Jump to content

Having an accent


idun
 Share

Recommended Posts

I still have a strong english accent when I speak french, I cannot rid myself of it, I have tried, but it is there.

And the truth is that french people seem to like it, from 'adorable' to 'mignon' to all other sorts of little pleasant comments, and never a 'moche' or an 'affreux'. And not just me I have heard it said about other british people who speak french with a strong accent too.

IF that is the french people think, then my kids hate my accent, and I was wondering how other english speakers find spoken french with 'british' accents ??? Is it pleasant to the ear, or does it jar.

I must admit, 'my' french jars with me, as I said in spite of my efforts.[Www]

I won't even go into regional british accents, because there are some I hate, literally, and some I am not keen on, including where I live. And I probably have one, but can pick up on it instantly since we ended up living so far away for so long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I too have a strong accent in French, but it is not a typical British one apparently. I am sometimes mistaken for someone from Alsace; or Germany or Holland.
I don't think I could ever lose it, since I learned my French in the old-fashioned academic way from books, rather than by listening and repeating.
I am a tiny bit jealous of some people who have just picked it up by ear and so tend to have a much better accent than I have although they often make mistakes of grammar and  don't have as good a vocabulary  as I have, since  they speak what is essentially street French.  They DO have a better accent than I have though I have to admit[:(]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose I speak street french NH, and I am usually understood, there are a few rare exceptions[Www], but it never helped me get a french accent, although I do know of brits who have been in France since the 70's and still have thicker english accents than me and they speak good french.

I always thought that if I had moved to the midi I could have managed that accent far better, with a sank '5' as sink etc etc. I really think I could have managed that, but how could I speak like that living in the Alpes??? couldn't do it.

I suppose it is all down to having the ear for languages and I do not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the passing years that I have lived here, I am happy that it's very rarely these days when I am asked to repeat something I have said.  So my spoken French must be passable, I think.

To my own ears I do not sound as though I speak French with an English accent.  Sometimes, it takes a few sentences before someone asks me whether I am anglaise.  Sometime, they can't guess and ask where I am from.

That is EXCEPT when I speak French, eg in the doctors' waiting room, to British people before I realise they aren't French.  In those instances, many do think I am French and attempt to speak French back......that makes me giggle mightily because I can't understand how they can possibly think I am French!  Blimey, I speak French fairly readily but no way do I speak like a French person!

I have to be honest, I can't say I think an English accent is mignon or adorable[:P]  I remember years ago, in a French class, the teacher trying to reassure the students that an English accent was nice.  I said straightaway, yes, but only when they are speaking English!

I have some English friends whose accent really really grates on me.  Scottish and Welsh friends seem to sound better.  As one French friend says, their accent is less pointu.  I think many people emphasis the consonants too strongly, especially p, b and t sounds and they tend to emphasise the middle syllables of longer words instead of (usually) the last syllable as the French do. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 LOL mint, if I speak in french to someone and they are english in such circumstances, and I am in France, I stick with the french.

I do know british people in France, but not many and sometimes if they had a 'do' and there were was a mixed bunch of us there, it has happened that  I have been told by some of these other brits that I speak good french, but only by those  who had been in France about as long as me, and had not, shall we say, 'made the effort' to learn.

In Canada, 'they' in Quebec, thought I was francaise........ ah the canadians, what can one say! Still on a visit to Paris, a parisienne thought I was from the Midi, so there you go, the people with me thought it was hilarious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My accent is, apparently, quite good as I seem to be able to 'do' various accents just by hearing them .. and my grammar is not bad either. My problem is lack of vocab .. although I try very hard to retain vocab it comes into my mind, might stay for a short while and then just wanders off.

I am quite frequently asked what region of France I am from since my accent cannot immediately be placed .. so I own up to being English to excuse my vocab, or lack of.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we tell people here we have just moved from Normandie, they do that half closed eyes bit and quizzically state that we do not have a Norman accent? They look reassured when we say we are Brits.

We moved to Manche when our two boys were babies. A French friend from the south of France told us will all certainly that we were doing them a great disservice as their local accent would mark them out as country bumpkins in the rest of France!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an 87 year old aunt who has lived in France for over six decades, for most of that time married to her French husband. She has lived in a francophone environment throughout. She speaks French with a posh English accent although her pronunciation is perfect. I have never, ever come across a situation where she has been misunderstood.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="auxadrets"]I have twice been told by French people that I sound like Jane Birkin when I speak French.

Is this good or bad?[/quote]

On the whole, GOOD.  So you have an accent like that sexy, come hither Jane Birkin?

Are you having to fend off all those men that sound like Gainsbourg?  Lol, I guess every silver lining has a cloud? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

French people in the Gers seemed to understand me ok. As I've said before people from NE England, Scotland (and Ireland?) have broad vowels, and perhaps a more musical intonation and rhythm than southerners.

I could also do the gutteral 'r' which used to be part of Geordie speech, and is also used by older french people in the Gers.
My friend came from Devon and some of the locals couldn't understand her, but it didn't matter as she 's so sociable.And she understands french well, much better than me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have lived in the North East of England for 35 years now (36 this coming June !!) and haven't lost my french accent. Not even trying to. Some people think that I am from Wales ..... that's the french/Geordie mixture ..... And when I speak french, some people can hear a british accent ...... I have lost my parisian twang apparently.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, we should all meet really, but it is a strange thing how time passes sooooo quickly these days.

And the plans I make can remain plans from one year to the next. I sometimes feel rather ashamed of myself, but don't seem to be able to get some things done.

I told an old friend from when we were young that we would meet up, two years ago or more now, and we still have not.

In fairness, for some reason, I do go from one catastrophe to another with daily things, and maybe that explains how my days and months and years just wizz past.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I personally like hearing a British accent, and I always think that the fact that you are making the effort to actually speak another language earns you brownie points anyway. I guess maybe that's why French people tend to have good things to say about your accent.

I am a native French speaker and I lived all my adult life in English speaking countries. I am normally told that my accent when I speak English is cute too but, like you, I always hate knowing that I have an accent. But despite my efforts, it's still there. The only good thing for me is that a lot of people don't recognize right away that I am French. But they always know I am foreign, and sometimes it only takes a hello (still now after about 3 decades) for people to ask where I am from...

Whatever the perception or others, or yourself, I think you need to praise yourself for speaking at least 2 languages! :-)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simonflys wrote : A FOREIGN ACCENT IS A SIGN OF BRAVERY - SO GO FOR IT!

Too true .. as I discovered this very afternoon when I had an appt with one of the local Notaires reference one of my (elderly) friends being given 3 months notice to quit her rented 2 bedroom flat because the landlady wanted to sell it.

Said landlady had recently inherited the flat from her deceased parents so wanted to be shut of the elderly, practically immobile tenant.

Upshot .. all good for my friend .. and a warm approval of my command of French even when needing to deal with a fairly complex legal situation, albeit with a recognisable accent 😏
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not at all "bit" is a huitième of an octet. Obviously, ALBF is no great expert in computer science.

Then again, not sure what the French would make of Norman Hunter & "Norman bites yer legs".

Although I do know that many of our French friends were amused to hear about England's grass verges and soft verges.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...