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-   -   Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian) (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/noone-can-understand-my-accent-im-australian-880280/)

davers Jul 12th 2016 6:28 am

Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
I have a lot of trouble communicating with Americans. As a result of my accent very simple things like ordering a coffee are always a struggle - I'm finding that the way Americans pronouns certain vowels really are completely different. It's like noone here has heard another accent before, outside of America.

Additionally if I try to put on an American accent it sounds weird and unnatural. Before coming here I had no idea that this would even be a problem. I've been living in California for nearly three years now and it hasn't gotten any better.

Has anyone else had this problem? Surely I'm not the first that this has happened to!

Wintersong Jul 12th 2016 7:39 am

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
I've been here 11 years and it still occasionally causes issues :lol:

My hubby puts on an American accent and I take the piss out of him, but it would be fair to say that I cause far more misunderstandings and embarrassing repetitions than he does, so maybe that's the way to go after all...

civilservant Jul 12th 2016 11:27 am

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
My wife is always mocking my accent, although she also says that I'm beginning to lose it. I find I only have trouble when using British slang - using American slang people know what I'm saying.

Pulaski Jul 12th 2016 11:53 am

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
I couldn't effect an American accent if my life depended on it, but I have adopted some American pronunciations such as tomayto, ledduce, wadder, and gah-rhage, (which all probably sound weird with my Yorkshire accent) and use the American word when I know they use a different word, such as faucet, outlet, gas, trunk, etc. so generally I have few problems being understood. I also try to remember to speak a little slower.

As far as I can tell my accent hasn't changed much since I was eight years old when my family left Sheffield, so it's not surprising that it hasn't changed in the 14 years since I came to the US.

MidAtlantic Jul 12th 2016 12:41 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
We are talking as if there is one American accent, there isn't. I have had no problems being understood in up-state New York, but here in the South it is very different. I find that when I (often) get that quizzical "what the heck did you say" look I need to talk at half the speed, then I have a 50% chance of being understood!

Nutek Jul 12th 2016 12:56 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 

Originally Posted by davers (Post 12000254)
I have a lot of trouble communicating with Americans. As a result of my accent very simple things like ordering a coffee are always a struggle - I'm finding that the way Americans pronouns certain vowels really are completely different. It's like noone here has heard another accent before, outside of America.

Additionally if I try to put on an American accent it sounds weird and unnatural. Before coming here I had no idea that this would even be a problem. I've been living in California for nearly three years now and it hasn't gotten any better.

Has anyone else had this problem? Surely I'm not the first that this has happened to!

Maybe you need a bigger knife.

Also, try talking s l o w l y and LOUDLY. This is helpful and not annoying at all. Say "strewth" and "crikey cobber" after every sentence. :nod:

Pulaski Jul 12th 2016 1:21 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic (Post 12000523)
.... here in the South it is very different. I find that when I (often) get that quizzical "what the heck did you say" look ....

I usually attribute that to what I call "accent glaze", which mostly affects women, and is what happens when women are more interested in your accent, which they "just lurve", than in what you're actually saying.

zzrmark Jul 12th 2016 1:38 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 12000548)
I usually attribute that to what I call "accent glaze", which mostly affects women, and is what happens when women are more interested in your accent, which they "just lurve", than in what you're actually saying.

"Accent glaze" lol.
Whilst Floridian (using that term loosely as most of them appear to be recent incomers) girls are often curious about my ethnicity, I get the impression that many Carolinian girls, half my age, would happily drag me into a dark corner and thoroughly abuse me!!!:blink:

dj6372 Jul 12th 2016 2:01 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
The use of the word bro'en instead of broken or forgo'en instead of forgotten is a touch irritating, not sure if that is a countrywide usage or just the 'locals'

Pulaski Jul 12th 2016 2:02 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 

Originally Posted by zzrmark (Post 12000562)
.... I get the impression that many Carolinian girls, half my age, would happily drag me into a dark corner and thoroughly abuse me!!! .....

Don't tell everyone that! :sneaky:

Originally Posted by dj6372 (Post 12000591)
The use of the word bro'en instead of broken or forgo'en instead of forgotten is a touch irritating, not sure if that is a countrywide usage or just the 'locals'

I haven't noticed those, but "so'dder" for "solder" drives me nuts! :frown:

dj6372 Jul 12th 2016 2:55 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
How about my favourite (favorite) meeeeeer instead of mirror!!

mrken30 Jul 12th 2016 7:42 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
My USC wife now speaks like me, so now we both have the problem of people understanding us. I used to take a notepad around with me to write down words. Now I just use different methods of explaining the same thing. Like a glass of wadder instead of just water.

kodokan Jul 12th 2016 8:00 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
I used to live in French-speaking Switzerland. French also has many words that mean the same and that when written down look identical to the English ones - centre, mission, textile - but are pronounced COMPLETELY differently: the vowels change dramatically, consonants disappear, etc. I didn't try and say them as English words just because I'd write them the same; no one would have understood me.

I think of American English the same. Don't get hung up on how they're written the same, or that they sound weird and feel unnatural to your mouth. You live in a different country; they speak a different (variant of the) language here. Pick the often-used words that cause the most confusion, and practice them - record yourself and try to get it sounding like the natives do.

mamasue Jul 12th 2016 8:11 pm

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
When, I first came, my husband had to order water for me in restaurants....unless I wanted to repeat myself over and over.
Last week I had problems asking where deer corn was in Walmart. The guy looked at my husband, after my 3rd attempt,and actually said..."What's she sayin'"??
I said "Forget it, I'll get birdseed instead!!"

username.exe Jul 13th 2016 3:28 am

Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)
 
At least once per day I will say something to my boss and he'll look at me with a deer-in-the-headlights-look... buffering...


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