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Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Old Nov 19th 2013, 7:49 am
  #31  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

I've only been in the country a couple of months, but I'd like to think I only adopt words for communication where a different word is used, not a different pronunciation. If you change your pronunciation, that is your accent changing. Vocabulary is just vocabulary.

I also find that the Americans I work with understand me even when I do use the British terms because they know I'm English. They know that when I say 'football' I mean soccer and that when I say 'torch' I mean flashlight and not a fiery piece of wood.

That said, automated telephone services. How do you cope?!
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 12:02 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

If you haven't heard this theory before, you may need to go and take a nice quiet lie down afterwards.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=163006
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2604480/posts
http://www.pbs.org/speak/ahead/change/ruining/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_English

Here in the "old South", it is generally accepted by locals who have genuine interest in their history that their speech is much closer linked to the English as spoken in the 17th century going into the 18th.
We diverged after the revolution and it was we, the English who changed our accents due to class distinction becoming more and more prevalent.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 2:03 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by Xebedee View Post
If you haven't heard this theory before, you may need to go and take a nice quiet lie down afterwards.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=163006
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2604480/posts
http://www.pbs.org/speak/ahead/change/ruining/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_English

Here in the "old South", it is generally accepted by locals who have genuine interest in their history that their speech is much closer linked to the English as spoken in the 17th century going into the 18th.
We diverged after the revolution and it was we, the English who changed our accents due to class distinction becoming more and more prevalent.
Oh yes, I've heard that before, and I believe it to likely be true. The logical conclusion of that line of argument would be that if we had recordings of Shakespeare speaking, and his actors of that period, they would have what we think of as American accents!
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 2:04 pm
  #34  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by ShadowBob View Post
I've only been in the country a couple of months, but I'd like to think I only adopt words for communication where a different word is used, not a different pronunciation. If you change your pronunciation, that is your accent changing. Vocabulary is just vocabulary.

I also find that the Americans I work with understand me even when I do use the British terms because they know I'm English. They know that when I say 'football' I mean soccer and that when I say 'torch' I mean flashlight and not a fiery piece of wood.

That said, automated telephone services. How do you cope?!
That might
work with educated people, but many people would be confused if you said torch
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 2:12 pm
  #35  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by ShadowBob View Post
....I also find that the Americans I work with understand me even when I do use the British terms because they know I'm English. They know that when I say 'football' I mean soccer and that when I say 'torch' I mean flashlight and not a fiery piece of wood.
I am not sure I understand your attitude or why you are digging your heels in. If you move to another country it is generally best to learn the local language. It is certainly true in France, Germany, and Japan, so now that you live in the US, why wouldn't you make a few tweaks to your vocabulary to ensure you are less likely to be misunderstood? Eventually you may find that your colleagues, neighbours and friends stop treating you as an interesting oddity and start to believe that you have no interest in integrating into life in America.
..... That said, automated telephone services. How do you cope?!
Better than most Americans, I believe.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 2:22 pm
  #36  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Yup the American pronunciation of kudos is the one that gets me. "Coo-doze." And yes, I believe many people here think it is a plural of a "Coo-doe." Part of the problem is, Ancient Greek is no longer taught at schools here.

Soccer has never bothered me. As folks in earlier posts here observe, soccer is a standard British word ... certainly, growing up in England in the fifties and sixties, we called the game "soccer" as often as not.

How about "faucet" for tap? I always thought that was an American coinage, but I remember looking it up and it is a medieval word, but considered archaic in Britain since 1800.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 2:53 pm
  #37  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Over the years I've ended up with some weird hybrid vocabulary. I'll say things like 'trash bags' or 'garbage can' without thinking about it but I still say 'garridge' and 'tom-ah-to' just though sheer force of habit rather than anything else. I do say 'Home Dee-poh' though when referring to that store as that is the actual name of it and it wouldn't sound right calling it 'Home Deh-po'.

For the most part I am understood, which leads me to believe I have lost my accent. Until someone asks me where I'm from, that is and that still happens.

Not that losing a Northern Ireland accent is really a bad thing, of course
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 3:26 pm
  #38  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Bizarrely between my wife and I, she too has changed her pronunciations, favouring the British tomato and banana. She picks up accents very quickly, when visiting England she already had a faux British twang after three days or so.

