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Poll: When I speak my second language, my accent
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:44
SITE STAFF
Jan 8, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When I speak my second language, my accent".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
N/A, as.... Jan 8, 2008

...my assessment about this matter will not be impartial!

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
What's a perfect English accent? Jan 8, 2008

I'd say my "English accent" is quite good, but the truth is that I speak with no identifiable accent.
It's a mixture of all accents I've come across in my life (German teachers at school, American films, and finally 7 years in the Southwest of England).
I'd like to think that it's perfect in it's own unique way!

As for my 2nd second language, German, I've often been told that it's close to perfect, but I prefer to be modest and say it's quite good

[Edited at 2008-01-08 14:05]


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xxxSaifa
Local time: 05:44
German to French
+ ...
Quite good Jan 8, 2008

I am convinced that perfection does not exist in this world.

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:14
German to English
Other Jan 8, 2008

I grew up in Austria and speak German fluently, but since English is my main language, I wouldn't say that my accent when speaking German is perfect - maybe somewhere between perfect and quite good. One thing I definitely don't have is an Indian accent when I speak German!

[Edited at 2008-01-08 14:49]

[Edited at 2008-01-08 14:52]


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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:44
English to Georgian
+ ...
It all depends on the company Jan 8, 2008

Accent is something that has to do with ear. People that are good in music or singing are also good in speaking foriegn languages and picking up various accents.

I guess it all depends on the company, the environment. I spent couple of months together with French students one summer and when I returned home my English friends could not believe their ears: I had acquired perfect French accent of English when I never realised the difference!

So my accent changes according to who I am talking and listening to and for how long - by the evening I am forgeting my own language, let alone accents


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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:44
Member (2009)
English to French
Not so good Jan 8, 2008

With little to no practice except when going on trips to Engligh speaking provinces/states, I have quite a strong French accent which I could probably only loose by a total immersion of a few weeks/months (I would love that).

Even though bilingual when reading, listening and writing, I often cath myself making grammar mistakes or others when speaking. The words simply don't come out the way I would want them to be since my brain is trying to go faster than what I can say. I don't worry too much about it since I know I know my second language, but when I make some mistakes n an interview, I can't help noticing it and panicking a little.

So basicaly, you should be able to tell my main language just by hearing me say a few words in English.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
The man with the golden tongue Jan 8, 2008

I realized a few years back that I was destined to have an accent in life.

What I mean is that, if I speak Spanish or Catalan I have an English speaker’s accent. If I speak English here in Europe, where most English speakers I deal with are British, I’ve got the American accent. When I returned to the village I grew up in, in America, to visit after living here for nearly 20 years, people I met for the first time while there told me I had a foreign accent and asked me where I was from!

I saw a Spanish friend the other day who I hadn’t seen in quite some time. We had been chatting for awhile when he told me, “You’ve still got the same accent, but come to think of it, you wouldn’t be you without that accent.”

Since I don’t have any trouble actually communicating with people, and I made my peace with having an accent years ago, I decided to take my friend’s comment as a compliment.


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Diana Arbiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
My English will never be "perfect", but... Jan 8, 2008

... when people ask me, "Where did you learn Spanish?" (which is actually my first language), that's the best compliment I can get on my English (although sometimes, it makes me feel that something might be wrong with my Spanish)

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:44
English to Dutch
+ ...
Which language? Jan 8, 2008

I speak English and German, but since German and Dutch are more related than English and Dutch, my accent in German is very acceptable; in English I think it's not so good.
My vocabulary and grammar, on the other hand, is much better in English than in German.

Makes me wonder, though: what is a perfect English accent? I've spoken on the phone with Scottish PM's and Irish PM's and PM's from London - they all have an accent of their own. I'd love to have the perfect Irish accent, I really like the sound of it. But I'm afraid the perfect English accent would be the Queen's manner of speech, wouldn't it?


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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 06:44
English to Romanian
What does "thick" mean in this context? Jan 8, 2008

The dictionary doesn't help me at all.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
thick accent Jan 8, 2008

Maria Diaconu wrote:

The dictionary doesn't help me at all.


Hi Maria,

A thick accent is a strong/heavy accent, usually reminiscent of one's mother tongue.


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Can't cut through it. Jan 8, 2008

Maria Diaconu wrote:

What does "thick" mean in this context? The dictionary doesn't help me at all.


It just means a strong accent, from the idea that the accent obscures the words; trying to understand is like trying to cut through a thick fog.

"Thick," in both examples (accent and fog) means "dense." Can't get through it.


Later: It's apparently my destiny to always be a step behind Nesrin! She's always a tad quicker than I in KudoZ, too. Good thing we usually agree!

[Edited at 2008-01-08 15:10]


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:44
Danish to English
+ ...
accent Jan 8, 2008

Do you mean - no accent?

If an accent is "quite good" - then what type of accent are you talking about?
European, African, Indonesian - og what ??


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:44
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
close Jan 8, 2008

Portuguese folks immediately ask me if I am Brazilian.
Brazilians look confused for a moment and try to figure out what part of the country I'm from, because my accent is unfamiliar, but, they don't usually guess that I am American off the bat.
Some of them ask me if I am Portuguese.
(My wife says I am Portuguese...?? )

/tony


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