Over here! Right over here in the red, white and blue … eyes off the ball for a minute! It’s American-English month, yeeha! We suggest that for the month of July you set your, of course, bookmarked/tabbed/favourited macmillandictionary.com to ‘American English‘ and practise pronouncing words in Am rather than Br … obviously, unless you do that already … which you may do … do you?
I hate to go on about it, but when I taught English in Taiwan (please don’t yawn, it’s rude in any accent) I was required to teach in an American accent. Now, if you are familiar with the South African accent you may be able to overlay it with an American one and then play the mangled result forward in your head. I wager that there is now a small but entertaining community of South Africans strewn across the planet who have weird American twangs that jump out exclusively with words like bath (go on and follow through on the link and check the pronunciation, work with me) and data and who say gas for petrol and awesome for … rather quite good. I am not sure whether teaching in an American accent is still a requirement in Taiwan, but it was always strange when nipping over to Hong Kong, to hear the adopted British accent that was/is used when locals speak English there. So I wonder what your preference is (I mean if you are not either a British or American citizen). What is it and why do you choose it? I do realise there is politics and history that comes in to play here, but for the moment I am wondering about your personal preference.
I once shared an office with two Britons and an American. We all started work at more or less the same time and were all just getting to know each other. One day my new American friend took me aside and said: ‘Do you understand what those two are saying when they speak?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘But maybe that’s because I am more used to the British accent.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘It’s not their accent it’s that they don’t seem to say what they mean.’ Now I am not sure that this is the case in general, but I know that there are some cultural differences that are reflected in the different ways that Americans and British people use English and that sometimes they can seem like two different languages. Would make for an interesting discussion this month I think. But play nice, mate. Take it easy, dude!Email this Post