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  #121  
Old 09.11.2019, 03:08
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Re: Which English do you speak?

I don't find it absurd to modify your accent to communicate with people who don't speak the way you do.



Communication is an art, whether it's between the high echelons or the man on the street.


The most important thing is getting your message across.

Last edited by Oldhand; 09.11.2019 at 15:28. Reason: spelling.
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  #122  
Old 09.11.2019, 08:00
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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I have never understood why UK English people have always adjusted their accent, based who they are talking to.

It’s absurd.
Another oblivious RP speaker chimes in.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how black people feel when you say "oh, I don't see colour - we're all one race, the HUMAN race!"
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  #123  
Old 09.11.2019, 09:24
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Re: Which English do you speak?

Another big survey on UK regional accents, fascinating!


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/nov/09/england-regional-dialect-survey-university-of-leeds
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  #124  
Old 09.11.2019, 09:27
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Re: Which English do you speak?

Ay up me duck, I tak' me bus to town, me does! (Nottingham)
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  #125  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:19
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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I don't find it absurd to modify your accent to communicate with people who don't speak the way you do.



Communication is an art, wether it's between the high echolons or the man on the street.


The most important thing is getting your message across.
Couldn’t agree more.

If I didn’t adjust the way I spoke my mother-in-law wouldn’t understand some of what I said. The most hilarious part is finding my mother and my mother-in-law in the same room and I’m having to play the translator because the one only speaks Midwestern American and the other hasn’t ever learned that one! They’re both English mother tongue speakers but can barely understand each other—and it’s not even a question of accent but mainly of vocabulary and usage that doesn’t match up.
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  #126  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:27
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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I have never understood why UK English people have always adjusted their accent, based who they are talking to.

It’s absurd.
I guess it's happening in other places too, not only UK. To a certain degree at least.
And for your knowledge, non-native speakers of English (at least a good part of them) work hard on their accent too. If you didn't grow up with an English governess or attended a British boarding school or whatever, you really need to put some effort. It doesn't come "natural".... At least not for most people. Yes, there are those exceptionally gifted for languages, but most people acquire these skills through some work/effort.
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  #127  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:43
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Re: Which English do you speak?

Is this accent modification a sub-conscious or a conscious decision?

Either way, I do not put on a Yorkshire accent when I go up to the Dales, and I'm sure I don.t add "no whaa a mean?" at the end of every sentence when I visit London.
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  #128  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:50
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Re: Which English do you speak?

I’m from the US and I adjust my accent depending on situation. And sometimes it‘s automatic.

My native accent is South Western Pennsylvania. It‘s heavily influenced by Appalachia. (If you ever hear “Pittsburghese” or Someone identifying as a Yinzer, that’s it). I lost a lot of it....mostly from singing, but when I talk with family or friends from the area, it comes back.

My speech now is fairly nondescript US English. Years of working, giving presentations, writing and resisting the adoption of Southern US speech patterns (I will not say Y’all, for example) has impacted that. Depending on the situation, I can be more or less formal, or speak more simply. And pronunciation changes too.
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  #129  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:55
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Is this accent modification a sub-conscious or a conscious decision?

Either way, I do not put on a Yorkshire accent when I go up to the Dales, and I'm sure I don.t add "no whaa a mean?" at the end of every sentence when I visit London.
Both, depending on circumstances. My OH has an RP accent until he either speaks to his Scottish family and/or has a skinful, then it's unconscious changes. He can also change at will.

I'm more neutral than is habitual for me when in a classroom, different when down the pub in my home village.


It's exactly as Oldhand says above.
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  #130  
Old 09.11.2019, 10:56
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Is this accent modification a sub-conscious or a conscious decision?

Either way, I do not put on a Yorkshire accent when I go up to the Dales, and I'm sure I don.t add "no whaa a mean?" at the end of every sentence when I visit London.
Both. It's automatic to some extent when somebody spends a long time in a particular community. For speakers of non-prestigious accents, however, it is necessary to consciously adapt one's accent in order to get and keep jobs, succeed in education and so on.

As commented above, people who already speak a prestigious accent are largely unaware of this. Everyone else is painfully aware of it!
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  #131  
Old 09.11.2019, 11:09
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Both. It's automatic to some extent when somebody spends a long time in a particular community.
I concor but it's funny because when I admitted that I had done that on another thread - after spending a fair amount of time on the Indian sub-continent, I ended up sub-consciously adopting mannerisms of the locals - I was accused of racism and mimicry. It took me about two years to stop doing it.

Australia is one of those places where U.K. English people easily seem to adopt accent and again, it takes a year or so out of the country to lose it.