I long ago learned to adapt, I asked for frozen yog-urt in a store once and the assistant went to get someone else to listen to me pronounce it because she found it so amusing.

There are of course some pronunciations which are utterly ridiculous and I will probably never get used to; vite-a-mins, cappilaries (not a common occurrence I'll admit) among others and I can't quite bring myself to say Aluminum despite the spelling difference.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 3:28 pm
  #39  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I will say trash and gas but not erb, bazil, parmejan, cordon blue or 'I have to go potty'.
I agree -- I use the local vocabulary, but not the local pronunciation. I think of it as a form of being fluent in two languages. After over forty years here, it would still never cross my mind to come out with anything as heinous as "tomaytoe"!
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 4:29 pm
  #40  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

I'm of the general view that the US is simply another foreign country, which has its own language in terms of words. As has been noted by others, if you moved to France would you refuse to use their words?

Accents and pronounciation are a separate matter and not consistent across the US anyway! Often it is a simple matter of expediency - use the pronounciation that gets you what you want.

However, I work for a multinational company and much of my work-day interaction is with colleagues from outside the US. Some from the UK but many other countries too. Often that means positively focusing on the words used minute to minute depending on who the sentence is directed at. Can be tricky, but it keeps the brain cells from getting bored.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 4:55 pm
  #41  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Has anyone noticed a strange bastardisation of the English language recently, where people will say something like "this package needs delivered" instead of "this package needs to be delivered" or "needs delivering"? Or something needs cleaned, instead of to be cleaned or cleaning???MY GF uses this way of speaking lately when she never did before, and it drives me absolutely nuts, especially as she's a flippin' teacher. I've lived here for about 15 years and only started noticing it in the last 2 or 3 years. I absolutely hate it. To be or not be?
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 5:04 pm
  #42  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by Psyman View Post
Has anyone noticed a strange bastardisation of the English language recently, where people will say something like "this package needs delivered" instead of "this package needs to be delivered" or "needs delivering"? Or something needs cleaned, instead of to be cleaned or cleaning???MY GF uses this way of speaking lately when she never did before, and it drives me absolutely nuts, especially as she's a flippin' teacher. I've lived here for about 15 years and only started noticing it in the last 2 or 3 years. I absolutely hate it. To be or not be?
Looks like an extension of "it happened __ Tuesday". Grrr

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 19th 2013 at 5:29 pm.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 5:18 pm
  #43  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

I found (and I've noticed in others) that changes to accent and vocabulary seem to be rare after about the age of 25.

As I lived in both the UK and the US prior to 25 I have a bit of an odd accent and I use a lot of American words, to the point that Canadians sometimes ask me if I'm an American, like "mom" instead of "mum" and "railroad" instead of "railway" and "cab" instead of "taxi".

After about 25 it seems to be a case of not using certain words that people don't understand, mainly British slang. When I'm in the UK I have a very American reaction to some of the words people come out with, like "whilst".

There are words that really do get on my nerves though:

"Anyways" - groan
"Perrrrrfect" - no it's not perfect, it usually means you just did something
"Fer Sure" - can't you just say "yes"?

Words vary regionally too, took me ages when I lived down south to cotton on to "coke" being a general word for soda pop.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 5:19 pm
  #44  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

Originally Posted by Psyman View Post
Has anyone noticed a strange bastardisation of the English language recently, where people will say something like "this package needs delivered" instead of "this package needs to be delivered" or "needs delivering"? Or something needs cleaned, instead of to be cleaned or cleaning???
No I think that's just your gf, maybe because she's around kids a lot. I go to the Treasure Valley area on occasion and I've never noticed that.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 5:24 pm
  #45  
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Default Re: Slowly starting to Americanize my speech

My wife occasionally talks a sentence or so in her sleep. For a couple of years it would be in her native language, but for some years now it's been in English, so not only is she speaking American English she's thinking in English.

She hasn't lost her accent when speaking English, but her accent when speaking her native language has changed to the extent that when she's back there the people ask her where she's from.

Regards, JEff
Originally Posted by Ulsterman in Texas View Post
Do you think your speech has started to adapt?
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