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Can You Understand Me?

» Can You Understand Me?


April 28th, 2010 by admin

The United States of America is a huge country with a diverse population. Americans love to talk, are quite expressive, and generally have a tendency to get along easily with almost everyone. Usually, Americans feel quite comfortable talking and socializing with people who have a foreign accent, as long as they can understand them. Mentioned below are certain facts related to the way an American responds to a foreign accent.

  • Out of all the foreign accents, the one which is most popular amongst Americans is the British accent.  The Australian accent comes in second.
  • As per an analysis, most Americans don’t like really strong foreign accents, since such accents and their respective intonation tend to confuse Americans regarding the context in which a particular statement has been spoken.
  • Americans find certain accents interesting especially if they are uncommon like the Scottish or Irish accent..

Apart from these facts, pronunciation also holds a vital place in communication; sometimes even more than the grammar, since it creates the first impression of the speaker in the listener’s mind. Poor pronunciation and lack of command in English may make Americans uncomfortable. They may ask you to repeat some sentences, if they don’t understand you. It may become quite awkward for the person to repeat the same thing over and over again.

This can vary from culture to culture, as well, in addition to the differences in languages being spoken. Studies show that Americans find Asian accented English more difficult to understand. Most of the South Asian languages have a very different grammatical structure from the Indo European languages, and there are many vowels, which are not shared with other Indo European languages.  Moreover, the prosodic characteristics (rhythm, intonation, etc.) of Asian accented English is very different from the Indo-European accent.

Non-native English speakers should focus both on grammar, vocabulary and prosody as well as pronunciation. Accented English is fine as long as your listener can understand you.

EnglishWithoutAccent.com staff

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