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Latouche_Treville

Questions to native english speakers

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Hi,

I'm watching a lecture uploaded by a professor of palaeontology at the Witswattersrand's University. He's french, have a  rich vocabulary and mastery of grammar, but a thick accent an pronounciations difficulties (i'm no better, a lot phoneme sequences are extremely difficult to pronounce properly).

Nevertheless i have no difficulty understanding him.

 

So i'd like to know if it's the same for native english speakers, from any english speaking country.

Also, do you think that even if the exact pronunciation is "left out",  a proper placement of tonic accents could improve the understanding?

 

Link below :

 

Spoiler

 


 

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I only watched for about a minute (I dont have a spare hour to watch a paleontology lecture) but although a few words were somewhat difficult to make out, I could guess at what he was saying based on the context.

We have a sort-of unwritten understanding that foreigners speaking English might struggle with the "true" pronunciation of words, I think it's the context of what is being said that allows us to parse what the speaker is saying.

I hope that makes sense, it works as an explanation in my head but that might not be the case when written down.

 

UK national, btw. Hello from your nearest English-speaking neighbour.:Smile_honoring:

 

I'm actually somewhat curious how others who speak English as a second language do with the example above. @Zemeritt, how are you with it?

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English is my second language. I can understand him just fine despite his heavy accent.

I imagine I sound similar to native english speakers. But then again some native english speakers are much harder to understand than this professor.

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I’m from the South coast of England and I found his pronunciation pretty good I certainly could follow what he was saying without any difficulty. 
 

I have worked in a few non English speaking countries and I have found it does help when non native speakers try to copy the emphasis even if not done perfectly. 
 

A good example is in the video when the Lecturer says utilitarian (about 11 minutes in) in a very French way saying Ou rather than

U-tilitarian. 
 

I hope this helps and more importantly makes sense.

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3 minutes ago, LOZFFVII said:

I'm actually somewhat curious how others who speak English as a second language do with the example above. @Zemeritt, how are you with it?

 

It's fine. I can understand him properly.

I believe german native speaker have a worse accent then this one.

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12 hours ago, LOZFFVII said:

 but although a few words were somewhat difficult to make out, I could guess at what he was saying based on the context.

We have a sort-of unwritten understanding that foreigners speaking English might struggle with the "true" pronunciation of words, I think it's the context of what is being said that allows us to parse what the speaker is saying.

I hope that makes sense, it works as an explanation in my head but that might not be the case when written down.

 

UK national, btw. Hello from your nearest English-speaking neighbour.:Smile_honoring:

 

 

Yes it make sense,  scientific and technical vocabularies are often the same, with some adjustments to adapt to the language

Hello from the other side of the Channel! :Smile_bajan2:

At this hour the Mighty Jingle is certainly uploading his last disater!

 

11 hours ago, lovelacebeer said:

I’m from the South coast of England and I found his pronunciation pretty good I certainly could follow what he was saying without any difficulty. 
 

I have worked in a few non English speaking countries and I have found it does help when non native speakers try to copy the emphasis even if not done perfectly. 
 

A good example is in the video when the Lecturer says utilitarian (about 11 minutes in) in a very French way saying Ou rather than

U-tilitarian. 
 

I hope this helps and more importantly makes sense.

i'm quite surprised about the different perception between you and LOZFFVII.

About the U of "Utilitarian" he says it directly with a perfect french accent.

 

 

11 hours ago, Zemeritt said:

 

It's fine. I can understand him properly.

I believe german native speaker have a worse accent then this one.

I didn't imagine that would be the case, given the apparent proximity of the two languages, word stress managment etc... All german english speakers i met seemed (*) to had a fluid diction and good accent.

 

 


(*)given that I don't think I'm the most qualified to judge quality.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Egoleter said:

English is my second language. I can understand him just fine despite his heavy accent.

I imagine I sound similar to native english speakers. But then again some native english speakers are much harder to understand than this professor.