But getting back to regional accents, I have a friend from the South of England who moved up there a few years ago and I'm pretty sure he hasn't picked up any of the local accent.
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  #132  
Old 09.11.2019, 11:20
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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I have never understood why UK English people have always adjusted their accent, based who they are talking to.

It’s absurd.
"I don't understand" would be a nicer way of putting it.

It's not "absurd" to UK speakers, as the fast growth of this thread indicates. In the UK, class and geographic origin matter a lot and accent is one key marker of that.

My parents are both RP speakers. When we moved to NE England (Prudhoe) from the South, I was six. I had to learn Geordie to be understood and to survive without being beaten up. My mother told me recently that my accent magically changed as I crossed the threshold.

At 11, we moved to Cheshire and my Geordie ("that's dead (very) good") got me into trouble again. So, out went the Geordie.

Adapting my accent was not so absurd, IMHO.
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  #133  
Old 09.11.2019, 11:24
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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I have never understood why UK English people have always adjusted their accent, based who they are talking to.

It’s absurd.
It’s not absurd at all.

If I hadn’t toned down my yorkshire accent my mother in law wouldn’t have understood half of what I said. What’s the point in talking to people if they don’t get what you’re saying?
She also had to moderate her cockney sometimes to accommodate me.
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  #134  
Old 09.11.2019, 11:55
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Ay up me duck, I tak' me bus to town, me does! (Nottingham)
Nah ... t'town - or in Stoke 'oop t'town'

BTW it is not just about UK English speakers. I've learnt at a very early age to tone down my Neuchâtel accent as and when. I remember the introduction Lecture at Leicester Poly, by the Head. He explained how essential it is to adjust one's accent when teaching and speaking to parents, in order to be successful and go up the ranks. Bizarre- as he had the strongest, clipped, South African accent. It was certainly essential for me to adopt RP sort of French, not only accent but expressions, vocabulary and ways of counting, etc- as I was going to teach French on top of the two subjects chosen for B.Ed.Hons Degree.

Melwyn Bragg, in his book on the English language, also recollects how he grasped very quickly that to succeed at Grammar School and on to Oxford (or Cambridge, can't remember from top of head) he had to get rid of his strong Lancashire accent.

Currently I still dip in and out of several accents in both French and English - depending on who in the family or friends, etc, I speak to. Happens totally naturally.
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  #135  
Old 09.11.2019, 12:05
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Also: elocution lessons allow working and lower-middle class people to become effectively bilingual. Anyone who mocks them for being "fake" can shove their privilege up their entitled, oblivious arse.
Indeed, however they are the ones that over do it, listen to the Late Sir Ronald Waterhouse GBE a high court judge who came from Wales for an excellent example, he also stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Waterhouse
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  #136  
Old 09.11.2019, 12:19
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Indeed, however they are the ones that over do it, listen to the Late Sir Ronald Waterhouse GBE a high court judge who came from Wales for an excellent example, he also stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Waterhouse


Are you saying privileged entitled fellas don't do too well with labour constituents?
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  #137  
Old 09.11.2019, 12:33
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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Are you saying privileged entitled fellas don't do too well with labour constituents?
I don't think he was privileged, Welsh boy made good.
OTOH Tony Benn managed it for 47 years & he inherited his peerage.
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  #138  
Old 09.11.2019, 14:19
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Re: Which English do you speak?

You adapt your accent to survive.
I learned early on that I couldn’t possibly speak American English in a British school.
I learned my «oranges and lemons» pretty quick on the playground.
And my mother was quite taken aback when I called her «Mummy» instead of «Mommy». Both my parents were puzzled at my «Mummy, mummy, we had a big bonfire to punish a bad man called Mr. Fox, who blew up houses and apartments!»
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  #139  
Old 09.11.2019, 16:59
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Re: Which English do you speak?

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If I hadn’t toned down my yorkshire accent my mother in law wouldn’t have understood half of what I said. What’s the point in talking to people if they don’t get what you’re saying?
She also had to moderate her cockney sometimes to accommodate me.
Exactly.
My mother-in-law speaks beautiful English despite it not being her mother tongue, and though she only learned to speak English during her 40yrs living in South Africa, she never picked up that accent. My Cheshire sis-in-law worked to modify her accent when she was teaching English in Greece, so the m-i-l has her as contrast. I have to work hard to modify my accent and be understood with her. I have to speak up, slower and clearly.
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  #140  
Old 09.11.2019, 19:26
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Re: Which English do you speak?

Not totally relevant to this thread but very funny, and very true:

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