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Chinese American English

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  • Pete Marchetto
    Steven: Incidently, I have always found that the hardest students to catch, in general, are the Chinese students who try to teach themselves to speak with an
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 27, 2008
      Steven:
      Incidently, I have always found that the hardest students to catch, in general, are the Chinese students who try to teach themselves to speak with an American accent. If they actually have an American teacher
      checking their pronumciation then they are fine. If not, then they drop the ends of their words and have a horribly thick ??American?ˉ accent that no American I have ever spoken to has.

      Moi:
      I've not encountered this as a problem, but given students' impression of American English I can well see how it arises. It's this 'casual' thing again. Whether or not we agree with this idea, one thing is certain; students feel they can speak it in a more relaxed fashion and for many I suspect that means with considerably less attention paid to enunciation than if they were speaking more 'formal' British English. It's one thing for a native speaker to elide or omit with their own language, quite another for a second language speaker. Indeed, a speaker with a strong dialect will use more formal enunciation when faced with another native speaker who doesn't share that dialect.

      Again we could be back to the question of whether standard British English is indeed less casual and more formal than standard American English... but I don't think the reality counts here. While students perceive American English as more casual they may be more inclined to be more casual - which is to say less precise and, bluntly, more sloppy - when using it.

      Pete

      Video:
      http://www.youtube.com/petemarchetto


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    • Thomas Krickl
      This reminds me of learning to speak Chinese in Beijing. I will say the formal SanliTUN , but every one of my Chinese colleagues always says a casual
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 27, 2008
        This reminds me of learning to speak Chinese in Beijing. I will say the formal "SanliTUN", but every one of my Chinese colleagues always says a casual "SanliTUR". And when I copy them and drop the "UN" ending, they just laugh at my pronunciation and tell me only locals talk that way.

        Tom Krickl, Beijing/Chicago
      • Merton Bland
         Pete Marchetto says that students feel that American English can be spoken in a more relalxed fashion than British English.  But which American English is
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 27, 2008
           Pete Marchetto says that students feel that American English can be spoken in a more relalxed fashion than British English.  But which American English is he talking about?  If we admit that there are at least five levels of American English when discussing register, which one is he focused on:
          1:  I doubt if I have sufficient data to respond adequately to your querry.
          2:  I do not know.
          3:  I don't know.
          4:  Ah dunno.
          5:  Ah-uh-oh.
           
          I personally teach to level three (while making sure my students are aware of the other four levels.  The English they usually encounter in contemporary films tends to ber on level four.  Since level five is usually reserved for one's immediate family in an Anglophonic situation, I doubt if they would be exposed to it.  Does Pete equate level one with British English?  I recall spending an hour with a Chelsea pensioner in a London Pub and he didn't sound like that; indeed, I didn't understand a word he said:  "Hay ye gawt uh cuppa tie?" (Do you have a cup of tea?)
           
          Mert - Dr.M.L.Bland
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