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What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby yukamina » Fri 12.18.2009 12:49 pm

Wow, Infidel, that's really interesting. You're probably not the only one in the world with this issue, even if there's no name for it yet.
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby IceCream » Fri 12.18.2009 12:58 pm

omg. :shock: you had that much trouble learning your own language, and.... you decided to go right ahead and learn another one?!?!? that is just --- pure awesomeness!!!

It sounds kind of like spending your entire life extremely extremely stoned o_o I can totally see how that would be more than a bit annoying. Then again, it's probably amazing if you can channel it into something artistic. You can probably do a ton of great things listening to or making experimental music, or viewing things in ways that other people can't, as well as by thinking about things more than other people bother to. :D

It certainly hasn't hurt your writing now, anyway. and... its really interesting to hear about!! Actually one of my friends children might have this? hes still quite young, but he has a language problem... when i met him before, he would make something that sounded exactly like a sentence, with the right intonations and things, but there would be no actual words in it. He copies the way things are said exactly, but not the words.

are you learning to listen to japanese as well as read? If you are, it might really help to use subtitles files, and something like subs2srs. If you make a huge deck full of chopped up dramas or something like that, then when you want to learn a new phrase, grammar pattern, etc, you can search in anki for all the cards containing that phrase, and unfreeze all of them. That way, you'll be able to hear that phrase in a number of contexts, said in different voices all in one go, rather than having to try to identify it and work out if it's the same thing later... :)
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby tanuki » Sat 12.19.2009 10:38 pm

Hm, let's see... These are just personal opinions.

To me, American English sounds very nasal, not just because of the vowels, but also because of those Ls and Rs. Especially the Southern accent, with its loooong nasal vowels.
African American English sounds high-pitched and kind of annoying, it seems like they put emphasis on every other word.
The British accent I usually hear (London accent?) gets rid of many Rs, so it sounds nicer. There are other British accents that I find incomprehensible.
I haven't heard much Australian English, but it sounds a lot like British English, only somewhat "funnier".

Spanish: well, there are a LOT of different accents. I find Cuban and Venezuelan Spanish sexy, Peruvian Spanish easy on the ears, Peninsularn (Spain) and Chilean Spanish funny, Argentinian Spanish somewhat annoying, Eastern Bolivian Spanish is nice when spoken by males, but women make it sound very nasal, Western Bolivian Spanish sounds ugly when spoken by males but some women make it sound endearing.

French: sounds feminine, sexy and not serious. Imagine a French (wo)man whispering to your ear... :)

Italian: sounds annoying. All these vowels, the singing intonation... It makes me cringe a bit, but Italians are very nice people!

Portuguese: sounds somewhat annoying. Brazilians seem to exaggerate a lot when speaking, making their stressed vowels VERY long. And they really stand out because all the other syllables are slurred. When sung though, it sounds amazing.

German: sounds serious and choppy, like they make a small pause after every word. It sounds like they are talking about philosophy and serious stuff all the time.

Japanese: sounds funny and happy. It also sounds like they are fascinated by everything: "sou desu kaaaa?"
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby spin13 » Sun 12.20.2009 2:39 pm

astaroth wrote:Also why are all people attempting to speak Italian actually speaking southern dialects or accents?

In the case of the United States, particularly the northeast centered around New York City, it is because the majority of 20th century Italian immigrants came from Sicily and other southern provinces. Many of them and their children couldn't speak standard Italian, nor did they need to as most Italian immigrants from different origins didn't often mix. Given its greater exposure in the area, it's no wonder the American image of what Italian sounds like, and thus what to imitate, comes from southern dialects. I assume the popularity and prevalence of mafia movies does little to change this.
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Infidel » Sun 12.20.2009 5:15 pm

The same thing happens with Chinese. Since the most spoken form of Chinese outside the borders of China is Cantonese, most people imitate Cantonese.
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Mon 12.21.2009 5:26 am

Most people have trouble hearing the difference between Chinese and Japanese, let alone Cantonese and Mandarin. :P
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 12.22.2009 10:02 am

furrykef wrote:Most people have trouble hearing the difference between Chinese and Japanese, let alone Cantonese and Mandarin. :P


tonal vs non-tonal (or mostly non-tonal)?? lol it's not that they can't hear the difference, it's that they don't know the difference. It's the all asian languages sound the same mentality that rules here.
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Tue 12.22.2009 1:43 pm

They have plenty of opportunities to hear the difference from the occasional smattering of both languages that everybody gets from time to time. So I think it's not really that they can't hear the difference, or they don't know the difference, so much as they can't be bothered to hear the difference in order to know the difference. :P

It's definitely an "all Asian languages sound the same" mentality, but it could be psychoacoustic: thinking that they sound the same ensures that they will sound the same.

(There's still a little truth to it, though. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but one time not too long ago there was this movie on TV that made me mad because I couldn't figure out whether the dialogue was Chinese or Japanese. It sounded much more like Chinese on the whole but from time to time I kept recognizing what sounded like Japanese verb endings and such. I looked the movie up and I think it turned out I was likely hearing both languages...)

In any case, the most likely result you'll get when you ask somebody to imitate an Asian language -- no matter which one you specify -- is you'll get something like "myeong myow wong cham ee yow" spoken in a way that doesn't mimic any of the languages. Or of course you'll get something like "chong dong fong chong wong long chong".

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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby phreadom » Tue 12.22.2009 8:07 pm

After reading this I was talking with my girlfriend... and she mentioned that her sister had seen something on tv teaching kids other languages and that she'd thought of me... and of course she made the stereotypical "ching chong chang" imitation of whatever language it actually was...

So I thought about it... and I don't recall if I had ever been able to actually try to pretend to speak Japanese. :(

I think right when I'd first started learning, but didn't really know anything yet... so I understand the basic sound of the language, but had no real comprehension yet. Then I could pretend to speak Japanese and talk in gibberish.

Now if I think of trying to imitate it that way my mind just goes blank. Now it seems I'm stuck either speaking it "correctly", or not at all.

Weird.

(And yes, all Chinese to me is "ching hao hwong xi wang" said with wild inflections.)
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 12.23.2009 10:51 pm

The ching chang chong reminds me of this video my friend showed me yesterday.
It's the 80s New Zealander(?) comedian Billy T James talking about how to speak perfect Japanese. ;)
Rather amusing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHhb6xpFals
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 12.29.2009 4:08 pm

i wish there were only 3 rules.. feel the cold, have experienced constipation and you must have experience amnesia. Perfect Japanese.. yep, that's all it takes.. lol
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby mandypandy275 » Tue 12.29.2009 8:09 pm

This guy has a very good fake english (the second one he does).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou9vd8EfLaY&feature=related
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 12.30.2009 1:49 pm

The fake Spanish there was pretty good, I think -- a bit of a rough start, but the second half seemed solid -- but I found his fake English not so convincing... I don't think the distribution of sounds that he picked was quite right. But that just may be because I'm a native English speaker. :lol:
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Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby akirarene » Thu 01.14.2010 2:49 am

This is wht I hear when listening to other languages.. tp://bakadesuyo.com/what-english-soun ... foreigners Is sooo funny and the dancing is hilarious
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