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24

What do we mean by "dialect"? First of all, let me say that the distinction between "dialect", "slang", and "language" is fuzzy, arbitrary, and fundamentally a social (cultural, political) construct. Two dialects of the same language can be mutually unintelligible (e.g. Moroccan and Baghdadi Arabic — significantly different on every level), while two ...


21

Spelling Canadian English tends to combine aspects of American and British spelling. Here are some highlights: Some nouns take -ice/-ence while matching verbs take -ise/ense. eg. practise / practice and license / licence Canadians tend to use the British -our ending rather than -or in some words like colour, flavour, labour, neighbour. Generally, words ...


16

Which specific accent are you looking to improve? Like this website illustrates, there are many of them! provide an overview of the variety of the sounds of the English language on various levels: in time, with our transcriptions of historical ancestor forms of English, from present-day back to Late Modern English, Early Modern, Middle and Old ...


15

You might be interested in The TELSUR Project, which is a high-granularity phonological survey of North American dialects. Note that the information presented on that site is very detailed and highly technical. In particular, there is an overview of major dialect regions, of which they distinguish five major groups: West (basically everything west of the ...


15

As a native speaker of Midwestern American English, I don't hear my accent as an "accent", naturally, but I know it's there. Any English speaker will recognize that I'm American as soon as I open my mouth and start talking English (I occasionally do better in other languages), and they'll probably recognize my accent as "Midwestern", if they've ever heard of ...


13

You may be thinking of a Mid-Atlantic accent; it's a blend between an American accent and an English accent. As the Wikipedia article notes, film stars like Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn used it, and more recently Cheers and Frasier star Kelsey Grammer. You can hear it with Grant and Hepburn in 1940's The Philadelphia Story (clip on YouTube). ...


12

Hwoa! Hwat’s with the hwistling hwisky? > In which English accents do they put an h before every word that starts with wh? That isn’t what’s going on — you only think you hear an h, because your phoneme set doesn’t include this sound, but its use is pretty common in various accents. Which accents? Lots. Scottish. Irish. Several counties in the north ...


11

It seems to me that the most sensible way to head off these problems would be to explain to the class before doing any spoken English work that there is no such concept as "Putonghua" for English. While it may be OK for China, which has traditionally strived to be a rather centralized society, English has its major cultural centers diffused all over the ...


11

As mentioned in a previous answer to one of your questions, this is called Mid-Atlantic English and was commonly used in American films of the 1930s and 40s. Wikipedia gives the following reasons that someone would use the accent: Intentionally practiced for stage or other use (as with many Hollywood actors of the past). A version of this accent, codified ...


10

The Atlas of North American English has a rather broad definition of the West. Its primary characteristics are: The merger of words sounding like cot and caught (they're pronounced the same) The fronting of /uw/, as in boot but not /ow/, as in boat No monophthongization of /ay/, as in ride So, these features more or less distinguish the West from its ...


10

This is a huge question. Canadian English has many differences from American English. But it also has many differences from British English. Spelling tends to favour the British way, such as putting the U in favour. Except for words that Americans end in -ize instead of ise; in that case Canadians often use -ize. Much of the word choice is closer to ...


10

Have a look at this highly relevant paper: Towards an automated classification of Englishes by Søren Wichmann and Matthias Urba from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) Have e.g. a look at the tree-like structure on page 4, Fig. 3.1. (unfortunately the referenced paper therein doesn't seem to be available publicly).


10

OK, there are a couple of things that you need to tackle initially: if students have it into their head that there exists one single accent that is "the correct" one, then you need to start by educating them on that point: explain to them that no two people have a precisely identical accent, that the associations we attach to different accents are purely ...


10

The literary in-joke of Pyrzqxgl is that nobody would know how to pronounce it correctly lest they cause people to transform. There is a page here dedicated to the joke, writing: No, I mean, what is the correct pronunciation of Pyrzqxgl? This is a deep secret known to only a few magic users today, and disclosing the exact pronunciation of the word ...


10

The Northeast. This US dialect splatter chart shows that just over 75% of Americans pronounce aunt and ant (the bug) the same. It’s broken down further, but the ~ohnt pronunciation is primarily from the Northeast.


