Interactive English: Reception

Reading and Listening

Listening: Accents

on December 24, 2015


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 4 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/grammar are different), but do you know of any native-Japanese accents?


22 responses to “Listening: Accents

  1. Emi Tanaka(T4) says:

    I answer question 2.
    In general, I am most familiar with accent used in the south England because I sometimes heard it in entrance exams. But I am also interested in accent that a Canadian man speaks. He pronounces words so clearly and strongly. It seems that people can understand easily what word he/she says. And accents of some words (for example “buoy” differ in three regions. Only Canadian woman has different “puma” pronunciation. That is funny!

  2. Yao T4 says:

    Hi, Matt. I’m Yao. Happy new year!!
    I’d like to answer the question 2. I think I ‘m most familiar with the first one, Northern accent. The pronunciation is quite exaggerated and that’s what we are told good pronunciation of English in China.Like the sound of [æ],we have to open our mouth big to make it diffirent from [e].But I don’t like to open my mouth so big so I don’t really like it. The coolist accent I think is the Southern England accent. It’s so elegant and noble and I don’t know why I feel like that. The sound of [əʊ] is especially cool. But it’s difficult for me to pronounce like that.

  3. reina inoue T4 says:

    I’ll answer question 1.
    I think I’m not familiar with the Canadian accents because they pronounced defferently.But it’s not defficult to listen. Northern England accents was most deffecult to listen… It’s partly because the way they speak. They speaked unclearly…!

  4. Chikako Tsuge(T4) says:

    I’ll answer to the question 3.
    People in Okinawa have Okinawan dialect which almost sounds like a foreign language, and they also tend to speak a little quickly and their accents are obviously different from other regions. Personally I like that.

  5. Akari Yamada (T4) says:

    I’ll answer question 2.
    Jordan’s accents (western Canada) are most familiar to me because I thought his accents are similar to American accents which is most Japanese get accustomed to hear. Western Canadian accents are familiar to me, central/eastern Canadian accents on the contrary, are little difficult to hear. Northern/southern England accents are easier to hear than central/eastern Canadian accents because England accents are often used on news like CNN. However they pronounce unclearly so this get me to hear little difficult.
    Jordan and Kat’s “Adidas” is coolest, I think.

  6. Mika Osada says:

    I will answer the question 1.
    For me, Dan’s accents (northern England) was most difficult to understand because he spoke like singing and did not pronounce clearly. He did not pronounce clearly second “t” of “status” or “t” of “vitamin”. His monotonous way of speaking makes it difficult to understand.

  7. Ayumi Nakahara(T4) says:

    I choose the question 1.
    It was difficult for me to understand Jordan’s English(Western Canadian) the most. That is because he sometimes pronounced some words in different ways from the other three people. I thought he’s pronunciation of vowels are especially peculiar, so maybe I cannot get his words without looking scripts.

  8. Tomoka mori says:

    Hi,Matt! Happy new year. I wish you could spend a nice year.
    The video made me laugh in a morning train. After watching that, I think women’s pronunciation is more clear than man, because they have high voice. So I think it is better that comparing woman’s accents.
    I will answer the question number 3. Do you know “Okinoerabu island “? The island located between Kagoshima and Okinawa, is belong to Kagoshima prefecture, but people who live in Okinoerabu speak Okinawa accent. Okinawan language is clearly different from normal Japanese. For example, chalkboard eraser, we say “kokuban-keshi ” in Japanese, but Okinoerabu people say ” ruble “. This different is very interesting for us.

  9. Yuki Yokomizo (T4) says:

    Hi, Matt. I’m Yuki. And Happy New Year^^
    I’ll answer No.2. I like Jordan’s accent (Western Canada). Usually I don’t mind English accent, but when I listened to different accents at the same time, I could make their individual difference clear.
    I think Canada’s one is more difficult to understand than England’s one. But for me, it seems cool.
    Some people say that British accent is better because speakers who use British English talk clearly so it’s cool. It’s true, but I’ve always wanted to speak naturally like native speakers so I admire Canada’s accent. Also, I have just known accents are different from area to area instead of the same country. It’ s interesting.
    Thank you.

  10. Yuka Hattori says:

    Hi,Matt! Happy new year.
    I will answer the question2.
    I was familiar with an accent of woman who is from southern England. The reason why I think so is that when they pronounced words “status” and “vitamin”, I could hear from her easier than the others. In addition, I thought I felt relax when I heard an accent of Canadian woman because I have a friend who come from Toronto as the same as her! Especially, a pronounciation of man from northern Canada was a different one from what I was used to listening to. An a accent I thought funniest is an accent of Canadian man. This is because his accent was boyond my expectation. His voice was clear and easy to understand, but I was sirprised at a difference of accents in one country.

  11. Miki Kashiwa says:

    I’ll answer the question 1.
    I feel that England’s accents are more difficult to understand than Canada’s ones. Especially Dan’s accents are most difficut to listen. He talks in a low voice and I think his pronounciation of the word “buoy” is peculiar.

  12. Ichiyo Shimizu says:

    The most difficult for me was northern England accents, which was spoken by the man on the right side in the video. I think he pronounced the words with no intonation. It was a monotonous way of talking. That’s why it was unclear what he was saying. On the contrary, two Canadians pronounced very clearly, with intonation, so I understood better.