Regional accent? Australians an some north american accents are sometime hard to understand.

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2 hours ago, Latouche_Treville said:

Regional accent? Australians an some north american accents are sometime hard to understand.

 

Regional accents can be really hard even for us natives, I find south London or Newcastle (Geordie) accents require a lot of concentration  but Scottish Highlands or West Country very easy.

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i wonder how regional accents can be so strong despite a kind of leveling due to medias. In France it tends to fade and only the older people keep a strong, and sometime  savoury accent.

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I understand him well enough although he does remind me of a guy called Renee :Smile_smile: Regional accents in England are very different Mine is would be even harder to place as during WWII young men were recruited to work in the mines in our area and you can hear tones from Newcastle /Tynsidewith a large helping of Yorkshire/Derbyshire, I found the lecture interesting, but I've been following the genetics being used in todays research, the fact that all Europeans  carry up to around 4.5% of the Neanderthal genome and that the Chinese etc carry as much of other pre human species genetics , Funny Old World :Smile_veryhappy:

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In a similar way to Egoleter, not my native language but the first foreign one I learnt.

 

My opinion is probably biased due to the fact that I'm a bit accustomed to the way the French professor speaks because of listening to people who are either still learning English (I worked as a home tutor for a while and the main subjects I had to help with were English and Maths) or old non-native speakers using it as lingua franca (vacation area and all that). The sounds are slightly off (there's some "roughness" in them, but not that different from certain accents) and in some cases he reverts to French rules of pronunciation (the French "ou" style for the initial U that lovelacebeer mentioned, or the silent/mute H -something that also happens in Spanish- when he says "has got" at a certain point). The stress is also off from time to time (Romance languages tend to put it at the mid-end of the word while Germanic ones do it sooner on average -this is particularly true and evident with cognates-) and partially because of it there's a lack of rythm in the sentences, at least compared to how a native speaker would say them.

 

Salute.

 

P.S.: About the location of stress, my typical tip to Britons trying to learn Spanish is comparing words ending in -tion (stress in the syllable right before) to their equivalent -ción (stress in the last syllable, marked by the accent). There are many other common word endings that roughly follow the same rule of moving the stress forward.

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On 6/27/2020 at 7:36 PM, Zemeritt said:

I believe german native speaker have a worse accent then this one.

I'm german and I learned my english some 40 odd years ago from german teachers, who were trained in England and taught us perfect Queen's English.

I usually got reprimanded, because watching too many subtitled US movies messed up my pronounciations - potato, tomato etc.

On a visit to the US nobody thought of my accent as "german". The closest guess was swedish.. most others thought I was canadian or australian...

 

I rarely have any problems detecting a Brit trying to speak german... or an american... and the differences in german pronounciation between the two - the Brits usually do better than the americans..

 

On the other hand, I horribly s*ck when faced with Brits speaking with a welsh, scots or - oh, the horror - Cockney accent.

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9 hours ago, Deckeru_Maiku said:

I'm german and I learned my english some 40 odd years ago from german teachers, who were trained in England and taught us perfect Queen's English.

I usually got reprimanded, because watching too many subtitled US movies messed up my pronounciations - potato, tomato etc.

On a visit to the US nobody thought of my accent as "german". The closest guess was swedish.. most others thought I was canadian or australian.

 

Great, I'm also german, and now?

Good for you that your english is as good as it is, those people I've contact with have a strong accent, which clearly brands the as german.

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9 hours ago, Zemeritt said:

 

Great, I'm also german, and now?

Good for you that your english is as good as it is, those people I've contact with have a strong accent, which clearly brands the as german.

And as old as I am, I know quite a few prople who don't manage to have an accent when speaking english, as they don't speak any english at all... ^^

On the other hand I also know quite a few people who speak german with such a heavy accent, that I'm glad to not hear them speaking english - or attempting it.

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