Non-American native English speakers, is it hard to understand American English?

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#1
non-american native english speakers, do you have a hard time understanding american english accents?

at work today, this irish fellow came in and i could barely understand the fucker! idk if it was just because he wasnt annunciating his words enough or because his accent was so thick, but i had to ask him to repeat himself once or twice when he said anything. after a few minutes, i was able to pick through the accent a bit but there was still a fair amount of me asking 'what?' or just nodding and laughing in agreement when it seemed prudent.

my question to non-american native english speakers is do you guys have a hard time understanding an american accent? and not like a heavy southern accent, i even have a hard time understanding those, im more asking about a 'neutral' american accent.
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#2
He was most likely drunk. American english is by far the easiest to understand of all the native english dialects/accent's I've heard.

From what I've heard it's never slurry of incoherent like british accent can be. It's very clear and coherent.

I'm however not entitled to answer this thread as I'm not a native english speaker.

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#3
they're extremely clear most of the time, so yes. i'm english and i've never had trouble understanding anybody from the standard deviating american accent.
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#4
I am in Australia at the moment and I find that due to my accent (and the speed at which I talk) no one can understand me.

I understand Americans easily. Probably due to TV.
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#5
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I understand Americans easily. Probably due to TV.


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#6
For what it's worth, I'm American and I find Brits easier to understand than most Americans

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#7
I can't understand British English at all.

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#9
TV rotted my brain so I can understand it pretty well..
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#10
My mum is a Scot and my Dad from the "north" and I live in Essex.

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#11
For what it's worth, full on Irish can be tricky to understand. I spent a month in Northern Ireland last summer, and a few people I just couldn't get... That said, I loved the place, I'd live there in an instant!

American English is pretty easy to understand, probably (as previously mentioned) because of TV.
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#12
Well if they don't eat their words or talk too fast, it is pretty easy to understand.
#13
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I can't understand British English at all.


This, though mostly their "lingo". I don't have a problem with accents, though some people who live in the hills in the South mumble when they talk which makes it hard to understand them.
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#15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KzeYrjfN9s

I think he's perfectly clear.
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#16
Irish people speak a dialect that you wouldn't be exposed to on a regular basis, it's understandable that we'd be hard to understand. We have various colloquialisms that are unheard of elsewhere and speech patterns taken from Gaeilge. We also tend to speak very fast in comparison to other English speakers. Vowel pronunciations are also somewhat different.

Hell, I sometimes find it hard to understand people from the North or South in Ireland, some people just have very thick accents. I once had a boss from Donegal who I just couldn't understand at all, I used to kind of have to guess what he was saying to me.

Other countries are exposed to American accents on a regular basis on television etc, I'd be surprised if they found them hard to understand.
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#17
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The actual English are harder to understand because of their retarded accents.


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#18
Nah Its easy to understand. A kiwi talking over there on the other hand was quite the challenge
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#23
General American is by far the most natural sounding accent. I honestly can't see how someone from the UK would think their accent sounded normal.
#24
Yeah, American accent's probably the easiest along with 'standard' British. There's like 90 different accents in the UK, and some crazy slang, but the only coherent one is the one that bond villains and the Queen use.
#25
Quote by WaterGod
General American is by far the most natural sounding accent. I honestly can't see how someone from the UK would think their accent sounded normal.


Well some people don't think they have an accent, or don't think it's as thick as they think it is. I live in the South and some people don't think they have a Southern Accent, or don't think they sound like Jeff Foxworthy.
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#29
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I wonder where abouts from Ireland he was from. There are a lot of different accents in this country.


i couldnt even wager a guess. he could have very well been scotish for all i know.

but he had red hair and the first thing i thought when i heard his voice was irish so im going with that. thats pretty objective right?
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#30
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I didn't even understand the last guy

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#31
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#32
Quote by Horsedick.MPEG
Well some people don't think they have an accent, or don't think it's as thick as they think it is. I live in the South and some people don't think they have a Southern Accent, or don't think they sound like Jeff Foxworthy.

My girlfriend has a pretty general American accent but mine is a slight Boston accent. I'll say things like "ca" (car) and tomorra (tomorrow) and she'll try to correct me
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#33
Some of the posts in this thread just show how moronic so many Americans are, sorry to the Americans who are actually posting decent responses. Like the post a few above me saying, 'how could anyone from the UK could see their accent as normal'. I can guarantee that a standard English accent is just as easy to understand as a standard American accent. Obviously someone with a thick northern accent may be hard to understand, but that's exactly the same as an American with a thick southern accent.
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#34
No. Once you get English, you understand it. An exception to the accents, i have no idea what people say in the south
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#35
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My girlfriend has a pretty general American accent but mine is a slight Boston accent. I'll say things like "ca" (car) and tomorra (tomorrow) and she'll try to correct me


Some people down here say shit like "I'm gonna go warsh my hands" or the stereotypical Southern Accent when they say "Tonaight is awesome y'all" them damn northern folk be laughin at em.
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#36
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Some of the posts in this thread just show how moronic so many Americans are, sorry to the Americans who are actually posting decent responses. Like the post a few above me saying, 'how could anyone from the UK could see their accent as normal'. I can guarantee that a standard English accent is just as easy to understand as a standard American accent. Obviously someone with a thick northern accent may be hard to understand, but that's exactly the same as an American with a thick southern accent.

So...by "some of the posts" you mean that one post?
#37
Quote by Colgate Total
The actual English are harder to understand because of their retarded accents.


Nope, this one as well.
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#38
Changing the language, I am a native Spanish speaker (Mexican) and I cannot understand Cuban Spanish. Is this just me?
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#39
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Changing the language, I am a native Spanish speaker (Mexican) and I cannot understand Cuban Spanish. Is this just me?


I don't know about Cubans, I know a lot of Mexicans hate Puerto Rican Spanish.
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#40
Quote by Horsedick.MPEG
Well some people don't think they have an accent, or don't think it's as thick as they think it is. I live in the South and some people don't think they have a Southern Accent, or don't think they sound like Jeff Foxworthy.


I often see it in the reverse. Like when I went up to California my hairstylist kept asking me whether or not she had a California sounding accent. I couldn't tell the difference.

I honestly think southern accents are among the most annoying in english accents. While New Engalnd accents are among my favorite.
Last edited by WaterGod at Aug 6, 2011,
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