  13. Keisuke Koyama (Chankei) says:

    What was the most interesting was these accents were rather different even if they were originally from the same country: Canada, British.
    Thinking about it, it is true to Japanese one.
    For example, Okinawa has RYUKYU dialect, which have spoken since Ryukyu kingdom existed, and Hokkaido has Ainu one. Theie culture was clearly unique, so these dialects is absolutely interesting to search for.
    In addition to that, most of area have intriguing ones. In my hometown, ‘nn’, ‘be’ are, I feel, often spoken when saying something, such as “nannnann”, kerunnbe”.

  14. Rika Morofuji(T4) says:

    I would like to answer question 3.
    I know Hiroshima-ben a little, because my grandparents live there. I visit them once a year, and every time, I feel that Hiroshima-ben is interesting.
    Hiroshima-ben is not difficult for me to understand, because strange words are not used so much in conversations. But I heard there are a lot of words unique in Hiroshima .
    Usually, accent and the end of sentences are different from standard Japanese. Hiroshima-ben is heard with strong expression a bit.
    I’m from Saitama prefecture and do not speak dialect. I envy dialects, because they make me feel traditions of the areas and something warm which reminds us of hometown.

  15. Aiko Narasaki says:

    I will answer question 3.
    My mother is from Hiroshima prefecture. When she goes back to her parents, sister or brother, she talks in Hiroshima dialects. It has some unique words. Actually my grandmother is from Kyoto prefecture and my grandfather is from Kyushu, so their languages are not the typical Hiroshima dialect.

  16. Atsushi Igarashi(T4) says:

    I’ll answer Quetion 3.
    I live in Yamagata, part of Tohoku. I sometimes use Yamagata-ben a little. I want you to know that there are many kind of Tohoku-ben and Yamagata-ben and other dialects in Tohoku are quite different!! Moreover, diarets in north Yamagata and those in south Yamagata are also different.
    Do you know Daiel Kahl? He loves Yamagata and talks Yamagata-ben fluently. He introduces how wonderful diarects are. I recommend to watch his TV program. You must be interested in diarects.

  17. Ayaka Kishino (T4) says:

    I answer question no.3.
    I know some interesting dialects because I was born in Sendai, miyagi and ,for the past three years,I lived in Nagahama,Shiga with my grandma who speaks in strong Sendai-ben.
    Shiga prefecture is in Kansai,so many people who never go there will think people in Shiga speaks Kansai-ben.
    However, in Shiga,there is two very different accents.Southarn one is similar to Kyoto-ben and Northern one is similar to dialects in Hokuriku. I think the reason is that there is the famous r big Lake Biwa in the center of the prefecture.
    And there are many different accents in Tohoku,too.For example,my grandma speaks with the suffix “-dattya.”In the famous comic “Uruseiyatsura”,the main character Ramuthan,a cute alien, speaks with this suffix. I think it is so interesting. I doubt that ,in fact, she is not an Uchu-jin but a Sendai-jin.

  18. Yu Kobayashi(T4) says:

    Happy new year Matt !l
    I answer question 1.
    Northern England English is the most difficult to listen for me.What makes it difficult is maybe the pronunciations and intonations. I have studied American English for a long time. and I get used to it.
    That is one reason why I can’t listen Northern England English well.
    This is interesting topic.
    See you !

  19. Ayaka Kishino(T4) says:

    I answer question no.3.
    I know some Japanese accents because I was born in Sendai,Miyagi and lived for the last three years in Northern Siga.Shiga prefecture is in Kansai, so many people will guess that people in Shiga speaks Kansai-ben, however,that is partly wrong. Actually,here are two different accents in Shiga. The southarn on sounds like Kyoto-ben,and the northern one sounds like dialects in Hokuriku. I think it is because of the famous big Lake Biwa.
    And there are many different accents in Tohoku,too. My grandma speaks with the unique suffix “-dattya.”In the famous comics “Uruseiyatsura,”the main character Ramuthan,a cure alien,speaks with the same suffix. So I wonder she is not an Uchu-jin(alien in English),but a Sendai-jin.Anyway, she shows that the dialects can be the charming point.

  20. Keishu Joi(T4) says:

    Hi matt! Happy new year!!

    I chose question2.
    I am most familier with accent of south England. I probably know why I am familier with the accent. The reason is maybe my teacher in junior high school and high school are both from south England. And their class was carried by his own English, which i remember that are easy to listen to.

    Also I thought “status” by Canadian was most interesting, because the pronunciation is completely different from “status” i know. So if i am spoken to by Canadian, i cannot understand what he says!

  21. Natsumi Mizumura (T4) says:

    Hi Matt! A happy new year!!

    I choose the second question, which of those accents I’m familiar with.
    I think we Japanese students are most familiar with 4th accent. Because her pronounce is very clear and it is mostly famous for Japanese.

    And I feel the 2nd man’s pronounce is funniest! Because his pronunciation is always accent on the top alphabet in one word.

  22. Kenji (T4) says:

    Hi Matt.
    How about your holidays.

    I went to Okinawa, so I’ll answer the first one. As you know Okinawa people speak a dialect whose accent is soooo defferent from ours that I can’t understand 100% of that. Also they have defferent vocabulary systems and there are so many deferences still in Okinawa dialect.

    Dusting my trip I heard some guys intended to make dictionary of Uchinah (Okinawa language) . Sounds interesting. Also, this will also have great influence on political situation of Japan because a nation start to make herself a nation state when national language is made. Then Okinawa independent act will be with great reality.


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