Why No accent English doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as “no accent” English

Jun 17, 2019 | English and Study Tips, Smart Brains Spotlight

Why no accent English doesn’t exist

Matt Jackson

Smart Brains Spotlight


 

 

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Today we learned about “Why No accent English doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as “no accent” English. It is linguistically, biologically and logically impossible for that to be the case.

 

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Why no accent English doesn’t exist, Why no accent English doesn’t exist

 

Why No accent English doesn’t exist

Why No accent English doesn’t exist | Matt Jackson

 

 

Why No accent English doesn’t exist

 

Matt Jackson

 

How can I become fluent in English?

 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist Answer by Matt Jackson, (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language). All credit goes to Matt Jackson, Thank you!

 

 

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Why No accent English doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as “no accent” English

 

There is no such thing as “no accent” English. It is linguistically, biologically and logically impossible for that to be the case.

 

If there was a “no accent” English, it would have to mean one of two things – either there is some kind of neutral, “factory setting” that would be the default for all native English speakers if they weren’t “corrupted” by other external factors, or that there is some univerally accepted standard for English.

 

The first is clearly absurd- how would this even be possible? Taking the idea at its most extreme, there are plenty of people in my city, Glasgow, whose ancestors, were Cantonese speakers, Polish speakers, Irish speakers, Urdu speakers, who speak locally-accented English. Language is not genetically encoded in the brain, which is what this would actually mean if there were a “neutral accent”. In any case, how in practical terms would this work? For example RP English“Standard British English” pronounces “bath” with a long “ah” sound while Northern English and Scottish accents say it with a short “a”. Is one the correct, factory setting? Are we genetically programmed to pronounce “bath” with a long “ah” but this has been overridden by environmental factors in Northern England or Scotland? Go on then, genius, show me which gene variant controls THAT and you’ve just revolutionised linguistics for ever. In any case, how could we determine which version of English was the “true”, “correct” English from which all others deviated? Which one is the genetically determined version and which one is the deviation?

 

It’s actualy almost a medieval view of language, like James’s IV of Scotland’s attempt to find out what humanity’s, original true language was, when two children were raised in isolation to see what language they would come out with without external influences. They concluded that this was Hebrew. The King of Scotland’s Peculiar Language Experiment Perhaps an Israeli speaking Englishhas an accentless accent?

 

If you took a softer version of this idea, a historical view, and claimed that “accentless” English was the closest to the original with “accents” being deviations caused by geographical isolation or substrate languages etc, then actually Scottish pronunciation is often the closest to Anglo-Saxon. Is this the true, accentless English? (WARNING: CONTAINS HARDCORE SWEARING).

 

 

Thank you, youtube – picador191

Unfortunately, even Spud’s Edinburgh accent (which I chose because it is a dialect that has never had much contact with Gaelic), doesn’t much resemble actual Anglo-Saxon as far as we can tell from reconstructions:

 

 

Thank you, youtube – Leornende Eald Englisc.

Perhaps this is what French speakers and Spanish speakers mean when they always mystifyingly talk about “anglo-saxons” as if this is actually a thing in 2019? However, since nobody in the real world actually speaks like this, I think we have to conclude that the “historical” method of determining accentless Englishis as doomed as the biological one.

 

You could move from an “essentialist” view of “accentless” English, and argue that “accentless” English is a social convention and that it is English spoken “correctly”, as defined by some authority. The problem with the “correctness” view is that there is no unifying authority to English that could determine what “accent” is the correct standard and that no such convention therefore exists. The UK government considers 18 countries to be majority English speaking for visa purposes and this ranges from Canada to Jamaica to New Zealand and Ireland. Which of these is “accentless”? Who decides? God? You? Even if there were a ruling body which decided, how could they actually decide which accent was the standard in the first place?

 

An accent is essentially a regional pronunciation. There have been attempts to establish “non-regional” accents such as General American or RP in the UK. The problem is that these are still regional as they establish you as being American or British, both of which are “regions”. If you took an RP speaker who maintains they “don’t have an accent” and stuck them in Ohio they’d stand out like a sore thumb. Equally someone with the blandest possible American accent would stand out a mile as being American in New Zealand. What we dealing with here is not the lack of an accent, but having an accent that is less specific – it still narrows down your geographical origin but with less accuracy than a more specific accent. I can tell someone from Glasgow from someone from Lanarkshire (just next door) or from Edinburgh (just a bit further along) and this is a lot more precise than saying someone sounds “British” because they speak RP but it doesn’t mean that RP speakers, contrary to their protestations are accentless.

