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I'm an English learner and my mother tongue is Portuguese. I've been studying English(American) for 5 years. I lived a year in Northern Virginia, United States, however, my Portuguese accent is still very present.

Now I have an oportunity to study in the UK for a year, more specifically in Wales. So I started listening to more British English in order to get used to that. I have some difficulty understanding British accent sometimes.

Now I'm afraid my accent will become a mess, a mixing of American and British , because I will start listening to a lot of Bristish accent.

Should I try to keep getting the American accent or should I change it?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drew, Scott, Helmar, Chenmunka, Centaurus Sep 21 '16 at 15:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    There is not one U.S. or U.K. accent. Accents are regional and can vary even within the same state. So, where you stayed in the U.S. and where you intend upon staying in the U.K. will heavily influence which accents you're referring to. Only with that information, could one guess whether they would combine well or not. So, would you mind including the information on where in the U.S. you stayed, and where you intend upon staying in the U.K.? – user197185 Sep 21 '16 at 3:17
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    @J.D. Yes, good comment. We need to realize something that overlays BE vs. AE divide, something that has little bearing on regional accents in the UK/US. The Anglo-way is to use body's diaphragm to initiate projection of voice outwards. Trained actors at RADA & Central are taught breathing exercises to project voice in theatre in this way; there's also technique for resonating voice seemingly from frontal skull. US situation different: people use vocal cords in conjunction with back of throat/nasal cavity, giving adenoidal/nasal characteristic, one that sets it apart from UK-based speakers. – Peter Point Sep 21 '16 at 4:15
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    P.S.  … to get used to that.  … difficulty understanding the British accent …  … I'm afraid  ̶o̶f̶ my accent will become a mess … (or, optionally, … I'm afraid that …) – Scott Sep 21 '16 at 5:05
  • Thanks. I edited the question. I lived in Northern Virginia and I'm going to Wales. – Murilo Sep 21 '16 at 12:25
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    There are lots of Americans who spend a year in England and come back speaking with slightly-British-sounding accents. Nobody has much trouble understanding them. – Peter Shor Sep 21 '16 at 13:08
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American accent vs. British accent? I think that you should decide on whichever is more comfortable for you and then redouble your efforts to be able to follow and derive the most benefit from your English language studies in the UK.

My guess is that your teachers will use BE in class. Native English speakers in the UK speak BE but they can also understand AE (the accent & differences in vocabulary) because TV in Britain has so many American TV programmes and lots of daily news coverage from the US.

In preparation for when you arrive in the UK, may I suggest that you tune into the BBC's 24-hour world channel on TV. Listen and enjoy BE on the BBC when you are living and studying in the UK. Avoid watching American TV programs (AE spelling of "programme") until you have made sufficient progress to be able to better understand both AE & BE in equal measure.

You should avoid mixing BE with AE and vice-versa when you are speaking and writing class assignments. Please remember that the importance of one form of English over the other only really becomes a problem in situations when you are communicating in English with another non-native speaker of English: your common tongue (lingua franca) should then be either 100% AE or 100% BE. In the UK, I would do your best to adopt BE to ensure that you are able to communicate in English with your teachers, classmates and new friends.

  • + 1 for good advice. – Centaurus Sep 21 '16 at 2:38

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