Proven ways to get a native-like accent

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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Adrianslont » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:51 pm

Atinkoriko wrote:I find it deeply ironic that the same people who point at RP as being a symbol of linguistic prejudice also do their very best to discriminate against RP speakers.

A very good example of this is the fiasco that George Osbourne found himself in when he tried to sound less RP in an effort to build rapport with the workers at a Morrison's store to whom he was giving a speech. Of course, he was soundly mocked for his efforts. I have no doubts at all that if he had stood there and given the speech in his characteristic RP accent, he'd still have been mocked for alienating them with his accent.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... -work.html


On the other hand, the same people come together to vote the Birmingham (Brummie) accent as the least intelligent sounding in the UK, an accent 'worse than staying silent'. I can't help but imagine what these people want the ESL crowd to do, risk learning a regional accent that still carries a lot of baggage or risk learning a more neutral non regional based accent in the form of RP which still guarantees some form of negativity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... shows.html

Interestingly, a friend of mine from the non-posh side of the tracks in Bath, Somerset got his first teaching job in Birmingham and the kids mocked him mercilessly for his hick accent. He deliberately lost it quickly. So even the supposed bottom of the pecking order sees someone else as lower.

What do people expect of immigrants? I think they expect them to eventually sound something like locals/their peers but also expect them to retain much of their foreign accent. So an Indian with a Brummie accent is going to do fine in Birmingham.

And maybe beyond Birmingham - I just remembered I have a friend of a friend who is a Brummie Indian who moved to London and is now the leader in his field in the U.K. And he has a Brummie accent. So there is hope even in class ridden Britain.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Random Review » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:20 pm

Atinkoriko wrote:I find it deeply ironic that the same people who point at RP as being a symbol of linguistic prejudice also do their very best to discriminate against RP speakers.

A very good example of this is the fiasco that George Osbourne found himself in when he tried to sound less RP in an effort to build rapport with the workers at a Morrison's store to whom he was giving a speech. Of course, he was soundly mocked for his efforts. I have no doubts at all that if he had stood there and given the speech in his characteristic RP accent, he'd still have been mocked for alienating them with his accent.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... -work.html


On the other hand, the same people come together to vote the Birmingham (Brummie) accent as the least intelligent sounding in the UK, an accent 'worse than staying silent'. I can't help but imagine what these people want the ESL crowd to do, risk learning a regional accent that still carries a lot of baggage or risk learning a more neutral non regional based accent in the form of RP which still guarantees some form of negativity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... shows.html


Well firstly RP is sooooo not neutral. Not even close.

I have to agree with you about Brummie, it's something I've run into before and prejudice is ugly wherever it is found. Even there, most people will not think less of you for using a strong Brummie accent as a foreigner and a mild Brummie accent will not even attract comment.

As for George Osborne, it's not ironic at all. He's despised by working people for being a stuck up, over-privileged, [expletive] who doesn't know he's born if he uses RP and is honest about who he is; and he's even more despised for being a disingenuous, stuck up, over-privileged [expletive] who doesn't know he's born if he tries to disguise it.*

There's absolutely nothing ironic here. People know when someone is genuinely trying to connect and when they are being manipulated and they don't like the latter. Someone more genuine than that [expletive] might have got better results and the media are always ready to mock a politician who doesn't know their a*** from their elbow when they make a fool of themselves in public.

* To get the general idea, American members might like to contemplate how it would come across if a politician with a reputation for policies that harmed African Americans were to show up to give a speech to a group of African American workers and put on a bad attempt at BVE in an attempt to [s]manipulate[/s] connect and how the media would report this.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Random Review » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:41 pm

Adrianslont wrote:
Atinkoriko wrote:I find it deeply ironic that the same people who point at RP as being a symbol of linguistic prejudice also do their very best to discriminate against RP speakers.

