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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Stuff that keeps me up at night. Or something. 
24th-Nov-2007 12:57 pm
bearded collie
Poll #1094104 Stupid Stuff

I bought a Permanent Account here at Livejournal. Should I be able to will my journal to my heir? (Note that this is an opinion, not a request for information.)

I'm too young to think about this sort of shit.

Americans think (irrationally) that English accents sound smart and cultured. Am I the only one who always grew up assuming that the opposite also holds true--that the English think all Americans sound boorish and stupid?

Nope. That question occasionally keeps me up at night too.
I think you need to get back to your essays.

Err...so what sort of impression *does* a so-called standard American accent *actually* make in the UK? (If anyone knows.)

24th-Nov-2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Ever noticed that Americans in British shows always seem to have Texas cowboy accents and say stupid things? ^^;
24th-Nov-2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
English apparently stereotype Americans by what they eat, rather than what comes out of their mouths.
24th-Nov-2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
*dies laughing* The sorts of things that go into your mouth make the rest of us look bad. XD

I was asking about "standard" American only. So, like, your accent, say. Not the current President's. ^_~
24th-Nov-2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
The American accent is not viewed as one but many. (She left now.) And so it is hard to judge a nation when there are like New England, Southern, Midwestern, etc. And I think that was how she read it.

Apparently, my accent can be problematic. :( People keep hearing NEW when I say NEAR. Oye.

The implication was "Ew! Americans eat such crap!"
24th-Nov-2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
I actually bet that a lot of English can't hear the difference between a lot of American accents. (Like Americans can't hear the differences in English accents.) That's why I said "standard." For example, I don't think either of us speak what would be considered "standard," but most people (even Americans, I find) can't really tell the difference.

I've been having communications breakdowns with regards to education-related terminology with our visiting English prof. ^^;; We both think we're speaking the same language...but we're not.

Edited at 2007-11-24 07:38 pm (UTC)
24th-Nov-2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
British university system is crack.

Also, did I mention that Germans are cracked? I can get your frustration when you tried to apply or were looking at one. Serious WTFery.
24th-Nov-2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
Oh they’re ones to talk *thinks jellied eel*
24th-Nov-2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
Fish and chips, bangers and mash. Not McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, KFC for the UK.
24th-Nov-2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Gotta admit, fish and chips is one of my most favorite meals ever ^_^;
25th-Nov-2007 11:46 am (UTC)
Here in England, we get a lot of American shows and I'm pretty used to being able to tell the difference between the basic accents, sure, I couldn't say 'oh yeah, that accent is Texas, but that one's Tennessee' but I could tell the difference between, say, a New York accent and a Texas one. Certainly better than Americans seem able to tell the difference between my Northern English accent and a Cockney (London dialect) one.
As for the 'American accents sound dumb' thing, yeah, there's a bit of that around. It does depend on the accent though, since some people would say the same thing about people with Northern accents like mine (it sounds a bit Wallace and Gromit ish).
Things we think sound stupid would probably be:
1. When you talk like this? Going up at the end of all your sentences? Like you're asking a question? (some Brits and Aussies picked this up. It's annoying in any form of English).
2. Pronouncing all the syllables of a word, like saying 'VEE-hick-ul' for 'Vehicle'. Oh, and with British place names this also applies, 'Birmingham' is pronounced 'Burming'am' not 'Burming-HAM'.
3. Speaking really slowly (American speech rhythm is slower than the British, so if somebody sounds like they speak slowly to you, imagine how that'll sound to a Brit. You just want so shout 'AGH! Get on with it!')
4. Mispronunciation of 'Aluminium', 'Laboratory' and 'Nuclear' (okay, I KNOW that you spell 'Aluminium' with a syllable missing, but I still think 'A-loo-minum' sounds ridiculous. Maybe because it has our word for 'toilet' in it. I think 'Al-yoo-minnie-um' sounds much nicer).
5. When you guys try to use British slang. Just don't try it. I had to live with American Harry Potter fans who kept saying 'Bloody Hell!' only they pronounced it like 'Bladdy Heyl'. It sounds just as bad as when British people say 'Howdy', 'Rock on!' or 'dude'. We should probably come to an agreement not to use each other's slang words.

If you don't do many of these things, you probably won't sound stupid, especially if you have something intelligent to say.
25th-Nov-2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Why does everyone always mention Texas accents first when I talk about "American" dialects? Must be the Bush effect. >_< But you know, a lot of Americans think that Southerners of all varieties sound stupid and talk too slow. I'm from the Northeast (New Jersey, actually, but I don't have the stereotypical Jersey accent), and I've heard that Americans from other parts of the country say that we sound elitist (more sarcasm than any other part of the country, which I'm sure doesn't help)...and have a tendency to talk too fast. So it's tit for tat.

I'm actually most curious about what people think of the generic, newscaster type American accent (the sort that an American would tell you is "accentless") that doesn't have a very strong regional attribution. Since it's so common, but no one ever really talks about how it sounds to them. (Usually, they're all about the Texas...)
26th-Nov-2007 09:56 am (UTC)
I can't say I'm familiar with the New Jersey accent. I brought up Texas because it's a distinctive accent (It's only the same as how if you guys talk about British accents, you always bring up Cockney and Received Pronunciation.) and I've met people from Texas. Like some British people, the Americans are often ashamed to speak with a regional accent and go for 'neutral American', which just sounds...American to us. I think that's kind of sad in a way, because I actually like American regional accents better than plain American. When I was living as an exchange student in Japan, we had a fair bunch of Americans, and the people with the nicest sounding accents were these two lasses, one was from Kansas (or as she pronounced it, 'Kyanzas') and the other had a strong Californian accent. Kansas has a really warm sound, very sunny and down-to-earth, and California sounds kind of breezy and laid-back. I like some of the eastern states where people sound a bit Irish or like Devonshire English.
I don't try to hide my obvious Cumbrian accent myself. Some people may think my accent sounds less intelligent than others, due to its association with farming, but I have a degree in Japanese, which speaks for itself really. Maybe because of that, I respect people who don't try to hide their dialects even if there's prejudice against that accent.
26th-Nov-2007 10:16 am (UTC)
Actually, the only English accent I can reliably recognize is the one associated with Liverpool because one of my high school classmates was from there. ^^; I wouldn't know Cockney from Received Pronunciation if my life depended on it.

I've never bothered to deliberately change my English accent (though I can pass for native Korean and Japanese, which is something different entirely--and learned) because most Americans would find my speech neutral and regionally non-specific. My accent is most distinctive, I think, in inflection and tone (as opposed to pronunciation)--nasal, low-pitched, and rough. Err...are you familiar with the musical Wicked? The woman playing Elphaba in this clip has the same accent I do:
I was just listening to it, so it occurs to me. (Listen for the spoken "blonde" and "your voice" early on.) Oddly, the accent I have always gets more pronounced the angrier the speaker gets. (If that sounds disturbing...it probably is.)

Funny you mention Americans speaking slowly. I've been taking a class with a professor visiting NYC from Cambridge this past month, and I think he talks really slowly. Which is awfully nice since it gives me plenty of time to digest his lectures. Maybe he's just doing that for our benefit. (It can't be imitation because we all talk way faster than he does.) ^_^;
25th-Nov-2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
the answer to no.1: "You've been having insomnia and it's starting to affect your brain!" XD

Answer to no.2: Yes. Definitely. I've witnessed it several times myself.

25th-Nov-2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Answer to no.2: Yes. Definitely. I've witnessed it several times myself.

Witnessed what, exactly? ^^;
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