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"Strange " English language..


bydgoszcz
20 Feb 2010  #1
I am Polish and live in East London. I represent the older generation but speak English
fairly well. Had lived for 10 years - before I came to UK - in Canada and USA.
Still ( after three years in London) am struggling to come to terms with the version of English being spoken here.
I once went to a store and wanted to buy and ironing machine ( iron), Had to repeat that word few times because the shop assistant did not get what I needed.

They tend to "swallow" R totally . They prounance MATE, SAINT, MAIN
and many other words in very strange - to me - manner." A" in my understanding, should be prounanced as ( EI) not AI. My English friend at work said that

he had to do something around his house and said something that sounded to me like ( HOSE) not house.
Is it proper English or just a slang, cockney ?
Would welcome your comments - thank you.

Conrad
hague1cameron - | 85
20 Feb 2010  #2
You might not actually know this but very few Brits actually know how to speak their own language, you would have taught that with time the regional differences would disappear, but partly as a result of poor education policy this hasn't happened.
z_darius 14 | 3,969
20 Feb 2010  #3
Is it proper English or just a slang, cockney ?

In the so called RP (received pronunciation) "r" is often mute. Mostly in the final position and before vowels. Hence, you will often hear no "r" in "are", "hard" etc.

On the other hand there is a so called intrusive "r", something that also occurs in American English. "R" is added in speech between two words, nether of which contains the sound when spoken individually, or in another phonetic context. For instance, the phrase "idea of..." you will be pronounced as "idea'rof.."
Mister H 10 | 759
22 Feb 2010  #5
Is it proper English or just a slang, cockney ?

The way you have written what you're hearing does not make sense to me, so I can't hear it in my head enough to comment, however, the word "mate" being said as "mait" and so on is the norm - it's how I say it and I grew up in the leafy Home Counties !

What I would say though is that the London/cockney accent is changing into something that isn't good.

I'm not sure what the influence is for it, but it seems to be changing into something more resembling street slang rather than an actual language or accent.

I rang my bank the other day and the guy at the other end (who sounded no more than about 20) was inarticulate and that's the only way to describe it. He spoke with that "Am I bovvered" type accent. How these people get jobs is beyond me, I wouldn't have given him a job.

The problem is these days is that it is seen as ok to have low / no standards in almost everything and anyone wishing to change or correct them is seen as the one with the problem.
mira - | 115
22 Feb 2010  #6
You might not actually know this but very few Brits actually know how to speak their own language, you would have taught that with time the regional differences would disappear, but partly as a result of poor education policy this hasn't happened.

But when it comes to the pronounciation of a word "iron", I believe they do know how to pronounce it since it hasn't changed for ages.

Besides, it would be boring if all English people spoke the same accent. It's not a result of poor education, simply the part of the country you live in.
hague1cameron - | 85
22 Feb 2010  #7
I am not sure if i agree, it is the main cuase of class tension, becuse those who can't speak properly sometimes have a major inferiority complex that is why the UK is still so divided by class. I can understnad subtle differences, but such huge diffrerences in a realtivley small geographical area are not good. The education system should be capable of eliminating these differences however, i fear the the PC culture in the UK is just to great.
rich55 3 | 49
22 Feb 2010  #8
you would have taught that with time the regional differences would disappear, but partly as a result of poor education policy this hasn't happened.

such huge diffrerences in a realtivley small geographical area are not good. The education system should be capable of eliminating these differences however,

It is one of the things that I love about being English and British that there is such a diversity of accents and dialects in these isles. I have spoken to people from numerous countries, including some Polish friends, who say that regional accents are less identifiable where they come from which I find both strange and a little sad. You shouldn't view a regional accent as a negative thing or as being the result of a poor education. You will find that the vast majority of people are hugely proud of their regional accent and see it as part of their personal identity. I don't even think it is any longer much of a handicap in career terms as it once might have been as I believe that people are now judged on merit when it comes to recruitment. Even Oxbridge is full of regional accents as a result of positive recruitment of students from comprehensive schools who have achieved the required academic standards rather than having simply attended the right 'Public' (actually meaning private) school.

Most British people are fiercely proud of their cities and counties and a regional accent gives people a feeling of belonging and identity and the idea they could lose their accent as a result of some government-led homogenising of speech taught in schools is utterly laughable.

I know it can make understanding English more difficult for visitors/workers from abroad but you need to realise that what is an inconvenience for you is part of the British self. I hope it never changes.
Wroclaw Boy
22 Feb 2010  #9
I know it can make understanding English more difficult for visitors/workers from abroad but you need to realise that what is an inconvenience for you is part of the British self.

i usually have problems with Scottish call centres, imagine Dell support based in Newcastle.
rich55 3 | 49
22 Feb 2010  #10
I never said that we Brits can understand each other any better than the foreigners can! Plenty of times I've been completely lost by something someone from my own country has said! But I wouldn't want it any other way. When I was 16 I moved about 30 miles (less than 50km) to the next county and had the **** taken out of me for my funny accent by my new schoolmates! By the way, don't get me started on whether we Brits should do away with miles and adopt kilometres...ha ha...never!
Wroclaw Boy
22 Feb 2010  #11
By the way, don't get me started on whether we Brits should do away with miles and adopt kilometres...ha ha...never!

