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Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Old Jul 12th 2016, 5:28 am
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Default 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!
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

I've been here 11 years and it still occasionally causes issues

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...
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 10:27 am
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Default 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.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 10:53 am
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Default 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.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 12th 2016 at 12:21 pm.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 11:41 am
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Default 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!
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 11:56 am
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Originally Posted by davers View Post
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.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 12:21 pm
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
.... 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.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
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!!!
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 1:01 pm
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Default 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'
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

Originally Posted by zzrmark View Post
.... 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!
Originally Posted by dj6372 View Post
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!

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 12th 2016 at 1:04 pm.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: Noone can understand my accent (I'm Australian)

How about my favourite (favorite) meeeeeer instead of mirror!!
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 6:42 pm
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Default 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.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 7:00 pm
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Default 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.
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Old Jul 12th 2016, 7:11 pm
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Default 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!!"
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Old Jul 13th 2016, 2:28 am
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Default 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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