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to find it hilarious that my daughter is ranked lowest in class for her accent by her language tutor?

(205 Posts)
WestieMamma Mon 02-Sep-13 10:33:18

She is outraged. I can't stop laughing. She's just started training to be an English teacher here in Sweden. Her tutor says she has the worst, least authentic accent in the class, despite being one of the only native English speakers grin.

The top ranked is the other native speaker. He's a geordie. Apparently the fact that none of the Swedes can understand a word he says doesn't matter, it's the fact that he's consistent grin.

glorious Mon 02-Sep-13 10:38:53

How funny! I've noticed that many people abroad learn English with an American accent (or at least a kind of 'international' one) rather than RP. Might that have something to do with it?

Auntfini Mon 02-Sep-13 10:41:15

I used to be an English teacher abroad and got told off for my bad accent! I think they wanted rp, I'm from Yorkshire!

MurderOfGoths Mon 02-Sep-13 10:42:10

Haha, love that smile

WestieMamma Mon 02-Sep-13 10:42:33

It's because she doesn't have a consistent, documented accent. I'm from Lancashire, grandparents are Irish, husband is from Kent and she grew up in the west country. So when she speaks it's a bit of this and a bit of that and the teacher is a bit freaked out at the fact that she doesn't fit into a standard box.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Mon 02-Sep-13 10:44:13

That's amazing grin

spg1983 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:44:26

When I was a trainee teacher (I teach MFL in England), at one of the schools I trained at, there was a French teacher who had been ranked unsatisfactory by the recent ofsted inspection, solely because her knowledge of French and her accent when speaking French were not good enough. The lady was a native speaker, the ofsted inspector was (after investigation) not a qualified teacher. Needless to say the lady was re-inspected and found to be more than good enough in the knowledge of language and accent criteria!

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 10:48:08

lol that is classic.

I taught english in a French Lycee. The kids were so not interested in my RP accent, they wanted to learn American. She will have to develop an X factor accent- thats what the kids will want to learn grin

What China mieville calls Anglo-Ubiq

QuintessentialOldDear Mon 02-Sep-13 10:49:46

What accent is she going to teach her students? Shouldnt she try to speak with a documented accent when teaching her class?
Most English teachers in Scandinavia are native scandies, and they have had to learn to speak an accent that resembles a British accent, rather than teach Stockholm or Oslo English. wink

She should stop being outraged and take it on board. She has to remember the only reason her accent is judged, is because she is going to inflict it on some poor Swedish kid who is going to have to try learn communicate speaking it.

As a parent, I would be bloody outraged if my childs teacher spoke an inconsistent pick and mix from various regions in the UK, rather than with consistency.

limitedperiodonly Mon 02-Sep-13 10:52:53

At school the best at French in my class was a girl whose mother was French Canadian. Not surprising, really.

Our teacher, who was French, was vile to her about her accent and used to insist that she couldn't understand a word. Ridiculous because as we got better we could understand her.

I don't know whether there's a problem between all French people and French Canadians or whether it was just this teacher being a cow.

Hassled Mon 02-Sep-13 10:55:44

I can see why she's outraged grin

I remember a MNer once saying her DD's Spanish accent had been heavily criticised by a UK teacher - the DD was bilingual in Spanish, but had some sort of Spanish regional accent which was more than the teacher could cope with.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Mon 02-Sep-13 10:56:35

That's odd. Surely if you have a couple of native speakers, you know their accents are 'authentic'? I can understand saying that certain regional accents might be less useful to learn, but I'd definitely put Geordie in that category! (Nothing against Geordie accents, but they are sufficiently distinctive some native speakers struggle with them, so it seems an unnecessary hurdle).

WilsonFrickett Mon 02-Sep-13 10:59:52

Are you serious Quint? You'd be 'bloody outraged' if your child learned English from a native speaker who happened to have a regional accent instead of what - rp, which no-one actually speaks?

WestieMamma Mon 02-Sep-13 11:02:35

As a parent, I would be bloody outraged if my childs teacher spoke an inconsistent pick and mix from various regions in the UK, rather than with consistency.

And I'd think you'd be seriously over-reacting and would suggest you went and had a lie down. To other native English speakers she just sounds non-specific English from somewhere down south. A completely non-descript accent.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Mon 02-Sep-13 11:07:31

Everyone, but everyone, has an accent that is to some degree 'inconsistent'. Accents change over time anyway.

tulipgrower Mon 02-Sep-13 11:10:12

In one of my first English lessons in school in Germany (20yrs ago), I was told I was pronouncing everything incorrectly, and that I could choose to speak either consistently British or American English. I said, "No worries, mate". wink

WestieMamma Mon 02-Sep-13 11:11:57


cory Mon 02-Sep-13 11:14:33

The fact is that a Swedish teen who learns a regional accent or a mix of regional accents from a native speaker is not going to be accepted like the native speaker would have been, as a person rightly speaking their own accent. Unless he can pull it off well enough to con people that he actually comes from that region, he will be laughed at and taken less seriously because of the incongruity. (and yes, I have experienced this for myself) After all, foreigners don't learn languages to go and live in a local village: they learn them to use internationally, often for business purposes.

So there is a good case for insisting that teachers of English (or French or Spanish) abroad do actually acquire an RP accent for teaching purposes. It doesn't have to be totally OTT, but something neutral enough to pass for a BBC news presenter. It's the same for academics who teach English to foreign language students in this country: they tend to use a very neutral accent for work purposes.

Tell your dd not to take it personally; it's just another work requirement, like learning phonetics or something.

jellybelly18 Mon 02-Sep-13 11:15:07

In school we had a German teacher who was from Austria. For a couple of weeks we had a supply teacher who was from Berlin. When he first heard us talking he burst out laughing and said we all sounded like little Austrians, which I thought was great!

ZingWantsCake Mon 02-Sep-13 11:15:55

grin Westie that is hilarious!

although I understand her rage.

I failed my first driving test in England (to get a UK licence), got out of test car, got in my car and drove home!
you should have seen people's faces! (totally legally as well,y Hungarian licence was still valid!)

is that in anyway similar?

cantdoalgebra Mon 02-Sep-13 11:20:09

I would not want my child taught another language by someone with a very pronounced regional dialect - the whole point of learning another language is about communication - pointless if people then struggle to understand it.

ILikeBirds Mon 02-Sep-13 11:22:16

Mixing of accents can cause problems

If someone said an english accent they were going to 'bid' i'd ask them what on. If someone said it with a kiwi accent i'd wish them goodnight smile

farrowandbawl Mon 02-Sep-13 11:27:28

Between this thread, the wedding threads and another thread about how babies are made according to facts and sunflower seeds...the world or at least MN has gone fecking barmy.

tulipgrower Mon 02-Sep-13 11:28:49

In Oz we had a German teacher with an Australian accent broader than Crocodile Dundee. I don't think it helped our pronounciation. wink

QuintessentialOldDear Mon 02-Sep-13 11:35:30


I am serious. As a foreigner, having learnt English overseas, I know how vital it is to have an accent which is clear, concise and not least consistent.

What many British people fail to understand is how difficult it is for a foreigner to understand some of the more regional accents, let alone speak in an accent they have only ever heard one person model!

Another thing many British people fail to understand is that when foreigners are speaking English, they are not necessarily speaking to other English people, but other foreigners, and they will for sure shake their heads bewildered when encountering a swede struggling to make himself understood in a mix of Irish Lancashire or whatever accent, coupled with a Swedish/Norwegian sing song they cant escape!

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