Why shouldnt we? I mean it makes more sense we choose metric for meters and mostly cm's why use Imperial miles. Do we use yards any more? no not really.

Pints are good for beer but thats about it otherwise its litres - Metric.

How tall are you? I use imperial feet and inches but again cm's are more practicle.

Weight - Kilos or Stone and pounds. Its all quite confusing for foreigners really.
rich55 3 | 49
22 Feb 2010  #12
Wroclaw Boy:

It's impossible to argue against using the metric system: more logical and easier to use in every way; however, it's this identity thing again. The younger Brits have grown up with the metric system and consequently, with the pressure of the EU for us to conform, the days of pints, miles, stones etc are numbered but I feel that just because something is easier and more logical it shouldn't necessarily be replaced as once again it is losing a little bit of history and identity from our everyday lives. If the UK is to fall in line with the Eurozone system of measurement (and I can see why it makes sound commercial and economic sense) why not apply this to other areas such as language? English is the world's lingua franca, so why not insist that it becomes the official language of Europe (and the world, perhaps) and systematically replace all other languages? Okay, I'm saying this a bit tongue in cheek, but why have languages with masculine/feminine/neuter and all of the subsequently crazy and seemingly unnecessary declensions when you can use a language which does pretty well without these things?

Also, I know it is logical to have a monetary system which is common throughout Europe but, economic and financial arguments aside, I miss going to other countries and using coins and notes that are different to the ones I use at home; it's part of the fun of being 'abroad'. It's a reason why I like going to Poland: it's own currency gives it a sense of identity lacking in other countries within the Eurozone; and it's part of the British identity too even though we have lost the shillings etc. and use a metric system, but at least the coins and notes are identifiably British.

Don't worry, all of us dinosaurs will soon be extinct!
hague1cameron - | 85
22 Feb 2010  #13
I never said that we Brits can understand each other any better than the foreigners can! Plenty of times I've been completely lost by something someone from my own country has said!

I guess this is a positive in that Brits would be more naturally tolerant of foreigners speaking in different accents when having their own countryman doing likewise. Nevertheless it's an obvious fact of life that educated Brits by and large don't speak with a regional accent, and if the judgment and suspicion is to stop it is only common sense that they should strive towards a more homogeneous accent to overcome this problem. Furthermore Britain has to be one of a very few countries if not the only one, in which you can have a competent none English speaker, speak the language better than some of the locals. That is not exactly something to be proud of.
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
22 Feb 2010  #14
Dont think it limited Nigel Kennedy! (as fake as his Mockney accent is) As for inferiority complex, there are plenty of brash rough speaking sucessful people in this country, thats what makes it so great...You sound like a judgemental little pr*ck.

You might not actually know this but very few Brits actually know how to speak their own language

Really, Im quite fluent in English, having spoken it all my life, I was taught to anunciate and to speak clearly as are many other English people, if foreigners cant understand local accents, its their problem not mine.

Do we use yards any more? no not really.

We dont use them at all, not in shops, not in sport, no where..havent for a long time.

Weight - Kilos or Stone and pounds. Its all quite confusing for foreigners really.

It is, but at least we have the advantage of knowing all three ;0)

more logical and easier to use in every way; however, it's this identity thing again.

I find both easy...my mum still uses lbs and oz when baking, I do the same simply because its what I know, but I know my weight in kilos and stones and lbs and I know my height in cm and ft & inches

but at least the coins and notes are identifiably British.

Hopefully that wont change any time soon - we opted out for a reason and I dont see us opting in any time soon.

I miss going to other countries and using coins and notes that are different to the ones I use at home; it's part of the fun of being 'abroad'. It's a reason why I like going to Poland:

I tend to stay away from the Euro zone as a rule. But it does have its advantages, you can take all that loose change you had from your last hols and spend it next time, regardless of where you go in the Euro zone...
hague1cameron - | 85
22 Feb 2010  #15
Dont think it limited Nigel Kennedy! (as fake as his Mockney accent is) As for inferiority complex, there are plenty of brash rough speaking sucessful people in this country, thats what makes it so great...You sound like a judgemental little pr*ck.

Just a neutral observer.
rich55 3 | 49
22 Feb 2010  #16
you can have a competent none English speaker, speak the language better than some of the locals. That is not exactly something to be proud of.

Perhaps 'better' in a BBC-newsreader or schoolroom English kind of way; but a language is a working tool which has evolved over perhaps thousands of years and can contain elements of other languages (Celtic, Latin, Germanic, Scandinavian in the case of Britain) which have left their mark to varying effect and impact in different areas. Why set out to systematically erase the resulting variations of language which exist within a country? To me, it would make Britain a poorer place to live. Would the British want to follow the example of the French where a committee decides which words are acceptable to include in the 'official' language; or perhaps imitate the Fascist model whereby people who do not speak BBC English are persecuted and forbidden to use it?