9

I would say they are related (and often go hand-in-hand) but are separate things. I would describe a dialect as a regional variation on a language which is differentiated from others by the use of different words (or words in different contexts). For example (bad example but the only thing I could think of), some people from more northern regions of the UK ...


9

I am no expert, but it sounds to me like his first language is a European one. His pronunciation of some words is similar to people from the Balkans or other Eastern European nations. Spain is a wild card. There's a hint of Irish in there too, but it's not full-on. The clues for me are: "Strategies", (0:40), Spanish, Bosnian, Croatian? "Skimming", ...


9

The phonotactics of Italian does not include a sequence -tsm-, therefore Italian speakers naturally pronounce it dropping a vowel between -ts- (rendered as [ʦ] as in "razza", 'race' /ˈraʦʦa/ or, in phonemic notation, [ˈratːsˑa]) and -m-. The standard epenthetic vowel in Italy is [e]: e.g. in Tuscan, "sport" is, again, naturally pronounced [ˈspɔrte]. ...


8

If you're into phonetics, Omniglot's Welsh language, alphabet and pronunciation guide seems like a good place to start. IDEA's Dialects and Accents of Wales has some thorough recordings. The text transcriptions are particularly useful as they mention features of that specific accent sample. From a more pop-culture perspective (read: American), Catherine ...


8

Just so you know, modern British English doesn't sound much like English would have sounded like when Australia or the US/Canada was colonized. In fact, many Southeastern US accents are closer to British English from the 16-1700s than British English is today. The accent from Tangier Island, Virginia (video) is about as close to British English from the ...


7

There's no really good answer to this question, but we can take a stab at it if we accept some very broad generalisations. English is a Germanic language by virtue of being descended from Proto-Germanic (which is a matter of geography and historical migration patterns). Setting aside the question of English dialects for a moment, among all the Germanic ...


7

There are word choices that make me think the speaker's native language is not English. There are words that are not pluralized that should be and other words seem to be dropped. The "para" in paragraph has hints of Russian as the speakers native language. Listen to the long O sound in the way he says story.


7

I'm in a similar boat to you. I don't know that it's really possible to pin down a regional accent. The consensus appears to be that there are three types of accent, broad (that's your country, 'ocker' or Strine), cultivated (like Peter Costello or Geoffrey Rush), and general (that'll be your town accent). You're more likely to pick up on someone's region ...


7

I know this is very late, but I would warn you that almost nobody in the United States speaks like that nor has spoken like that since before World War II. Generally speaking that accent mimicked many of the ways of speech of the upper classes in New York and Boston (listen to a recording of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: it is very similar.) The dialect that ...


7

The character Aldo Raine is from Maynardville, Tennessee and is a hillbilly who enjoys bootlegging moonshine. While I'm unsure about the accuracy of Pitt's accent for the time period, it certainly sounds (possibly intentionally) overdone to my ears.


6

As an Australian, AmE, CaEn, NzEn, EnEn, ScEn, IrEn, ZaEn all sound quite "different". Tv personalities from America pretty much sound the same regardless of whether they are east or west coast. The same is not true however of the average american in the street. I'm not sure how you can't spot a Scot, especially one with a very heavy accent, as they are ...


6

summary: keep trying, keep listening. I think this is actually a fairly interesting question, to which there is both a simple, and a complicated answer. The complicated answer is that to fully understand how different accents work, you need to study linguistics, and phoenetics. Many rules for speaking with a certain accent can depend on relatively simple ...


6

The spelling (and for that matter also the etymology) is essentially irrelevant in the pronunciation of those words, and other WH- words with initial /h/. Sound changes apply to sounds, not spellings. Hence, any lect that drops initial /h/ will drop it on these words, too. I can't tell you anything about Cockney lects in particular, but linguists have ...


6

The uses of diacritic marks in modern English are quite limited, and diacritic marks can always be omitted without being incorrect. This applies equally to A and any other letter. Recent foreign borrowings: e.g. rôle, coup d'état, façade, etc. but role, coup d'etat, and facade are also all correct. Stage and poetry prosody: e.g. learnèd indicating a ...


6

Palatal vowels (i), semivowels (y), and liquids (r) often influence the sound of preceding consonants, a process called palatalization. This is most obvious with dental consonants like t and s, which typically become tch and sh. For example, train often sounds like tchrain. Palatalization is consistent for some English forms, like the shun sound of the ...



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