Have you ever done search on YouTube for “American accent” and watched a few of those videos?
If you haven’t – well, go ahead and watch a few of those. If you haven’t – well, I’m pretty sure you’ll have to agree with me on one thing:
The vast majority of American accent videos on YouTube are recorded by a native speaker (typically a British English speaker) trying to READ by putting on the American accent or just pronounce INDIVIDUAL words or SLANG phrases.
And that, my friends, is something I have a slight problem with ❗
You see – I’m a foreign English speaker myself YET when I’m recording American accent videos just like the one on top of this article, I’m doing my best to SPEAK FLUENTLY with the American accent about some topic.
I’m not reading.
I’m not just pronouncing individual words.
And I’m not just using some cliché slang expressions to showcase my American pronunciation.
Reading is Relatively Easy!
With all due respect, I would say that those British guys and gals trying to READ with American accent are choosing the easy way out! 😉
You see, it’s pretty easy to learn to read with an accent of your choice because when you read, you don’t have to think about WHAT to say. Everything is laid out in front of you, and all you need to focus upon is HOW you pronounce words.
I’m not saying anyone can do it right off the bat.
All I’m saying is that it’s much easier to read with American accent than it is to speak about some random stuff and focus on 2 things at the same time – WHAT to say and HOW to say it!
If I – a foreigner – can do it, then what’s the matter with you, British people? To me it’s not proper showcasing of your accent skills if all you do is read!
Pronouncing Individual Words is Even EASIER!
Yes, some YouTube videos feature people just taking a word list and pronouncing them individually the way Americans would.
Now, let me tell you with all honesty my friends, ANYONE can master the pronunciation of a few words with American accent within a matter of a few hours!
Anyone – even someone who hasn’t come in contact with American English in their lives is capable of that!
When that person would have to speak with American Pronunciation for real, would they be able for it?
Common, I think the answer is quite obvious – for someone having mastered the American pronunciation of a handful of words speaking fluently it is a mission impossible.
And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that ALL folks doing this on YouTube are fakes.
My point is – if you can speak with American accent fluently, then why limit yourself with just a handful of words?
Slang Doesn’t Mean Accent!
This is another accent myth that’s still alive and kicking – when you mention American accent to 100, say, British people, 99 of them will start spouting some American slang phrases!
How many times I’ve reiterated it on my blog – accent isn’t the same as slang!!!
But people will always remain people and it’s almost impossible to eradicate myths that are deeply rooted into society – such as this one.
I can go on like a broken record all I want, but people will still have the wrong notion that they can sound American by pronouncing some move catch-phrase with an exaggerated pronunciation or some very regional American phrase such as this cliché phrase – “Howdy Hi Y’all!” – pronounced with a Southern accent and that will count as “speaking with American accent”.
Needless to say, just being able to use some American slang doesn’t count as being able to speak with American accent.
Am I Being Perfect?
You think I’m just bragging with my American pronunciation skills?
I know for a fact I’m far from being perfect, and I also know any native English speaker would spot my foreign origin a mile away.
All I’m saying is this:
If I, being a foreigner, can try and sound like an American by speaking about random subjects fluently without referring to anything that’s written in front of me, then surely NATIVE English speakers trying to sound like Americans should be capable of speaking fluently without any problems whatsoever?!
Let me know what you think about it!