Why you have an accent in a foreign language

OPen A textbook For foreign languages, one of the first things that appears is the alphabet, which lists the letters used in the writing system and the sounds they represent. This is clearly important for unfamiliar systems, such as Greek and Russian systems.However, even for languages ​​that rely on the Latin alphabet, the guide will tell you how diacritics, such as accent marks, change the pronunciation of letters. -ch- German or -gl- In Italian. (At first it sounds like often ch In scotland Lough, Like the second -NS- of a million.).

Now you can master greetings, vocabulary, etc. with little thought of pronunciation. This is a shame. Learning foreign language accents is much more important than the sounds that the letters on the page represent. In the first place, the rough equivalents given in English are often actually quite rough. In french NS of Paris Sounds quite different from NS In English, it’s a contrast that is often overlooked in textbooks. The French version lacks the strong atmosphere of the English version. (Hold your palm in front of your mouth and say “Paris” in English. Then NS Without puffs, you will get the French variety. )

Even though textbooks and instructors mention these nuances, they often lack the next step. As with chemistry, what matters is not just how the elements work alone, but how they combine. Each language has rules for these combinations that native speakers (and many teachers) generally understand, but cannot or cannot explain.

Consider a simple example. All French words focus on the last syllable, which is a rule usually explained in textbooks. However, the importance of rules is often underestimated. It applies not only to French words, but to any foreign name. French speakers are familiar with the city of Texas called. yoos-TON, Not in english HYOO-ston.. The final stress is very emphasized and usually includes higher pitch and louder volume. English words, on the other hand, often have secondary stresses as well as primary stresses. In “civilization”, the primary stress is in the 4th syllable and the secondary stress is in the 1st syllable. In French, the stress of the last syllable is so strong that there is little room for other syllables.

Second, what linguists call phonotactics, that is, what syllables are allowed and which are not, depends on the language. NS NS of psychology When Terror Dactil Is silent because English phoneme sequence rules do not allow native words to start with pt- Also ps- sound. In English, these consonants are combined in the middle of a word. Uptown When Upside down, English speakers can certainly pronounce them. But the rules about the beginning, even if you recommend them to pronounce NS of Psychosis, Tends to insert extra vowels to fit the template, puh-sychotic..An English commentator discussing French soccer player Kylian Mbappe finds himself forced to add a third syllable and calls him. Em-bap-ay..

Similar confusion affects many foreigners learning English.Why the Spaniards might say he’s from Spain That’s when you speak english sp-, NS- And other consonant combinations are forbidden at the beginning of the Spanish word, which is why the Swedish capital is Estocolmo.. That is just one example. English is very rich in consonant clusters, which are not really allowed in other languages.Google is a video that foreigners are trying to say squirrel For another case study.Words combined rare skw- At first, weird vowels and tricky sounds in the middle that most languages ​​lack -rl Finally.

Another reason to betrayed by other language accents, even if you are fluent in other languages, is that it can be difficult to identify the rhythm of a language. They differ in how the syllables of the sentence are arranged. For example, Cantonese and Italian are “syllable timing”. All syllables are about the same length. Read this sentence aloud and try pronouncing all the syllables this way. Then you may find yourself in the process of imitating Italian. English is a “stress time limit” (although not strict). That is, stress syllables tend to occur at approximately regular intervals, with the rest less pronounced. This allows you to distinguish between English and Italian spoken through the wall, even if you don’t understand the individual sounds or words.

English-speaking tourists may find themselves speaking English with strange hybrid accents when traveling abroad. Linguistic rhythms are infectious. However, as with drums and dances, the slightly clear teachings are not hurt.

This article was published in the printed book and arts section under the heading “Stress Test”.

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