 

In fact the geographical non-specificity of RP is much exaggerated. It is very clearly based on upper-middle class South East of England accents and not on e.g. Yorkshire English or Aberdonian English. Basically, people from other regions of Britain may have, in the past, “lost their accents” by learning RP, but this is basically them just learning to speak like a Southerner because this was deemed more “correct” as it was a more prestige dialect. They’ve swapped accents, not lost one. RP is presented as a geographically non-specific accent because that is less offensive than the actual reality which has somewhat classist, regionalist, and possibly even colonialist implications when coldly examined. I’m also willing to bet if you plot the percentages of people who speak with “non-regional” accents that they cluster geographically even within those countries in which they are said to be non-regional. The percentage of RP speakers in Surrey will be higher than the percentage in Rotherham.

 

The bottom line is that every English speaker has an accent. People who claim they don’t have one do so because a) everyone around them has the same accent and so they haven’t thought about how they would someone to someone from a different part of the world or b) they have an accent which is less specific than some others which means they can only be placed to within 200 miles rather than 20. In some cases, the belief of some people that they have “no accent” is almost an existential thing – part of a natural human tendency to think that their own way of doing things or seeing things is the “natural”, “correct” one that can’t be argued with. Realising that you too have an accent which is as arbitrary and strange as anyone else’s causes some people unease.

 

I saw an American Quoran once deny that a Mid-West accent is an “accent” because it is so “plain”. This is actually a restatement of the idea that there are “neutral factory settings” and all other accents are some sort of “embellishment” just in different words. That accent only seemed plain and unadorned because it was familiar. People who are unfamiliar with it would find it as attention-grabbing as any accent.

 

As a final aside, the people who seem most convinced that a “correct” accent exists are non-native speakers learning English. It is natural perhaps to think this given that they will have spent years having pronunciation errors corrected but really this is just a pedagogical convenience – something that doesn’t match the (wide) range of possibilities of English speaking accents is unlikely to be understood. The belief that I’ve sometimes seen that this means that there is a “correct” accent in English and that native-speakers who don’t learn e.g. RP are just lazy, does not follow. Arguably, the only English which can really be “correct” is formal written English which is an artificial standard that has much less regional variation and does tend to be “policed” by style guides, genre conventions (e.g. academic writing, which I teach), newspaper house styles etc. Even native speakers have to learn formal written English as a “foreign language”. However, even then there are differences. Even within the UK, Scottish formal written English is actually different to formal English English in subtle ways – examples include the use of “uplift” and “outwith” that don’t occur in the latter. (“Uplift” in formal Scottish English has a different meaning, that of “collect” – it frequently appears in communications from city councils referring to rubbish collection).

 

Short version. There is no accentless English. Every human being has an accent as language is learned, not innate, and it is always learned within a certain community context where it is spoken differently than in other contexts. There is no global standard of English from which others can be considered deviations and even if there were some worldwide governing body of English like the Spanish RAE, there would be no way in principle of determining which accent was the “correct” one. Written English often does have conventional standards but formal written English is an artificial language that is fundamentally different to spoken english and even then standards may differ slightly.

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist Reference: Matt Jackson. “What accent is “no accent” English?originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

 

 


 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist Expert Tips From The World-Renowned Experts :

 

 

Although no accent English doesn’t exist. But you can follow these top tips to reduce your foreign accent.

 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist  Spoken English Practice – Speak Slowly

 

 This is very important to ensure that native speakers understand what you are saying.  Always try and speak slowly and clearly making sure you pronounce all the syllables (part of a word we pronounce) in every word.  Try practising talking out loud by yourself or with a member of your family or with a friend.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Spoken English Practice – Learn Spoken English from Native English Teachers. Our Unique Approach is 6X Faster than any other Teaching Method. Improve in Weeks!

 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist  Speak More Clearly – a trick to help you pronounce the voiced and voiceless ‘th’ sounds more easily

 

Besides holding your tongue out between your teeth long enough, and not flicking it back too quickly, there’s also another tip you need to know.  

