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Why do we have an accent in a foreign language?

Why do we have an accent when speaking in a foreign language?

lundi 18 sept., Il y a 3 mois
 5 min

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The video explores the reasons why people have different accents when speaking foreign languages. Firstly, the sounds in different languages vary, which can lead to pronunciation differences. For example, the "p" sound in French is different from that in English. People unconsciously adapt foreign words to their native language's rules, like inserting extra sounds.

Secondly, stress patterns in languages differ. French words are often stressed on the final syllable, while English has primary and secondary stress. Adapting to a new stress pattern can be challenging and is not always well-taught. Lastly, languages have varying rhythms. Cantonese and Italian are syllable-timed, with each syllable having similar duration. English has irregular intervals between stressed syllables.

These differences affect how languages sound even if individual words aren't understood. Better teaching of pronunciation, stress, and rhythm could help people speak foreign languages with more accuracy.


• Hybrid (adjective) - Composed of elements from different sources or styles.

• Consonant (noun) - A speech sound produced by blocking or restricting airflow with articulatory organs.

• Forbidden (adjective) - Not allowed or prohibited.

• Imitate (verb) - To mimic or copy someone's actions or speech.

• Distinctly (adverb) - In a way that is easily recognizable or clearly different.

• Accuracy (noun) - The quality of being correct, precise, or exact.

Source: The Economist

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