Thursday, 24 November 2011

two souls - alas - are dwelling in my breast!

Every now and then a student of one of my courses in English phonetics comes to see me to have their pronunciation assessed. A few days ago, it was a young lady speaking German with a slight French accent (at least that's what I thought) who came to my office. As part of the usual procedure I asked her for how long she had been learning English at school. "Eleven", was her reply. She then told me she was an Erasmus student from Glasgow. "How come you have a French accent in German", I asked her. She looked at me unconprehendingly, then said: "I'm from Estonia". Aaah! Of course - stupid me! Next I wanted to know which reference accent she preferred - General British or General American. "American English". Aaah! Of course - stupid me! Staying in Glasgow quite naturally means that General American is one's preferred accent. But her wish was my command. She then read the test words and sentences and I must say her pronunciation of (American) English was 'Estoningly' good.

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