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Old 01.03.2009, 21:00
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My English accent is too strong :-(

I have been happily learning German and speaking it with enthusiasm, if little skill. Recently, a couple of people have told me that my accent is 'very English' and they find it hard to understand me. This has taken me aback, as my accent is pretty neutral in GB - a hint of Northern England via the vowel sounds, but otherwise I'm considered bordering on 'posh' by my family in Lancashire.

So, now I'm a bit paranoid that I sound rather comedic when I speak, and I've started noticing that people in shops are laughing a bit when I talk to them. What can I do to amend my accent to make it less 'English' and more comprehensible? Or will this come with time, and I should just carry on regardless?
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:08
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

I am from the north west of England, and people had problems understanding me saying i spoke to fast, so i started speaking slower and now they have no problems understanding me
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:13
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Thanks Sutter :-) Where abouts in the NW are you from? I think I speak too fast too - has been suggested I do when I speak English to English as an additional language speakers, so maybe I need to slow down my German too. Though it's not that fast to begin with!
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:15
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Just continue! as more you practice as better it will sound soon. I don't know if you have any Swiss friends but it will help to share some time with them, so you hear it and you can practice in one. And if these are true friends they won't laugh, they will suport you! Hang in there German is a difficult language!
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:17
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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Thanks Sutter :-) Where abouts in the NW are you from? I think I speak too fast too - has been suggested I do when I speak English to English as an additional language speakers, so maybe I need to slow down my German too. Though it's not that fast to begin with!
Manchester, you? Have you ever heard yourself speak German? I heard an English friend speaking German after many years of knowing her only speaking English and i had the shock of my life her accent was so British, i dread to think what i sound like speaking German
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:21
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

my teacher at a VHS in Germany said, while u can look up grammer, vocab etc (from books, dictionary etc) u have to pretty much learn to mimic the locals, when it comes to pronunciation.

i still have trouble with "höhere", which comes out "hurhurhur"
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:22
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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I have been happily learning German and speaking it with enthusiasm, if little skill. Recently, a couple of people have told me that my accent is 'very English' and they find it hard to understand me. This has taken me aback, as my accent is pretty neutral in GB - a hint of Northern England via the vowel sounds, but otherwise I'm considered bordering on 'posh' by my family in Lancashire.

So, now I'm a bit paranoid that I sound rather comedic when I speak, and I've started noticing that people in shops are laughing a bit when I talk to them. What can I do to amend my accent to make it less 'English' and more comprehensible? Or will this come with time, and I should just carry on regardless?
Oh crap sorry i never read all your post (not normal for me) ok i was always wondering when i spoke German many people would answer me back in English, it was only when i heard my English friend (see my other post on here) German i realised why, i was also paranoid and said i am not speaking German anymore, but then thought yes i will i am PROUD i learnt German so i will use it, and now don`t care what other ignorant people think, as most can`t speak English (the ones that laugh at us) OP also be PROUD and ignore there smirks
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:31
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Thanks Sutter :-)

I'm from Accrington, and spent many happy weekends shopping in Manchester as a teenager. My accent is more Ascot than Accrington now though, and I'm now hugely paranoid that I sound like the English equivalent of Herr Flick when I speak German! As you say though, I'll just persevere - at least I'm making the effort

Hsiang/Easy - I don't have any Swiss friends, but I will listen out more and try to mimic the accent I hear. I guess it all takes time...
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:39
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Yes, We've noticed that we can sometimes hear people's english accent in their German (and we barely speak the german) - I'm finding I can 'detect' a native speaker - their speech is smooth and they talk fast...

The best one I heard was someone who had a very broad scottish accent, speaking German with the same inflections, tone/intonations - we could tell they were scottish even though they were 'speaking' German....

It's no different to speaking English with an Australian, New Zealand, Chinese, or any other accent - you will learn to speak more 'clearly' to the locals, but there are some sounds you just won't be able to emulate, because 'mother tongue' develops by about age 8, and after that we can't 'hear' some sounds - let-alone say them...like your brain filters some sounds as if they weren't there at all...

