The expression "British accent"

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Re: The expression "British accent"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Adam H wrote:In all seriousness, I have no idea what you could possibly have meant by saying that I'm in trouble.
Presumably, that if you can't even understand the nice, standardized formal dialect of RP English, then you'll likely find most native regional accents completely incomprehensible.
I object to the idea that I'm in trouble if I can't understand a subset of europeans.
A subset of Europeans that speak your own damn language, though. And if you can't understand them, you likely also can't understand a fairly large portion of American regional accents, either, let alone tell them apart.

And after 30 seconds of research on the interweb, I haven't found any indication that RP is inherently easier to understand than all other regional dialects.
It should be the most familiar and common version of British English you've been exposed to, which indeed would tend to make it inherently easier for you to understand.

So when I hear a vaguely british accent I can't place, don't take it personally when I refer to it incorrectly. I do that with everyone.
No one's taking it personally that you are particularly bad with variations of your own language.
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Re: The expression "British accent"

Postby Dthen » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:26 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:What is the closest thing to the bizarre artificial drawl that americans use to fake a british accent? That's the accent that is easiest for me to understand. :)

Any American accent.

EDIT: This is not a serious post or meant to cause offence & is intended tongue-in-cheek.
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Re: The expression "British accent"

Postby Qaanol » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:03 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:It irks us however because it is symptomatic of a problem widespread in the US, not understanding the distinction between the following terms: England, Great Britain, The British Isles and the UK. All of these terms are distinct and all of them have very specific meanings, ones which are generally ignored by Americans. It's as if we showed no apparent understanding of the difference between the following: North America, the US, New York and the Contiguous United States.

Now, when you say "ignored by Americans", do you mean ignored by people from the new world, or from North America, or the US, or the contiguous states, or just New York? For that matter, by "New York" do you mean the state, or the city, or the greater metropolitan tri-state area?

…my point, of course, being that it is clear you meant people from the US, as that is a standard meaning of "Americans", and in context there is no ambiguity. If you intended something other than the default meaning of the term, I have complete confidence you would have chosen a more precise descriptor. With "New York" there actually is some ambiguity, but unless the distinction is somehow relevant it's not worth the effort to clarify.

If someone wanted to have fun with this, they could make a movie with a scene that plays off the ambiguity by describing someone as having a British accent, then let the audience hear a distinctive Scottish or Welsh or other accent from Britain. One character could say something like, "That's not a British accent", and perhaps the person with the accent would insist that it is. Something similar could be done with, say, a person described as "American", then reveal to be, I don't know, Panamanian or something.
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Re: The expression "British accent"

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:59 pm UTC

American is a different case though because the people themselves have the same usage of the term whereas British people have a very different usage of the term British than do other English-speakers.
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