered? If you don't get what I'm asking, I can try to explain more. Thanks! ¬°Gracias! Todah!

May 21, 2017

8 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chilotin

You DO have an accent. It is likely "Midwestern American English". There is no people without an accent. I have an accent in my native language and foreign accent when I speak another language. It is the same for you.

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NtateNarin

You have an accent. I'm pretty sure if I met you in real life, I will probably have an idea that you were born in the midwest, thanks to your accent.

As for accents, I as well as many others, love them. Unless your accent is so strong that other people can't understand you when you speak another accent, I say embrace your midwest accent!

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven.Sm

Thanks for the advice. I like the idea of keeping my accent.

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ally.x
  • 1254

You may have no special accent in English but when you speak different language, if you want to sound right to native speakers I'd say you have to adopt the accent of that language.. at least to some extend. I also used to think that when I speak English the accent is not so important but for native English speakers my English was very hard to understand. Once I picked up accent / melody of the language / more correct pronunciation I could finally be understood with little or no problems.

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kundoo

The native speakers of the other language won't even distinguish whether you are speaking their language with the Midwestern American English or any other English accent. The fact that it's English would outweight everything else.

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sallyn476

The native speakers will probably know that you're a foreigner, and they'll probably be more understanding, and they won't mind if you say something that to them sounds incorrect because of your accent. But, you have to be careful because in some languages a simple mispronunciation can lead to a whole new word, like the words "like" and "lick".(?????)

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/somelauw

> I live in the Midwestern United States, so I have no accent whatsoever.

I don't think Midwestern American English is not an accent or less of an accent than other Englishes. There are native and non-native accents and native accents aren't always easier to understand than non-native accents.

> I understand that people who DO have accents, however, want to get rid of that accent for their foreign language and adopt the accent of that language.

Non-natives try to change their pronunciation so it becomes easier to understand by natives or other non-natives. Some pronunciation models that can be of help are Received Pronunciation and General American. It's not necessary to follow these models perfectly to be well-understood.

> Do I need to learn an accent? It'd be difficult, considering I know nothing about accents or what causes them or how to imitate them.

It's normal for humans to slightly change their accent when talking to a person that has a different one, but you probably should not to exaggerate the accent of the other person or they might think you are making fun of them.

> Would Spanish/Hebrew/etc. people think it odd that I have no accent, (well obviously they'd realize I'm foreign) but would understanding be altered? If you don't get what I'm asking, I can try to explain more. Thanks! ¬°Gracias! Todah!

If you are from the Midwest, people will expect you to sound like someone from the Midwest. It's also common for non-natives to practise their listening skills by listening to recordings of native speakers. If you want to be better understood, it may help to speak slower and to enunciate well.

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven.Sm

Very detailed and informative explanation, +1 and a lingot for you, kind sir!

May 22, 2017
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