How would you describe this Spanish accent?

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How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby whatiftheblog » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:10 pm

Stumbled into an interesting conversation on Twitter today and thought this might be a fun question to ask here. Manuel Valls, France's former PM, was interviewed on Spanish television today. For some background, he was born in Barcelona to a Catalan father & a Swiss-Italian mother, raised in France since age 5, I believe, and naturalized at age 20. He's now 55.

Here's his interview in Spanish: http://www.antena3.com/noticias/espana/ ... 4f6aa.html

Feelings on Valls/Catalan independence aside, how would you describe his accent? Twitter was divided - some claimed it was Catalan, others French ("so French I can even understand what he's saying!" went one memorable French tweet), but to me he sounds like a Spaniard who's lived in Colombia for a while. What do you think?

* edited to fix the family background portion
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby Ogrim » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:43 pm

Thanks for sharing. I am not a native speaker of Catalan, French or Spanish, but to my ears his accent is difficult to place. There is something in the intonation that reveals that he is not a native Castilian speaker, but he certainly does not have a strong French accent. From time to time I think I hear the Catalan influence, (e.g. the pronunciation of certain non-stressed vowels) but his Spanish doesn't sound particularly Catalan either.

I remember reading an article about Valls back when he was appointed Prime Minister. If my memory doesn't fail it said that when he was young he would speak Catalan and Italian with his parents, so although he obvioulsy learnt Spanish when he was a kid (and hasn't forgotten it) it was not an every-day language once the family moved to France.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby Serafín » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:38 pm

His Spanish is very good and decent. He does not sound like a native speaker, but his French accent is very slight. Grammatically you can detect French influences like using aprender with an indirect object to mean "to teach", or using the imperfect where I'd use another tense, but it's nothing too serious.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby nooj » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:45 pm

I was expecting a horrible (hey, this is subjective, aesthetics are all subjective) French accent. It was really quite good.

I also can't place it, because it's obviously not one of the Spanish accents in Spain. No Catalan I've ever heard speaks like him. It's a Spanish that is a heritage language, and we all know that heritage languages can differ quite a bit from a language that was fully acquired.

Does Valls speak Catalan?
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby Ogrim » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:07 pm

nooj wrote:Does Valls speak Catalan?


He does, and as far as I can tell as a native. Check out this video of an interview with the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby Carles » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:42 pm

As a native Spanish speaker who also speaks French, I think his accent does indeed sound French. Not strong, but distinct enough and he would not pass as a native Spanish speaker.

It reminds me of Pepé Le Pew from Looney Tunes and Lumière from Beauty and the Beast. It is not the same, but similar enough to trigger those old memories hahaha.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby zenmonkey » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:06 pm

Wow, he speaks rather well.

Definitely not a strong French accent - I would have a little difficulty placing his origin if I did not know it beforehand - I would likely place it in the Catalan/Occitan region rather than French.

Having heard him speak Italian (apparently well), German (lol - nein), English (he admits he speaks it rather poorly) and Catalan I would suggest that his 'voice' is quite unique in Spanish and neither the same as his French or Catalan voices.

I think that a lot of people who speak Spanish and do not have frequent access to Catalan will hear that accent and consider it closer to French and not the roots of a 'Langue d'Oc'.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby whatiftheblog » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:47 pm

Thanks for the replies, everyone! This is a great discussion :D

Ogrim wrote:
nooj wrote:Does Valls speak Catalan?


He does, and as far as I can tell as a native. Check out this video of an interview with the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.


That's really cool, thanks for sharing! I've never had much exposure at all to spoken Catalan, but I can understand him quite well; the host, definitely less so. Fascinating.
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby Saim » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:59 pm

Ogrim wrote:
nooj wrote:Does Valls speak Catalan?


He does, and as far as I can tell as a native. Check out this video of an interview with the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.


He definitely has a French accent but it's not strong. It kind of reminds me of some North Catalans and Occitans I've heard speaking Catalan.

For example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFaOUtN5a4g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xuV_7RcSwo (his accent is much less clearly French)
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Re: How would you describe this Spanish accent?

Postby FattyLumpkin » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:16 pm

Fast! So very very fast! :lol:

And listening to this song - similar sounds to Hindi/Urdu I think!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GORCKlCwPI
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