A very good example of this is the fiasco that George Osbourne found himself in when he tried to sound less RP in an effort to build rapport with the workers at a Morrison's store to whom he was giving a speech. Of course, he was soundly mocked for his efforts. I have no doubts at all that if he had stood there and given the speech in his characteristic RP accent, he'd still have been mocked for alienating them with his accent.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... -work.html


On the other hand, the same people come together to vote the Birmingham (Brummie) accent as the least intelligent sounding in the UK, an accent 'worse than staying silent'. I can't help but imagine what these people want the ESL crowd to do, risk learning a regional accent that still carries a lot of baggage or risk learning a more neutral non regional based accent in the form of RP which still guarantees some form of negativity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... shows.html

Interestingly, a friend of mine from the non-posh side of the tracks in Bath, Somerset got his first teaching job in Birmingham and the kids mocked him mercilessly for his hick accent. He deliberately lost it quickly. So even the supposed bottom of the pecking order sees someone else as lower.

What do people expect of immigrants? I think they expect them to eventually sound something like locals/their peers but also expect them to retain much of their foreign accent. So an Indian with a Brummie accent is going to do fine in Birmingham.

And maybe beyond Birmingham - I just remembered I have a friend of a friend who is a Brummie Indian who moved to London and is now the leader in his field in the U.K. And he has a Brummie accent. So there is hope even in class ridden Britain.


That bit in bold isn't quite correct mate. It's not what is happening. To use RP in a working class context comes across as making a claim to some kind of class privilege (knowledge, access, whatever). It comes across that way because it is routinely used in exactly this way in British society (thank God less than it once was) and it is unfortunate that it comes across this way even with people like your friend who in no way intend it that way. People will react to that in ways that range from grudging acquiescence through mockery to (in extreme cases) violence depending on the exact context and the options they have available.

If anyone not from the UK wants to see exactly what connotations RP has in that country, they can have a look at the sitcom "Keeping up appearances" (though admittedly most of the humour revolves around the fact that the leading character, a working-class lady who aspires to the upper-middle class, can't back up the social claims her accent, manners, interests, etc are making).
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Atinkoriko » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:44 pm

With all respect, I will strongly disagree about the Brummie accent. It is rather illogical to look at a survey that shows that the Brummie accent is strongly discriminated against and then produce the argument that people wouldn't discriminate against foreigners with Brummie accents.
You're assuming two things here. First, that the people doing the discriminating would even know that he's a foreigner. Secondly, that they'd be able to override the instinctive feelings of prejudice even if they knew he's a foreigner.

Even if I overlook the first assumption, the 2nd one falls flat precisely because of the very nature of prejudice. Prejudice is, by it's very definition, irrational. What you're proposing is that such a prejudiced person, who views native Englishmen with Brummie accents as unintelligent, would suddenly make a rational U turn and provide a benevolent exception to his prejudice when it comes to non native speakers.


As for your argument about George Osbourne being a special case as with regards to discrimination towards RP users, I'll not press the point further but simply present a new example : One showing a BBC presenter who was sacked for 'sounding too posh'. What is ironic is that, as a self described 'mixed -race South Londoner: half Pakistani, half-English from an ordinary background', *she is neither 'overprivileged' or 'disingenuous' but is discriminated against nonetheless.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... r-BBC.html

If discrimination of any kind is unjustified, then by extension discrimination against RP users is unjustified. You can't say 'You're discriminating against me by using this accent so I'm justified in discriminating against you'
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Random Review » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:21 am

Atinkoriko wrote:With all respect, I will strongly disagree about the Brummie accent. It is rather illogical to look at a survey that shows that the Brummie accent is strongly discriminated against and then produce the argument that people wouldn't discriminate against foreigners with Brummie accents.


I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that in my experience a mild Brummie accent is not discriminated against. When you say "Brummie", people think of a strong accent. Now it is a very ugly thing, but strong local accents in general (and a strong Brummie accent more than most) are associated with low levels of education in the UK (because until very, very recently it was essential to weaken your local accent if you had any pretensions to a prestigious job and even today it is still an advantage) and so in practice people are simply forming stereotypes to use as rules of thumb.