As you hold your tongue out between your top and bottom teeth, you also need to consciously make it flat or wider. This makes it easier to send the air out over your tongue so it sounds like a proper ‘th’ sound.  You may need to just stick your tongue out between your teeth at first without making a sound, and practice making the front of your tongue flat or wide. You could do this in front of a mirror at first to help you get the positioning and feel of it.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Speak More Clearly –  Speak More Clearly | 15 Minutes/Day Accent Course‎.

 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist Quick and Dirty Tips – Listen to an Accent You Want to Imitate

 

Another option is to record and imitate an accent you really like.  For example, this could be a news anchor, a character on TV, or a classroom teacher.  Listen to them as often as you can and try imitating their pronunciation. As a native speaker with a heavy Philadelphia area accent,  I sometimes practice a technique where I repeat directly on top of the speaker.  I usually turn on my local NPR station in the car and repeat the exact pronunciation and intonation of the speaker.

If you are new to this technique, try listening to a podcast instead because you can slow down the rate to half speed and pause wherever you need. This will help you to get the rhythm of English.  English words are often connected together—two words sound like one—so practicing this technique will make your pronunciation sound less robotic. Plus it’s fun to hear how others pronounce and phrase their words.  

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Quick and Dirty TipsQuick and Dirty Tips is a website and podcast network helping you do things better. (QDT – Lisa B. Marshall)

 

 

Why no accent English doesn’t exist  WiKi How – Practice getting rid of your accent at least five days a week.

 

Practice makes perfect is a common saying for a reason. You will not lose your accent unless you consciously work on doing so. Take some time out of your day five days a week to work on the accent you desire to have. You should practice at least 15 minutes, but 30 minutes to an hour is ideal.

  • Use your practice time wisely. Choose a specific thing you want to work on every time you practice. For example, use one day to work on rhythm.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by WikI How – Learn how to do anything with wikiHow, the world’s most popular how-to website. Easy, step-by-step, illustrated instructions for everything.

 

 

  Life Hacker – Watch youtube

 

There are many tutorials on YouTube that folks can consult for self-study, which is a great place to begin. Attempting to speak in GenAm as much as possible is going to help speed the learning process up considerably. If the speaker didn’t grow up speaking English, one of the biggest things they can do the help themselves is to watch as many things as possible in English, and to parrot back what they are hearing. Podcasts are now a fabulous free resource to have on in the background. A coach is incredibly useful to connect the dots, as it were, and draw the speaker’s attention to really finely tuned sounds and tongue/lip movements, but someone can make a great deal of headway if they really have American shows or films on all the time and work to imitate what they are hearing.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Life HackerLifehacker is the ultimate authority on optimizing every aspect of your life. Do everything better. (Life hacker – Nick Douglas)

 

 

Speech and Voice Enterprises – Intonation

 

Intonation, known as the rhythm and melody is the most important skill to master to speak with less accent and improve English pronunciation. Without using American intonation your speech may sound fast, choppy or monotone. 

Intonation is a term describing how pitch, rhythm and melody are used to group phrases together. American English has a very specific melody style unique from most languages. Learning how to speak English with correct intonation will significantly improve your English pronunciation.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Speech and Voice –  LoveToKnow: Advice you can trust. ( Speech and Voice Enterprises – SVK27)

 

 

  Throughline – Read out loud

 

Read out loud and practice saying the last sound of each word. English grammar depends heavily on how words end, which sets it apart from many other languages.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Throughline – Throughline | Presentation Training and Media Training Company. (Throughline – BRAD PHILLIPS)

 

 

Learn Languages On Your Own – Phonetics

 

Phonetics revolves around the sound of languages.

These sounds are produced by our vocal apparatus, which is the set of body parts we use to speak (that’s basically our mouth, nose, throat, and lungs).

Now:

Each of these sounds is produced at some specific place in the vocal apparatus and in some kind of manner.

Why does this matter?

Because this is the basis of every vowel and consonant.

So, if you want to easily learn how to correctly pronounce a consonant you’re not familiar with, you’d better know about its place and manner of articulation. Vowels are similar in that regard.

 

Thank you, please visit the original published article by Learn Languages On Your Own. Learn how to learn any language without studying grammar, memorizing vocabulary or spending any money by following this complete and detailed method.

 

If you think about it, our lives are an endless pursuit of answers and new questions. So how can YOU take action to ensure that your learning never comes to an end?

 

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