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The person narrating in the attached MP3 link sounds like a good narrator, but I was wondering what his English accent is. It's difficult for me to say because I am not a native English speaker. Is that an American accent? British, Asian, or German maybe?

Here is the link to play the MP3 recording (It starts playing as soon as you open the link). http://boomp3.com/mp3/6x6h4jfbaww-what-a...

The other question is: is it an annoying accent for the ear of an English native speaker?

  • It's not American or British or any other native speaker (including Indian). I would guess Italian or Spanish, but it could be others. – Robusto Mar 2 '15 at 14:48
  • Hard to tell, but sounds like there is some sort of Japanese influence in the speech due to how the speaker pronounces "r". – Vilmar Mar 2 '15 at 14:49
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    Guido is Dutch. – tchrist Mar 2 '15 at 14:57
  • @Vilmar: No, definitely not Japanese. – Robusto Mar 2 '15 at 14:59
  • @tchrist, that was a very smart guess, but I know the narrator is not Guido, the author of Python. – multigoodverse Mar 2 '15 at 15:15
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The replies made so far mentioned that the narrator might be Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, German, French, Swiss, Belgian, Austrian, Russian or Czech. Someone also guessed Eastern Europe. As the poster of this question, I knew where the narrator came from since in the beginning. The narrator is actually me. The reason I didn't want to disclose that the voice was mine was because that kind of information would lead to biased answers (looking at my name, my profile information, history, etc.) The reason I posted this question was to understand if there is any distinct accent in my spoken English. Here's the big answer: My mother tongue is Albanian. I have learned British English in school, but I have practiced and communicated with Americans during my career.

Given that the answers included 11 different nationalities, it is maybe correct to say we're dealing with a neutral accent here, but of course, that is a bit relative, and many would argue that.

  • Boy, I was enjoying that. You really shouldn't post answers to your own questions the same day! :) Even that is way, way too soon. Anyway, we've learned a lot about the commenters! One problem with your audio is that you're very obviously reading, not talking. Everyone speaks a bit strangely when they read - including native speakers. – Araucaria Mar 2 '15 at 22:02
  • Curiouser and curioser... I'd like to know the first language of the teacher that taught you English in school. Albanians who learn English in the US sound different - more like a combination of a Greek and Italian accent. – Oldbag Mar 3 '15 at 11:09
  • @Oldbag, five different teachers have taught me English over the age span of 8 to 18 years. All of them were Albanians. I have used English as my primary means of communication for 1.5 years while living in Portugal and Germany. That has neutralized my accent I believe. However, I still think my compatriots have a similar accent to mine. I have had to do with Italians and Greeks, and I can say that their English accent is too different from that of Albanians, but that probably vary among different settings - maybe, in US, foreigners put a lot of efforts to talk in a US accent. – multigoodverse Mar 3 '15 at 13:35
  • @Ardit S.-Thanks! Very interesting. Among the immigrants from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a definite pressure not to sound like a foreigner. Now, though, immigrants are more likely to embrace the accents (and other characteristics) of the English spoken by those of their own culture. Hence, we have words like "Spanglish" to describe the different types of patois. – Oldbag Mar 3 '15 at 13:49
  • My first take was some sort of Germanic language. Seemed unlikely to be Scandinavian since most younger Scandinavians speak better English than that, given that learning English was a high priority in Scandinavian schools. (And no way would I have guessed French.) – Hot Licks Mar 3 '15 at 16:15
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I'll answer as honestly as I can. My comments imply no criticism, just what I hear.

There are several aspects to recognising an accent.

  1. Whether or not you are a native speaker

Clearly you are not a native English speaker. You have an accent that corresponds to no native accents. You are not as fluent as a native speaker and your vowels are accurate but your consonants give you away. For example the 'l' sound which I imagine led someone to wonder about Japanese.

  1. The accent of your teachers

I would say that your accent sounds European rather than American and that you learned from British English teachers or from teachers who themselves learned from British English teachers. (or possibly from Germanic non-native English speakers rather than from Latin based languages) Your vowels approximate much more to Received Pronunciation as spoken in middle-class England than to anywhere else I can think of.

  1. Whether the listener is familiar with the accent of your compatriots

I suspect that the variety of guesses arose, not because your accent is neutral (it isn't) but because it is unfamiliar.


Finally you ask whether it is an annoying accent. That's a loaded question - it also relies on personal opinion which is discouraged here. I think that that the most 'annoying' thing about any accent is a lack of precision that prevents one from understanding certain words. The words I found difficult to hear were 'store' and 'amount' in both of those cases the 't' sound was absent or at least suppressed. It took me several attempts to understand 'store' which still sounds like 'sort' to me even though I now know from the context what it must be.

Once again, I hope you perceive no criticism here. When I ask about my Spanish pronunciation for example I like native speakers to answer as accurately as possible.

  • Very constructive feedback indeed. – multigoodverse Sep 15 '15 at 8:19
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Czech Republic? Some type of Russian accent is in his voice.

  • I work with Russians - I'm not hearing it. There's a "laziness" in the tongue that is definitely not that influence. – Oldbag Mar 2 '15 at 15:58

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