Mx. Jack Beloit (sonnekinde ) wrote in linguaphiles ,

What can you tell me about my accent?

Hello everyone!

I've recorded a video of myself reciting the text from the Speech Accent Archive. What can you tell me about my pronunciation and accent? Where do you think I'm from? Could I pass for a native English speaker? Thank you!

Tags: accents
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December 10 2013, 18:14:25 UTC 7 months ago

I'm going to say from Finland since your accent sort of reminds me of a Finnish friend. I don't think you could pass for a native English speaker. At least not with any region or dialect I'm familiar with. A lot of that has to do with your inflection, imo.


December 10 2013, 18:34:11 UTC 7 months ago

Finland, eh? That's interesting. Thanks!


December 10 2013, 18:23:42 UTC 7 months ago

I agree with the above comment--the inflection is a little off/the words sound very choppy, but your pronunciation of every individual word is quite good. Since you've said you're not a native speaker, I can hear little things that are off, but I don't know if I would have necessarily noticed otherwise--it also helps that you're clearly reading a thing, which can make native speakers have weird inflection too. I am also an American and so to me your accent sounds "vaguely British", though I can't personally pick up on microvariations that a UK speaker might. Based on just the clip, I think you could pass for a native speaker, but probably not if the inflection/choppiness is also there when you speak naturally in conversations.

I have absolutely no idea where you're from. Netherlands? Germany? :P


December 10 2013, 18:30:22 UTC 7 months ago

I have one other video uploaded at the moment in which I am not reading but speaking 'normally'. The subject might be a bit unusual--top surgery for an agender person--but it could serve as an example without the inflection. At 0:58 I do say where I am from.


December 10 2013, 18:41:53 UTC 7 months ago

Aha! :) Hearing this made me reconsider and think Germany, but I was still wrong. At least this time I was within the Germanic language family tree. :)

I still don't think you could pass as a native English speaker though! But your English is very good.


December 10 2013, 19:18:49 UTC 7 months ago

Hm, I think the foreign accent is more apparent when you're speaking, though the accent is much more subtle than most I've heard. It's just tiny sound changes here and there (I wanna say it's mostly vowels) and a little bit of the choppiness I mentioned earlier, though you do sound much more natural while speaking. The only reason the accent is more apparent is because you're not reading something, so that can't be used to potentially explain the word flow.

Good luck with your surgery, btw! :) (If you haven't had it already)


December 11 2013, 00:45:25 UTC 7 months ago

I'm from the South-West of England.

You sounded a bit Northern at the start but it soon became apparent that you weren't a native speaker. Too many soft noises, 'ssss'-type noises, which makes me think you're from somewhere in Europe. /Uneducated assessment!


December 11 2013, 01:00:08 UTC 7 months ago

Haha, 'ssss'-type noises. Parseltongue!


December 11 2013, 11:27:42 UTC 7 months ago

Lol yes! You're a wizard Harry!


December 10 2013, 18:47:21 UTC 7 months ago

I'm British, and your accent sounds to me to be British-influenced but not actually native British, although consistently comprehensible. The differences on some of the vowels remind me a little of Sabine in the TV programme Fresh Meat (although her accent is much stronger than yours) so I'd guess Dutch.


December 10 2013, 19:39:41 UTC 7 months ago

There were only a couple of things there that tipped me off you were not a native English speaker.

a) when you say "five" you soften the "v", so that it comes out more like "feiff". Having heard where you're from, that makes sense.

b) when you say "into three red bags" you give full weight to the "o" in "into", whereas a native English speaker would probably make this into a schwa, unless there was some particular reason for adding emphasis.

In terms of English, the shortness of the "a" in "ask" would have made me place you somewhere in the north of England.

(I'm southern English myself.)


December 24 2013, 06:47:22 UTC 6 months ago

when you say "five" you soften the "v"

Don't Scots do the same?


December 24 2013, 07:00:24 UTC 6 months ago

Perhaps, in some dialects - I'm not sure. However, the OP's accent was clearly not Scottish.


December 10 2013, 20:47:31 UTC 7 months ago

From your reading, I would not have noticed you weren't a native English speaker, although I would have spent some time wondering vaguely whereabouts in England you were from. I would probably have assumed you were from an Army or diplomatic family, with good, clear, educated speech but several different influences - I thought I noticed northern English in there, and perhaps Canadian.

When I watched your video (good luck, by the way!) I guessed correctly quite quickly. But again, that was only because I already knew that you weren't a native speaker. I think it says a lot about how good your accent for English is, that people are having trouble working it out. (I can normally spot the accent of your country fairly easily.) I think most people (ie not linguaphiles) would just assume you were from a different part of England (that is, not where they are from).


December 10 2013, 21:12:43 UTC 7 months ago Edited:  December 10 2013, 21:13:13 UTC

For context, I'm American, native speaker.

In a short exchange, I might take you for a native speaker whose native accent was from somewhere in the UK but who has been influenced by other accents and not reinforced by re-immersion in the native accent.

Anything more than that, though, and I'd know you weren't a native speaker. Rhythm and timbre are a bit off, and some of your consonants -- especially in the one where you're speaking, rather than reading -- go heavily into non-native speaker territory (e.g. pronouncing "Chicago" with an initial /tʃ/ instead of the /ʃ/ that's the common pronunciation, or the "tt" in "letter" coming out as /s/ instead of as /t/ or /d/).

I've had some exposure to L2 English speakers from where you are, but it's been a long time, so I couldn't quite place it; also, I think the accent developed for L1 speakers of your language depends on the local accent/dialect and its phoneme inventory (some are much more congruent with various accents and dialects of English than others). I was thinking Scandinavian, but wasn't really sure.


December 10 2013, 22:26:36 UTC 7 months ago

Most of what you're saying sounds native to me, my first impression would be that you were maybe somewhere from the UK, but I did detect a bit of an accent especially toward the end of the video. German maybe?


December 11 2013, 02:44:50 UTC 7 months ago

I am not a native speaker, but I am a scientist, and as such am exposed to multitude of various accents of all origins and degrees. I would never identify you as Dutch, because Dutch accent is one of the most distinct European accents, and you don't sound as Dutch at at all. You do have an accent, very mild of course, but quite clear at places ("Chicago"is one), but not like any of my Dutch colleagues', including some with as little accent as you.


December 11 2013, 10:30:32 UTC 7 months ago

Although it is not easy to tell much from such a short clip in which you are talking a rather constrained manner, I would guess North-West Europe (Scandinavian, German or Dutch), showing the influence more of British English than of American English, well pronounced without the vowel sounds providing any definite clue as to what your native language is , but not articulated in such a way the you would be taken for a native speaker.


December 11 2013, 13:55:39 UTC 7 months ago Edited:  December 11 2013, 13:56:38 UTC

My first instinct is Danish, now I'm off to listen to the other vid to see if I'm right!

Ooh, close! That was next!

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