Over the next few months I plan to learn UK Standard English using Received Pronunciation. Of course there are myriad acceptable ways to pronounce UK Standard English, but RP is what is taught in foreign language materials so that's what I'll use.
You are probably wondering why a native English speaker would decide to learn another variety of English as a foreign language, when it's already perfectly intelligible. There are three reasons:
- This is the biggest reason: American English does not have a distinction between short and long vowels, and I have trouble hearing this feature. I think my brain just deletes it when I hear British English, which does distinguish between long and short vowels, and converts it to the corresponding American vowels. I also have trouble with it in other languages, including German, which is one of the two foreign languages that are the most important to me. My theory is that the best way for me to solve this vowel length problem is for me to approach a familiar dialect of my own language as though it were a foreign language, relearning each sound the same way I would with a foreign language, and taking great care to get the prosody just right.
- Many of the language learning resources that I use are written in British English. I can usually understand it just fine - a flat is an apartment, a lift is an elevator, etc. One thing that took me a while to figure out that "revise" in British English can mean "review", but I got it eventually. Systematically studying the language could take out much of the guesswork.
- This last one would apply to only me: I'm working on a phonemic English alphabet, and I want it to work equally well for US and UK standard English. A more intimate knowledge of RP would help immensely.
- BBC Learning English - Pronunciation
- Pronunciator - British English (free through my library, similar to Rosetta Stone)
- Teach Yourself - Complete English as a Foreign Language
- Assimil - L'anglais
I would like to solidify my French, for a few reasons:
- I will be using a French resource for my English studies, and I have a few other Assimil books in French.
- Strengthening my French will help me with corresponding features of related languages. For example, I was struggling with when to use "a" vs "in" when talking about traveling in Italian, but French uses "à" and "en" in basically the same situations. That would have helped me if I weren't so rusty.
- I will be traveling to French Canada soon and I want my speaking and listening skills to be the best they can be.
I would also like to get more familiar with the québécois accent. I'll come up with a plan for it.
- Duolingo (I completed an earlier version; I'll probably only get the skills up to level 2, maybe 3, since it's a review.)
- Assimil - Using French
- Assimil - New French With Ease (finishing the second wave)
I'm copying this from another log:
One of my goals in learning foreign languages is to read classic literature, but I haven't read most of the greats in my native language, English, so I should start there. I was a bad student in high school and I didn't read most of the books that I was assigned. Now I'm trying to make my way through the Anglophone portion of the Western Canon.
I've been making very good progress since I started reading ebooks on my phone, and especially since I uninstalled Reddit. Now I read books when I'm bored instead of mindlessly browsing oddly specific memes and manipulated spins on news articles.
- Frank Herbert - Dune
- Neil Gaiman - Stardust
- L Frank Baum - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
- H. G. Wells - The Time Machine
- Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon
- Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart
- Dead tree book: H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds
- Public domain ebook: Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Contemporary ebook library loan: Toni Morrison - Beloved