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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.

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 14:28:25

I felt really bad when I was working with youngsters and one of them (who I only talked to very occasionally) had a broad Glaswegian accent- I just could bot understand anything he was saying, however hard I tried. He wasn't in my group, luckily, because I was slightly terrified that he'd ask me something and then get annoyed because I asked him to repeat himself 20 times.. blush

I'm in a real melting pot of a city with a larger than usual proportion of English in Scotland. You tend to hear a range of accents, which are all fairly mild, so you never get to practice understanding the broad ones.

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 14:19:03

Tehee, Thumb! Where shall we go? grin

I was very bad with my Chinese flatmate who had a tendency for talking in a Waybuloo kind of way.

Thumbwitch Wed 04-Sep-13 11:27:20

Oops, should have read lljkk's post more closely before posting mine! Not heard of APD but I guess that might be what I was describing...

Thumbwitch Wed 04-Sep-13 11:26:18

I like the idea, Toys! grin

I do know British people who claim to be unable to understand other regional UK accents. I don't think it's just forriners who have trouble with it, it's sometimes people who CBA to listen, and sometimes people who can't cope with another accent at speed.

I have no problem coping with a broad Glaswegian accent, for e.g. - but plenty of my southern softie London friends reckon they can't understand it!

lljkk Wed 04-Sep-13 10:37:54

lol, I'm a native English speaker with like a million words published in English so my English skills should be fairly reasonable. But lots of times I don't understand spoken English from certain accents. I sometimes think I have a mild dose of that APD thing (Audio Processing Disorder).

Some Spanish-language accents I'm fine at & others throw me completely, too. It's all down to lack of practice, I suppose. hence why I think diversity is a Good thing.

I'm about to go to a pan-European conference in English and I will literally be the ONLY native English speaker there. That should be interesting! I make a huge effort in emails to not use idioms and sometimes actively pigeon up my words.

Beastofburden Wed 04-Sep-13 10:17:20

Toysrluv- me too, and it has been quite embarrassing sometimes. I honestly dont mean to do it, but I copy both accents and vocab within minutes. I genuinely dont know how people manage to keep their birth accents going if they live elswehere- I would forget what I used to sound like!

Am also a musician and have a degree in French and German so we have a theme going here.... but my mum used to go all Devonian on the phone to her mum, and she is a crap linguist and tone deaf hmm

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Wed 04-Sep-13 10:13:27

of course it can be difficult to acclimatise to different accents, but its the using that to justify an opinion that english teachers must have RP or mild home counties accents that I am objecting to.

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 09:24:59

I agree with you Nom. Although teaching should still include wide range of accents (through listening to tapes, guest speakers or whatever), so that at least you don't literally shit yourself when a Glaswegian talks to you for the first time.

NomDeClavier Wed 04-Sep-13 09:18:08

Bother pressed post!

Anyway many names for a small round bread thing and it gets confusing for learners especially!

NomDeClavier Wed 04-Sep-13 09:17:06

I don't think it is 100% poor teaching. It takes time to acclimatise to an unfamiliar accent. It's easier for a native speaker because they can work out a lot more from the context and do that faster, but some people really do struggle to understand other accents (even native speakers). If you're on the phone to someone for 3 minutes you don't have time to familiarise yourself with it and with the best will in the world you can't teach students every accent they're going to come across.

Add to that the grammatical and vocab variations in dialects (bread roll/bap/cob/

ToysRLuv Wed 04-Sep-13 09:17:05

Oh -I have a musical ear, Thumb! And can learn languages and adapt to them relatively quickly, having been basically trilingual from birth..

I love it that I'm not the only one here with this, Emma and Thumb! I always though I was a real weirdo for that. Yay, shall we travel somewhere abroad and see who's the worst for it? grin

worldcitizen Wed 04-Sep-13 08:39:06

Was agreeing with onthebottom grin

worldcitizen Wed 04-Sep-13 08:37:55

^^^^ agree smile

LittleBearPad Wed 04-Sep-13 08:36:20

Your poor daughter. The teacher sounds a bit crap. I would find the outrage pretty hilarious too.

Quint if you're still reading. If people are correcting your pronunciation like you say then they are just being bloody rude. Who cares if you say 'barth' or 'baath'. Both are equally valid. I wouldn't consciuosly change my pronunciation from nondescript SE England to Yokshire if I moved to Leeds. If I tried to I would sound ridiculous.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Wed 04-Sep-13 08:11:46

If people cant understahd a yorkshire or manchester accent, they cant speak english very well snd have had poor teaching that has nothing to do with accent.

DropYourSword Wed 04-Sep-13 07:15:48

My husband is Australian. So used to his accent now it just doesn't even register .. to the point when we're in England and people comment about him being Australian I have found myself thinking "... but how do they know"!

EmmaBemma Wed 04-Sep-13 06:10:31

It's almost as if I sometimes forget what my "real" accent is.

EmmaBemma Wed 04-Sep-13 06:10:01

ToysRLuv and Thumbwitch I do this too. I hate it! It sounds horribly ingratiating, but it's completely involuntary and I can't seem to stop myself doing it.

Bertrude Wed 04-Sep-13 05:18:43

I've lost count of the number of times people here (Dubai) have said to me on the phone, 'Ma'am, you speak Hindi/Tagalog/Arabic (delete as appropriate)? I no understand your bad English'.

I'm Manc.

I have, however, been asked to translate for a Yorkshireman in a meeting as he was presenting and nobody could understand him. My colleagues have now got used to my accent, but can't understand Leeds one bit. We also had a Scouser in once - that was fun.

Thumbwitch Wed 04-Sep-13 04:52:52

ToysRLuv - I have the same problem! When I was in Germany on a school exchange, I started to speak English with a German accent - all the other English girls took the piss mightily, but the Germans understood me better because the rhythm and cadence of how I was speaking matched theirs better.

I have to try really hard in Australia not to lapse into Australian - and do fail, quite frequently! I still sound mostly English, I think, but catch myself pronouncing some words in a more Aussie fashion now.

It used to drive my Mum mad when we went up from London to visit my grandparents in Yorkshire and I'd end up with a Yorkshire accent (except for the short 'a', never did that) - I don't know why she was so offended, but she was!

A friend once told me it's due to having a musical ear - I don't know whether or not that's true (but I do have a musical ear as well).

worldcitizen Tue 03-Sep-13 23:17:26

burberry your average student cannot even hear the difference an American/English/Irish/etc accent, let alone reproduce it

^^^^ Sorry, but this is totally rubbish!!!!

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 23:14:10

Ah, I don't know. I feel for the OP's daughter, though. What a weird situation.

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 23:11:52

So, the inconsistency doesn't matter that much then (not that I think it does anyway, unless somehow very pronounced).

ToysRLuv Tue 03-Sep-13 23:10:31

Depends what level and age "students" are. I only had two different English teachers at school and they both had the same roughly American accent. Uni will of course be different, but I would have thought that the basic accent will have been acquired in the language before going to uni?

SomeTeaPlease Tue 03-Sep-13 23:02:35

Students have multiple foreign language teachers, right? I've had 4 Spanish teachers and professors. None were from the same region! I managed fine despite "inconsistent" accents.

3 were native speakers, and one in particular had a very strong accent when speaking English. He was perfectly fluent and understandable (most of the time). We did have a few rather hilarious misunderstandings though!

I rather liked all of the exposure to different accents. I feel it helped me pick up on the subtleties of the language.

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