The English Dialect

@worldwise1 (14887)
United States
January 19, 2008 10:51am CST
Considering the fact that English is probably the most widely spoken language in the world, I was wondering how difficult it is for you to identify the dialects in which it is spoken. I was given the idea for this discussion as I thought about my new doctor. He is from Africa, like my former doctor, but I had much more trouble understanding him than I did my former doctor. I can usually pick up on a British accent, an Aussie accent, an Indian accent, and many others. What many of us do not realize is that other countries have different dialects, not unlike we do her in the United States, according to the area a person hails from. So, how good are you at discerning dialects when a person from another country is speaking English?
3 people like this
9 responses
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
19 Jan 08
I am not very good at understanding a person who speaks English but is originally from another country. I struggle with this issue but not very often as my friends just happen to be from the US and all my family. It's amazing anyone can learn English since it's suppose to be the most difficult of languages to learn.
2 people like this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
19 Jan 08
I don't believe for one minute, carolbee, that English is the most difficult language to learn-I've taken French and Spanish, lol.
1 person likes this
@AICIRT81 (847)
• United States
19 Jan 08
I took both Spanish and French in Highschool. I struggled with my first year of spanish becuase it was different that english. instead of taking a 2nd year of spanish I took French and from the little bit of spanish that I did learn, French came quite easily. I thought that the two languages were quite simular. Having not used either one since, today I really cant speak them but i can understand bits and peices. As far as understanding English speakers from other countries is concerned, it really depends on how thick their accent is and how clearly they ennunicate their words. Also sometimes diffent regions use words that we don't or they have different meaning.
@carolbee (16241)
• United States
19 Jan 08
I've always heard from others that English is very difficult to learn. I can speak a tad bit of Spanish or actually I can understand a little bit. My primary language is English. I do admire the many myLotters who are learning English from this site.
@mensab (4206)
• Philippines
19 Jan 08
it is discernible if the accent is british or american or australian. however, for some distinguishing factors, it helps to look at the ethnicity of the speaker. chinese speaks differently from japanese. indian say words swiftly or in a hurry. european english sounds more like a british. new zealander is more like australian. filipinos have some peculiarity too, but they more or less an american accent.
2 people like this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
19 Jan 08
I find it interesting, mensab, that there are some who can pinpoint exactly where a speaker originated from simply by listening to their dialect. That is an ability I would like to have.
@beauty_ph (2751)
• Philippines
19 Jan 08
English is our second language here in the Philippines. We write more than we speak through we do the reverse once in a while for an ordinary employee like me. As a person who can speak english, I think that I am not very fluent or spontaneous in speaking in public. So it is hard to catch up with those who can speak and have a hard time pronouncing the words. I experienced being interviewed by a Taiwanese. He can speak english well, but my problem was, I can't understand the way he pronounce the words. I know that I need him to make his voice to get louder before I understand him clearly. I failed in that interview sadly. Maybe because I am not used to speaking with foreigners. Those who have a tongue of none english country. I can only improve it if I talk to aliens. LOL.
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
19 Jan 08
Language is very interesting, beauty_ph. I find it to be true that a child will learn a foreign tongue much easier than an adult can.
• United States
19 Jan 08
Do you mean can I tell which part of the United Kingdom someone is from? If so, I can usually tell in about two sentences.But when it comes to formal territories of the U.K., I am not that good.English is a universal language and it takes on many forms.As long as I can understand what you are saying, I am okay.
19 Jan 08
I am from Coventry in UK but I live in the north east of England and have done for 7 years and I really struggle at times to understand the Geordie accent.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jan 08
Is a Geordie accent like a Scottish accent? Or is it more cockney?
@balasri (26553)
• India
21 Jan 08
This is the only language that I can understand easily regardless of the person who speaks.I kind of enjoy it.I have listened to Chinese,Sinhalese,North Indians,People from Various parts of South India,English,Irish,American,German and why even French too.lol
@Sungolian (377)
• United States
21 Jan 08
I've lived in a diverse community, so I'm pretty good at identifying accents. I can tell if its' American standard, Boston, Brooklyn, Southern, English (UK), Australian, South African, Indian, Asian, Russian, South American, etc etc. Yeah basically 99% of the time just by listening I can tell where the person is from :)
@SViswan (12071)
• India
21 Jan 08
Talking about English accents, India has a whole set of them. I can actually make out which state a person is from when I hear them speak English. Having lived in the middle east where I've come across people from different countries and people from different states of India, I've got used to a lot of different dialects. But I must say I had a hard time when I visited Africa a few years back...and most of the time I wouldn't understand unless I was looking at them speak. Telephone calls were the most difficult ones. I didn't like asking someone to repeat themselves more than once and not for everything they said. It would be rude....but now I can pick up a LITTLE bit of their accent too.
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
19 Jan 08
Not at all, but this clears up why in one of my old Doctors office, I could understand one doctor better than another.. I am very poor at understanding someone speaking with an accent, especially a very thick one. I feel bad for them. One time I had computer security problems and I ended up with this guy who was trying to help, but I was lost in the translation. So he ended up sending me a link so that he could fix the problem himself..
@maximax8 (28570)
• United Kingdom
19 Jan 08
I come from the UK and as I have lived overseas have acquired a different accent than I used to have when I was younger. When I came back to England from being in Australia I had to show my passport to prove I was British. I could talk to Australians and they thought I was also from Australia. When I meet a traveler with a North American accent I ask where they are from. I can't tell the difference between an American and a Canadian accent. I can pick out an Australian and a New Zealand accent. I can identify a South African accent quite easily. I can notice a Welsh, Scottish or Irish accent. I can understand an Indian accent. I once had an African lecturer at college and I couldn't understand his speech. Other students found the same. When I was a child I couldn't understand my friend's mum. She was from Glasgow in Scotland. Nowadays I am used to all sorts of different accents.