I'm not going to argue that this is OK, because it isn't; it's a very ugly and unfair thing; but it's not irrational, because 7 or 8 times out of 10 it is correct (although increasingly less so and I my subjective impression is that such prejudices are starting to weaken to reflect that). That's the nature of heuristics.



Atinkoriko wrote:You're assuming two things here. First, that the people doing the discriminating would even know that he's a foreigner.


In practice people always ask you where you are from, they are interested in that. I've never known someone for more than a few days without finding that out. I think it's a fair assumption that 99 times out of 100 people will know you are a foreigner.

Atinkoriko wrote:Secondly, that they'd be able to override the instinctive feelings of prejudice even if they knew he's a foreigner. Even if I overlook the first assumption, the 2nd one falls flat precisely because of the very nature of prejudice. Prejudice is, by it's very definition, irrational. What you're proposing is that such a prejudiced person, who views native Englishmen with Brummie accents as unintelligent, would suddenly make a rational U turn and provide a benevolent exception to his prejudice when it comes to non native speakers.


Prejudice is always ugly and unfair; but isn't necessarily more irrational than any other heuristic (see above). I guess it seems that way because the most well-known examples (racial and sexual prejudice, etc) are irrational (but hardly surprising given the sheer volume of subtle propaganda people were exposed on these subjects until just a few decades ago). If people are using strong local accents as a probabilistic marker of low education level, they are not going to apply that to foreigners. Sadly, I know people have other prejudices regarding the probable education level of immigrants from different foreign countries that they will apply and (again) they are both staggeringly unjust and more-or-less useful rules of thumb. I must stress that even though I am arguing that it is not irrational, I totally agree that this is not OK.


Atinkoriko wrote:As for your argument about George Osbourne being a special case as with regards to discrimination towards RP users, I'll not press the point further but simply present a new example : One showing a BBC presenter who was sacked for 'sounding too posh'. What is ironic is that, as a self described 'mixed -race South Londoner: half Pakistani, half-English from an ordinary background', *she is neither 'overprivileged' or 'disingenuous' but is discriminated against nonetheless.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... r-BBC.html

If discrimination of any kind is unjustified, then by extension discrimination against RP users is unjustified. You can't say 'You're discriminating against me by using this accent so I'm justified in discriminating against you'


I'm not saying discrimination against RP speakers is justified, not at all; I'm saying it's very rare in the UK. Very rare indeed (and occurs in limited circumstances where being liked by the general public is important). Now that story above is a very sad case, but the very fact that is newsworthy tells its own story because as of when I left the UK last December, I knew of not one single case of a TV presenter (who wasn't a professional comedian) with a strong regional accent! Even the local news in Sheffield, which was consciously trying to appear local, had presenters with mild Yorkshire accents.
It is also very telling that a very intelligent and successful woman had found it advantageous to adopt RP in the first place (if she had an "ordinary" background, she will not have grown up speaking it). Advantageous right up to the point were being liked by the public became a more important factor than being respected by other professionals in the industry. That ought to give pause for thought.

Anyone who thinks that discrimination against speakers of RP is a major problem in the UK is either not from the UK or lives in an overprivileged bubble. Contrast that with prejudice against speakers of strong regional accents, which is a major problem.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Adrianslont » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:47 am

Random Review wrote:
Adrianslont wrote:
Atinkoriko wrote:I find it deeply ironic that the same people who point at RP as being a symbol of linguistic prejudice also do their very best to discriminate against RP speakers.

