Interactive English: Reception

Reading and Listening

Listening: Accents

on January 18, 2013


Accents are a way of pronouncing language that is particular to an individual, place or language group. Accents can often tell us where a person lives, their socio-economic status, their ethnicity, their first language, etc…

Watch this VIDEO then, in the comments, answer one of the questions below:

1. Out of the 21 accents, which one was the most difficult to understand? What was it about that accent that made it unclear?

2. Which of those accents are you familiar with? Which one sounds the best/coolest/funniest?

3. Tohoku-ben and Kansai-ben are dialects (pronunciation and vocabulary and grammar are different), but do you know of any native-Japanese accents?


7 responses to “Listening: Accents

  1. Shino Yanagimura says:

    hi. I have met people who speak Russian, Chinese, Italian, British and Texas accents in my life so I’m familiar with them.
    I watched the video and thought British and Itaian was really nice.
    Texas accents are cool too, and I loved Sandy from Spongebob!
    I wish I had British accents.
    by the way, i wasn’t able to pick up any word from the accent from 0:30 in the movie….

    • tufsmatt says:

      Ha ha ha! The accent from 0:30 is from Scotland. Even for me the Scottish accent is quite difficult to understand – especially if they come from the countryside.

  2. Satomi Togari says:

    2. Which of those accents are you familiar with? Which one sounds the best/coolest/funniest?

    Almost all of them except for the ones in the US; it’s maybe because have been to summer schools in England where students come from France, Russia, Germany etc. : )
    My favourite is the “elite British accent”, it sounded really pretty. And the Scottish one; I find it cute that they say “wee” instead of “small”.
    I really enjoyed the video; how does one learn how to speak in all these different accents??

  3. Shogo Inoue says:

    2. Which of those accents are you familiar with? Which one sounds the best/coolest/funniest?

    I’m familiar with some of the accents, but I’m mostly familiar with the Australian accents. I’m not very familiar with the American accents as other’s since I didn’t have any American friend around me. I used to learn French in Australia, so I’m also used to French accent English. I like how they speak English with French accents. French accents are very unique and it adds some character to the English accent.

  4. saya says:

    So interesting video!!!
    I played it three times and I tried in vain to imitate the pronunciation.
    I found the cockney dialect so funny and it reminded me of the film “My fair lady”. Although in that movie, this dialect is regarded as savage, I like this dialect.
    It was difficult to catch strong Australian accent.
    I couldn’t find any difference between California and Washington.

  5. Ayumi Sugaya says:

    2. Which of those accents are you familiar with? Which one sounds the best/coolest/funniest?

    I’m familiar with American accents, especially the California one. This is because I have watched many American movies, or because I have been to America several times. Although California accent was the most natural for me, I thought the accent of Tront,Canada was the coolest. I like the intoned and fluent pronunciation. I also Scottish accent was the most difficult to understand.

  6. Wataru Okubo says:

    2. Which of those accents are you familiar with? Which one sounds the best/coolest/funniest?

    Californian and North West accent sounded most familiar (or “standard”) to me, I couldn’t figure out the difference between the two though… Anyway I remembered that lady’s voice trapped in an electronic dictionary and it’s sort of strange but I felt relieved when I heard them. Also, Canadian accent sounds nice, eh?

    As to the second question, my answer is determined ever since I saw My Fair Lady; anything sounds fabulous if Audrey Hepburn speaks with it. But not every person can speak like her, of course. I think I have a problem understanding any British accent. I enjoy watching Premier League (professional football league of England) and so I sometimes see the interviews, too, but I can’t understand much what a player or manager is saying and I just turn it off. But it’s fun to see people from various areas speak with different accents.

    It’s really intriguing that such differences of accent can be explained linguistically (or by following the history of English.) So, I believe we can be familiar with any accent if we practice and spend a lot of time, because until some years ago, even American accent sounded unfamiliar to me. Another interesting feature is that accent doesn’t show up as much as speaking when singing.

    Speaking of Japanese dialects, I probably couldn’t understand most of dialects in the countryside, for example the one in Okinawa would sound like a different language. However, I think it’s interesting that regardless of where s/he is from, as far as I know, people around my age can communicate in Tokyo-ben. I felt it’s great because when I was talking with someone I met in the university I didn’t have any clue where s/he comes from until s/he told me where. But it may be simply because I didn’t pay attention much then. I’m curious to know what kind of different accents Japanese learners make, too!

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