Thoughts on accents?

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Thoughts on accents?

Message  barnetto le Sam 16 Aoû - 1:51

I spent most of my active study time (as opposed to passive study time) this week working on getting rid of my accent. I'm not sure how long the process will take, but if I'm dedicated to getting rid of it I think it will take less than four years!

My mom got rid of her (Spanish) accent while she was in college. I didn't ask her how long that took, but college usually takes about four years (my brother took five, we called that last year the Super Senior year).

When I originally expressed a desire to get rid of my accent in French, my mom played (or actually was) devil's advocate, and told me not to. She said it is better to be a foreigner with an accent. But her reasoning, that people will mistake you for one of them but you'll still make cultural mistakes, miss cultural references, and then people will think you're stupid, didn't really convince me.

Even in English, I'm not going to understand every cultural reference that other people make. That's okay. And if one day people mistake me (even for a moment) for a native French speaker, that's okay too. Because I'll have worked hard for that, it is quite an accomplishment, and I'm proud of all the hard work I do.

So I should lose my American accent when speaking French. But you guys should totally keep your French accents (unless you're angling for big Hollywood parts à la Marion Cotillard, and yes, in English you can say "à la," we totally stole that). French accents are sexy.
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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  gerardM le Sam 16 Aoû - 20:01

Hi Vanessa,

Already, congrats on this big project.

First, as you know, speaking French with an American accent is very sexy. Of course being mistaken for a native French person would be a great reward.
Are you ready to become arrogant enough? Wink

Did your father teach you the pronunciation of "u" and "euil"?
- dessus - dessous
- écureuil

Thanks!

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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  barnetto le Sam 16 Aoû - 20:35

Is an American accent sexy? That's good to know. I expect at this late age I won't be able to completely get rid of my accent, but if I can learn to do «ou», «u», and «r» correctly, then I can die/keep living until I die happy.

I was pretty happy until two weeks ago. I thought I finally knew how to do «u» and I've thought for a while that my «ou» was fine, but then I talked to a French guy and discovered that my «ou» has been wrong this whole time. But I've found someone who knows French phonology and uses the skills of a speak pathologist to help people improve accents. So this time if I fail, I think it just means that this is a lost cause and I should give up forever.

Dad teaches me nothing  Crying or Very sad 
Well, that's not true. Dad teaches me nothing related to French, but I've finally gotten good enough to where he no longer refuses to speak to me in French, so we can at least have conversations/write emails to each other now. But he never fixes my mistakes (and I make a lot of them!).  Crying or Very sad
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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  gerardM le Sam 16 Aoû - 22:53

Vanessa,

I confirm the French do like the American accent.
My American teacher came to Paris for her studies. She chose to stay because of a boyfriend (whom she finally didn't marry, anyway). She now lives alternatively in Rhode Island and Paris; after 20 years, she still have a bit of the American accent... I think she kept it because it's wonderful.

After 10 years, My Australian girlfriend doesn't pronounce dessus & dessous correctly (I cannot laugh as I always mark a pause before having to use "ham" or "jam", "cup" or "cap").
Fortunately, your American ear is far better than our French ear (you perceive more tones than we do); your pronunciation of French will definitely be better than the pronunciation of English by a South European (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian... unless they learned beforee 3).

> Dad teaches me nothing  Crying or Very sad ...  he never fixes my mistakes
It's bloody dificult to get a friend to fix mistakes.


Dernière édition par gerardM le Lun 18 Aoû - 23:01, édité 1 fois (Raison : typo)

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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  MurielB le Lun 18 Aoû - 21:57

Barnetto the American accent is very nice. I have read that English singers can easily lose their British accent and pick up American accent when they sing. Perhaps you could sound more French if you sing French songs.

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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  barnetto le Mar 19 Aoû - 14:14

I've given up on trying to figure out a singer's nationality based on how they sing. Half the time what I'm hearing seems to be an American singing with an affectation.

I was under the impression that for French singing that the intonation can be different than for normal speaking, and that like in poetry some syllables might get pronounced that wouldn't be in normal conversation.
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Re: Thoughts on accents?

Message  MurielB le Mar 19 Aoû - 21:57

Vanessa, what do you think about that love song in many languages ?

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