I accept that crude or lazy speech or speech which is the result of a lack of education are undesirable; but speech which is the result of the evolution of elements of a language within a regional area is a legitimate form of the language and the acceptance of such shows a tolerance and appreciation of history and human development which I for one would miss greatly.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
22 Feb 2010  #17
The purpose of language is communication, making yourself understood to those around you. Whether we like it or not, language evolves in its own way and English can never claim that its purity is being distilled by slack use. I've lost count of the number of times that I've mentioned that a word is of French origin. There are so many dialects in the UK too. Just watch 'Learn Scottish Words' on Youtube.
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
22 Feb 2010  #18
Just a neutral observer.

Are you aware of what neutral means? Maybe you should brush up on your English skills.

i usually have problems with Scottish call centres,

o2 have a call centre there, I have no problems whatsoever.

I guess this is a positive in that Brits would be more naturally tolerant of foreigners speaking in different accents when having their own countryman doing likewise.

Not really, its a completely different thing, I only like a very small number of foreign accents, the rest irritate me, they seem to speak too loud or sound harsh, yet I love most most British accents, I've even over the years grown to love the Welsh accent.

Furthermore Britain has to be one of a very few countries if not the only one, in which you can have a competent none English speaker, speak the language better than some of the locals.

Who the hell were you mixing with when you lived here - I am assuming you lived here, because you seem to think you know so much? I know of no English person who has a level of English below that of some foreigner, but I have heard a few "British" born foreigners who have a level of English that would make a 5 year old English child look articulate! - Please look at our education system and where we were in the tables 10 years ago and look how much we have fallen in past years, due to the influx to my Island! Also if foreigners are so bloody smart, why do we have to produce a leaflet in every language on this planet?
Wroclaw Boy
22 Feb 2010  #19
Im not surprised you live near the buggers.
You obviously know nothing about golf then.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
22 Feb 2010  #20
Scotland has so many dialects and some very strong accents and that can be a problem for many people, even English folk.
time means 5 | 1,310
22 Feb 2010  #21
you would have taught that

I think you mean Thought

The first sign of madness!
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
22 Feb 2010  #22
Im not surprised you live near the buggers.

Im in Manchester which is no where near Scotland - have you forgotten already what England looks like?

You obviously know nothing about golf then.

I said SPORT, also I do play the odd round, Ive got a good course across the road from me.

The first sign of madness!

Leave him alone, he's being neutral :P
Seanus 15 | 19,706
22 Feb 2010  #23
It's much closer than London is and I can fly to London from the NE of Scotland within an hour.
Vincent 9 | 809 Moderator
22 Feb 2010  #24
We dont use them at all, not in shops, not in sport, no where..havent for a long time.

Don't forget they still use inches, feet and yards on the footie pitches ;)
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
22 Feb 2010  #25
We use meters in Athletics..thats all that counts (I did actually realise after my statement, but I was thinking of the only sport that counts!)

It's much closer than London is and I can fly to London from the NE of Scotland within an hour.

I know Sheep, but my point was we are not that close, or close enough for us to sound alike.
hague1cameron - | 85
23 Feb 2010  #26
Are you aware of what neutral means? Maybe you should brush up on your English skills.

Are you? Somehow i doubt it.

or perhaps imitate the Fascist model whereby people who do not speak BBC English are persecuted and forbidden to use it?

Sounds good to me, what do others think:)

you know so much?

Thanks that is very kind.
rich55 3 | 49
24 Feb 2010  #27
"You might not actually know this but very few Brits actually know how to speak their own language. You would have (taught) thought that with time the regional differences would disappear, but partly as a result of poor education policy this hasn't happened."

...or write it? Sorry, couldn't resist it. ;-)
Trevek 26 | 1,702
24 Feb 2010  #28
I know of no English person who has a level of English below that of some foreigner

depends who the foreigner is. I've met some highly educated foreigners with a stunning level of English, who would blow some of the neds I've met out of the water.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,690
24 Feb 2010  #29
I know of at least two non-English speaking natives who have an incredible level of English to the point where if I didn't see their ID card, I wouldn't believe they were foreign. Certainly, they know English far better than 99% of neds!
pawian 161 | 9,970
22 Aug 2019  #30
You might not actually know this but very few Brits actually know how to speak their own language,

I constantly warn my students not to be surprised or even shocked when they actually go to an English speaking country and won`t understand much despite a few years of intensive education in Poland. Here, doing mostly British textbooks, they learn the English which is used by the queen and generally intelligent people, while in real life they run into colloquial, slangish everyday language.

I felt the same in the USA - I still remember those funny moments when I asked diner customers to repeat their orders coz I didn`t understand what they were talking about. Some of them got angry coz they thought I was fooling around. That was one of the reasons I was fired from the place. :):)


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