A very good example of this is the fiasco that George Osbourne found himself in when he tried to sound less RP in an effort to build rapport with the workers at a Morrison's store to whom he was giving a speech. Of course, he was soundly mocked for his efforts. I have no doubts at all that if he had stood there and given the speech in his characteristic RP accent, he'd still have been mocked for alienating them with his accent.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... -work.html


On the other hand, the same people come together to vote the Birmingham (Brummie) accent as the least intelligent sounding in the UK, an accent 'worse than staying silent'. I can't help but imagine what these people want the ESL crowd to do, risk learning a regional accent that still carries a lot of baggage or risk learning a more neutral non regional based accent in the form of RP which still guarantees some form of negativity.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... shows.html

Interestingly, a friend of mine from the non-posh side of the tracks in Bath, Somerset got his first teaching job in Birmingham and the kids mocked him mercilessly for his hick accent. He deliberately lost it quickly. So even the supposed bottom of the pecking order sees someone else as lower.

What do people expect of immigrants? I think they expect them to eventually sound something like locals/their peers but also expect them to retain much of their foreign accent. So an Indian with a Brummie accent is going to do fine in Birmingham.

And maybe beyond Birmingham - I just remembered I have a friend of a friend who is a Brummie Indian who moved to London and is now the leader in his field in the U.K. And he has a Brummie accent. So there is hope even in class ridden Britain.


That bit in bold isn't quite correct mate. It's not what is happening. To use RP in a working class context comes across as making a claim to some kind of class privilege (knowledge, access, whatever). It comes across that way because it is routinely used in exactly this way in British society (thank God less than it once was) and it is unfortunate that it comes across this way even with people like your friend who in no way intend it that way. People will react to that in ways that range from grudging acquiescence through mockery to (in extreme cases) violence depending on the exact context and the options they have available.

Hi Random Review. I think you have misunderstood/misread what I meant by the bit in bold/anecdote about my mate. That may be my fault, I could have been more explicit. Or I may have got something wrong and am still getting it wrong! Anyway, I'll give it another go:

My mate didn't have or use an RP accent when he started teaching in Birmingham - he had a West Country accent i.e. he sounded like a pirate or farmer and pronounced his home town as "Bath" not "Barth"(excuse lack of IPA). In short he spoke with a stigmatised accent. I just thought it was notable that Brummie was stigmatised as "the least intelligent sounding in the UK" and yet here were these Brummie working class kids (supposedly bottom of the pecking order) mocking my mate's accent (which they saw as lower in the pecking order).

As to everything else you said, I understand and agree with completely. Although I live in Australia I am originally from England, "oop north" to be vaguely exact and I had a Manc accent until I was a teenager - and I think I basically understand about accent, society and politics in the UK. It's nice living in Australia where this isn't as big an issue - accent doesn't so closely reflect class, education and rural/urban background as it does in the UK (though it is still sometimes an issue).

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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Voytek » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:16 pm

I've been using the Olle Kjellin's method for about 60 hours and I'm very curious what results I'll get. But after 8 hours of my Swedish prosody training I recorded some samples and asked jeff_lindqvist for his opinion. Here it is:
If you can pull off this accent in your everyday Swedish, well done. But don't let me stop you if you want to work on your prosody.


I had been studying Swedish for 250-300 hours when I sent the samples to Jeff.

Source:
http://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5427&start=10

the Olle Kjellin's method
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51074116/Kjellin-Practise-Pronunciation-w-Audacity.pdf

The whole training should take, by average, about 100 hours.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:24 pm

Did you continue with your prosody training?

The samples shown on Olle's site are pretty good, e.g. the short ones with nothing but a city address. Learners of Swedish often exaggerate the tones/pitches (or aren't close at all). It's probably something that Mandarin speakers can identify with. Either it sounds like Mandarin, or it doesn't.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Voytek » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:29 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:Did you continue with your prosody training?


Yes, I did and I'm still doing my prosody training to make it a bit more closer to the native one. I guess I'll send some samples to you soon if you don't mind, of course. :)
Last edited by Voytek on Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proven ways to get a native-like accent

Postby Ingaræð » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:00 am

jeff_lindqvist wrote:The samples shown on Olle's site are pretty good, e.g. the short ones with nothing but a city address.

Are the samples on the Swedish section of his website? I can't find any on the English one...
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