Interesting. I am a native Cantonese speaker. It would be in my wildest dream to imagine that Cantonese and Italian actually have something in common
I had four years of intensive training in both written and spoken French and was considered to speak it on a near native level. When I joined the military my first tour of duty was, of course, Germany. I took several crash courses in spoken German so that I could travel around the country without a language barrier. As I traveled I was often teased that I was the first American they had ever met who spoke German like a native Frenchman. It was a wonderful ice breaker wherever I traveled !
Stress pattern is one of the most important aspect of an accent. I have been living in the US for 5 years now, and the stress patterns were the last thing I managed to adapt to sound kinda American. It is so important that if you do the pronunciations right but don’t get the stress & pitch right, you will never sound perfect. On the flipside, if you get the stress/pitch right and pronounce a few words the non-traditional way, you will still sound very perfect.
重音模式是口音最重要的方面之一。我已经在美国生活了 5 年，压力模式是我最后设法适应美国语的方式。这是非常重要的，如果你的发音正确，但重音和音调不正确，你的声音永远不会完美。另一方面，如果你的重音/音调正确，并以非传统方式发音几个单词，你听起来仍然会非常完美。
While at a conference in Denmark, I tried to learn some phrases in Danish – primarily “I don’t speak Danish, I speak English”. Everyone said I spoke with a Swedish accent. Thank you “The Swedish Chef” from Sesame Street.
在丹麦的一次会议上，我尝试学习一些丹麦语短语 – 主要是“我不说丹麦语，我说英语”。每个人都说我说话有瑞典口音。谢谢芝麻街的“瑞典厨师”。
I’m bilingual in English and Tamil (a Dravidian language from southern India).
Along the years I’ve learnt Hindi, Spanish and German to varying degrees of fluency.
My struggles with these latter languages have given me new respect for people who strive to speak in languages other than own, even if their speech is heavily accented.
What’s important after all is communication between different cultures, even if said communication is not perfect!
As a scholar of Italian linguistics, allow me a correction (if it is such). Actually, Italian distinguishes length for both vowels and consonants (long and short), not only in word morphology but also and especially at the prosodic level. (Nespor, 2014). The reason why English speakers notice that syllabic homorhythm is, in my opinion, due to two main causes : 1) the fact that the stereotype of the Italian accent is actually drawn from Neapolitan, 2) the fact that an Italian locutor has a tendency not to distinguish long and short vowels in English because simply from the point of view of the Italian source phonology, English words almost never present that structure that triggers vowel elongation in Italian instead. Rather, English words invite, if anything, an Italian to double the consonant and/or add a final schewa. None of this, however, implies that Italian always has syllables of equal length, for such is only a foreign ear’s impression of the Italian language.
作为一名意大利语言学学者，请允许我更正（如果是这样的话）。实际上，意大利语区分元音和辅音（长和短）的长度，不仅在词法上，而且特别是在韵律层面上。 （内斯波尔，2014）。在我看来，说英语的人注意到音节同韵的原因有两个：1）意大利口音的刻板印象实际上是来自那不勒斯口音，2）意大利说话者有一种不倾向的事实。区分英语中的长元音和短元音，因为仅仅从意大利语源音系的角度来看，英语单词几乎从不呈现在意大利语中触发元音延长的结构。相反，英语单词会邀请意大利人将辅音加倍和/或添加最后的 schewa。然而，这一切并不意味着意大利语总是具有相同长度的音节，因为这只是外国人对意大利语的印象。
Very true! And it’s rarely taught in language courses, let alone in schools. It’d be great to have more of these videos on specifics for different languages, at least for native English speakers. Cheers!
I learned English pretty early, as a teenager, and now i have a clear American accent and consider myself a native speaker. I also started learning Korean in a young age and started training my pronunciation right away. I wouldn’t say a native Korean would point me out as a foreigner the moment they hear my speech, but there are some very subtle differences that you can hear if listen carefully. I think when you’re younger it’s easier to acquire a native accent.
I think most accent sound comes from the position of the tongue. If anyone wants to drastically reduce their accent, they need to study the vowel position of tongue of a language. It’s way more significant factor influencing accents in non-native language. For example, for American English, the tongue has to be as flat to the bottom of the mouth as possible, whereas for British English, the back of the tongue needs to arch up
Curious. I’m a native Portuguese speaker, but the languages I use the most are English and Japanese. Yet, I do notice I have an accent, although most people tell me it’s mild, it is definitely there, specially in English. I thought the main reason for me was the difference in consonants, but now that I heard about this rhythm it got me wondering. I kinda feel my English got weirder after years living in Japan, and rhythm might be just the explanation, now that I think about it.
I am German and I’d say I am fluent in English and I could speak with a British, American or even Australian accent, but I choose to keep my German accent, because I feel weird when I try to imitate a native accent because you are picking the distinct sounds of a particular accent that sound weird or unnatural for my German ear and that always feels like I am making fun of other people’s language. Even though it might not be a problem for other persons, it’s just uncomfortable for me.
When I think of accents I usually think of external factors like imprinting, exposure to social context and even the musculature of the tongue. But, would it useful to hear a neuroscientist discuss the neural “circuitry” in the posterior superior temporal lobe and if the Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area manufactures accents?
As an Art student from London, living in South Wales in the early eighties, in what used to be Monmouthshire, with a lot of other students from the west of England, I picked up a west country twank, which took weeks to disappear, when I left college and returned to London. My normal English accent is North West London middle class. So I can see how what is being spoken about could happen.
I would like to say that many times by trying to come out with the most authentic accent we speak with a forced accent that usually also sounds off. One way to fix it is to speak as freely as possible, quickly enough our mouths will find the easiest way to pronounce vowels in the foreign language, thus making us seem more fluent. Imagine a native speaker of a language, you don’t see him over punctuating a syllable to sound right, they just do so by speaking in a lazy manner.