Oh, just had a thought - when we were in India, the locals told us we 'spoke too fast' - but we didn't speak any faster than they did (in Indian-style English) - it's just that our accents are difficult - we found we could understand them better (because we had experienced Indian-style English before) - but for someone who had never heard the Australian accent before, they found it much more difficult...
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:41
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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Thanks Sutter :-)

I'm from Accrington, and spent many happy weekends shopping in Manchester as a teenager. My accent is more Ascot than Accrington now though, and I'm now hugely paranoid that I sound like the English equivalent of Herr Flick when I speak German! As you say though, I'll just persevere - at least I'm making the effort

Hsiang/Easy - I don't have any Swiss friends, but I will listen out more and try to mimic the accent I hear. I guess it all takes time...
Your welcome, i miss shopping in Manchester. Stick with your positive attitude and you will go far
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:58
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Basically I would say "Hut ab" that you learn speaking German and use it in Switzerland

Look I am Swiss and my mother tough is Swiss German. I will never be able to speak High German like someone from Germany or I am sure you will always here that my English has an German accent (even I was quite proud that an Hawaiian ones told me that my English sounds like the one from Boston when I staid on Hawaii)

One good thing for training is written above. Try to meet Swiss person and practice with them. Maybe try to find a tandem partner as many Swiss likes to learn and practice English

Don’t give up and do not care what other think about - I never did
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Old 01.03.2009, 21:59
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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my teacher at a VHS in Germany said, while u can look up grammer, vocab etc (from books, dictionary etc) u have to pretty much learn to mimic the locals, when it comes to pronunciation.

i still have trouble with "höhere", which comes out "hurhurhur"


As long as it doesn't come out as "hüere" you'll be OK!!
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Old 01.03.2009, 22:11
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Yes...I normally go around with my 'German' or 'Schwitzerduutsch' until I am asked if I should prefer to converse in English...

Then I usually fall back into English...before gathering the courage to blah around in German or Schwitzerduutsch again!

Don't give up...the others have not mastered your language...
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Old 01.03.2009, 22:31
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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As long as it doesn't come out as "hüere" you'll be OK!!
this is the next swiss german word of the day
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Old 01.03.2009, 22:36
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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As long as it doesn't come out as "hüere" you'll be OK!!
that's "horse" in english, no?
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Old 01.03.2009, 22:38
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Not really
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Old 02.03.2009, 08:43
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

My English has a Nordic accent, my French has an English accent, my German has a Hebrew accent, my Portuguese has a French accent, my Italian, well I don't speak Italian yet ...

Honestly what does it matter ... and if someone laughs at you because of your accent it is simply because they find you cute, or even a little sexy perhaps ... ?!!
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Old 02.03.2009, 09:21
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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I have been happily learning German and speaking it with enthusiasm, if little skill. Recently, a couple of people have told me that my accent is 'very English' and they find it hard to understand me. This has taken me aback, as my accent is pretty neutral in GB - a hint of Northern England via the vowel sounds, but otherwise I'm considered bordering on 'posh' by my family in Lancashire.

So, now I'm a bit paranoid that I sound rather comedic when I speak, and I've started noticing that people in shops are laughing a bit when I talk to them. What can I do to amend my accent to make it less 'English' and more comprehensible? Or will this come with time, and I should just carry on regardless?

Hey, Maud. I can only sympathise. I can't begin to imagine what my spoken English sounds like to native English ears. (Amusing at least, I hope.) When a girlfriend and I spoke to each other in English (that's our language in common) when we were travelling around Italy, some young Italian men laughed at us saying, "You both look Asian. Why do you speak to each other in English?"

Try using livemocha.com -- you can imitate and practise German pronunciation in the lessons and exercises and fellow members will help correct you (and you can in turn help them with their English). Keep at it! Never stop yourself from speaking German even if there are silly nuts around you giggling; it's the fastest way to learn.
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Old 02.03.2009, 10:31
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

Its ok...this weekend someone said i speak German with an English accent and I am actually American.

My German teacher said I spoke with such an American accent that he had to really concentrate to hear me.


From my experience, Germans seem to be more sensitive to American and English accents and will gladly comment on that. Either they will comment or they will speak English to you. On the other hand, Germans seem to be more surprised and impressed that an Anglo-American learned German in the first place.

(vast generalization, but only speaking from my experience)
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Old 02.03.2009, 10:43
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Re: My English accent is too strong :-(

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I have been happily learning German and speaking it with enthusiasm, if little skill. Recently, a couple of people have told me that my accent is 'very English' and they find it hard to understand me. This has taken me aback, as my accent is pretty neutral in GB - a hint of Northern England via the vowel sounds, but otherwise I'm considered bordering on 'posh' by my family in Lancashire.

So, now I'm a bit paranoid that I sound rather comedic when I speak, and I've started noticing that people in shops are laughing a bit when I talk to them. What can I do to amend my accent to make it less 'English' and more comprehensible? Or will this come with time, and I should just carry on regardless?
Bark out your words -- don't "speak them". Deepen your voice a bit as well. When you walk into a shop pretend that is their country you have just annexed and you are now giving the orders.
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