Discussion in 'General Language' started by dzurisova, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    If a Czech person were living in Tennessee learning English, he may speak English differently than a Czech personl learning English while living in Maine. For example, he may pronounce the word CAR or HAIL differently.

    Beside the Bohemian/Moravian difference, does the location of the Czech Republic influence the way words are pronounce. For instance, my husband is from Southern Bohemia. As he teaches me to speak Czech, will I learn to pronouce things differently than someone living elsewhere in the Country?
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Well, there are differences. For examples, some Moravian accents are easy distinguishable from (central) Czech.

    Eh, i sorry, I didn't read with attention.
    They say, that Prague (or central Czech) accent is little different from another bohemian parts, but I'm not able to hear it.
  3. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Yes, there is slight difference between the accent of people from Prague and for example east Bohemia. Aa "eso" said, it's so slight that it's really hard to hear it. It's not like accents in English where you can clearly hear the difference. And in your case it depends how good you are in pronuncing Czech. The accent of people who are learning Czech is mostly very clear. You pronunce the words little different I think. I can say that the person who I am speaking to is not native Czech, because there's difference in the accent. But I know also know people who has really very good accent in Czech, I would say really "Czech accent".
  4. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    As a poliglot ( I speak & write 6 languages), I've often wondered Why I do have an accent in some, and none in the otheres. As a child, I learned 3 languages symulataniously at home, and the other 3 through emigarstion to other countries. As hard as I tried, I could never get rid of the accents. Through some intence research, I discovered that this a right/left lobe function. The "mother" tongues -- languages learned befroe the age of 12 tend to reside in the left lobe, and hance there is no accent, and the "learned" languages" reside in the left lobe -- This was confirmed a few years ago here in the US, when a "victim" of a accident expereinced anemia -- lost/frgot the ability to speak English (his learned language), but experienced no losss of his "native language" ( German). This is how the left/right lobe syndrom was discovered.

    Hence, if you are learning a "forgein" language at a later age, your accent will be present, regardless of what you do or try to "hide it". Even if you are being taught by a native speaker, or live in the contry --your accent will be your identifiable trate -- accept it and learn to live with it!..

  5. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    I think it is not that simple - an American friend of mine who started learning Czech at the age of thirty, was able to speak Czech without a slightest foreign accent three years later. I guess the musical talent is involved here as well; people with so-called "perfect pitch" can catch the correct accent and pronunciation quite easily and fast. My sons who are gifted in that way can "speak" French just imitating the sounds and accent without really knowing the language. They used to play this game in Paris to the amazement of our French friends who were trying to understand and thought the boys were speaking some French student slang.
  6. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    That makes sense. When my husband was 4 years old his parents defected and came to the states. He learned English and forgot Czech. Then when he was 9, they went back to CZ and he had to learn Czech all over. He also forgot English. At age 24, he defected and came back here. He had to learn English again. He speaks it without an accent at all. It's probably because he learned it at 4 and then forgot it.

    My son, who is very musically gifted and sings beautifully, can hear my husband speak Czech and say it perfectly on the first try. Whereas I have to hear it several times to pronounce it correctly and there are some words I will never pronounce correctly. I had to hear the word "Co" (tso) several times before I heard the difference in the Czech Co (tso) and the English So.
  7. Ariana

    Ariana Member

    To me, it seems impossible to completely lose a foreign accent. All humans have the same capability to produce all the sounds in all of the human languages at birth, but learning one language often interferes with this ability. Also, the older you are when you learn a language, the harder it is to pronounce it perfectly.

    One thing I've noticed with respect to speaking other languages is that I tend to have better pronounciation when I'm talking to someone with good pronounciation or hear it spoken well for at least a few minutes. I tend to imitate the vocal patterns of those I'm conversing with.

    Note to Viktor: anemia is iron defiiciency. I think you meant amnesia. Just so you know. :wink:
  8. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Thanks for correcting me -- I know the difference -- but somehow I let it slip! Tried editing the error, but could not get back in..

  9. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    I agree with this wholly. I think that at some point in a child's development, the brain tends to try to represent new sounds in terms of what it's already familiar with. Not always true, but there seems to be a definite tendency there.
    For the vast majority of people this holds true, yet I have come across many who started learning a foreign language in their late teens, twenties, and even into their forties, yet have no noticeable accent. One example is a Slovak girl I knew who came to the U.S. for her senior year of high school. When I first met her, I could even tell what region of the country she had lived in, and would never have thought that she wasn't American, if she hadn't told me otherwise. In short a person with a good ear can overcome this problem with enough practice.
    I wonder if this tendency is due to how one typically learns a foreign language, i.e. learning words/phrases by comparing and attaching their meanings to words/phrases in their native tongue, as opposed to attaching a word and its meaning directly to a basic concept. Hmmm.... But I think that this is more of an issue of how one learns to speak a language (vocabulary, grammar, usage, etc.), rather than how one pronounces the language, as this involves both the hearing and speech centers of the brain as well.
  10. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    It applies to healthy newborns only!
  11. silverkinguk

    silverkinguk Well-Known Member

    I'm good at faking accents

  12. brook

    brook Well-Known Member

    Interesting... one of my best friends grew up speaking Czech in her house (her parents immigrated to the States in the 70s) but once she started school, they stopped speaking Czech with her and only spoke English so that she would do well. She lost much of her knowledge of Czech, but understands it quite well and speaks Czech with a Czech accent (as far as I can tell - we're learning czech together right now). She says I have a good accent, but I think that's debatable! I have a good ear though, so maybe that helps....
  13. atyka

    atyka Well-Known Member

    @ Jana: "I guess the musical talent is involved here as well."
    I strongly believe this. I wish I had a better ear...

    (@ Viktor: Are you so good at all your 6 (!!) languages?
    @ all: sorry for my sarcasm...)
  14. silverkinguk

    silverkinguk Well-Known Member

    Yea same happened to me as a kid.I lost my former language being tamil as parents spoke English only in household.I understand and speak a bit,but not fluently.

  15. Kanadanka

    Kanadanka Well-Known Member

    Note to Ariana and Viktor. When someone loses the ability to use language after a brain injury, it's either called "Aphasia" (which likely affects the person both receptively and expressively), or 'ANOMIA", which is the loss of ability to use words to label. Amnesia is a loss of memory overall (which means you may not remember who you are, if you know how to drive, if you've ever been married, etc. Those people generally have no trouble speaking or understanding, though).
  16. Pip

    Pip Member

    Ahoj all!

    As VERY long-time language teacher (French), I would like to add that accent , and speaking without an accent, is not all there is to speaking a language well. In English, for example, the person who says ?I have twenty years?, or ?It goes good with me today? is not speaking good English, however perfect their pronunciation of the words may be. On the other hand, once pronunciation is adequate, a person whose syntax, idiom and vocabulary are essentially perfect is perceived as speaking the language perfectly ? look at Kofi Annan?s English, for example. Speaking without an accent is actually vastly overrated in terms of good communication.

    That being said, I hope that the little Czech I can cram in the short time before my trip in mid-August will be both syntactically correct AND well-pronounced .


  17. Pip

    Pip Member

    Don't know why my punctuation didn't go through correctly . . .

    Oh well!

  18. jsmith

    jsmith Member

    Hello, there are many theories why most people speak with an accent and some without...hence "Critical Age/period Theory". Also some linguists believe that one cannot speak without an accent if they start learning a new language after 12/13 because all the facial muscles have been formed and thus it takes enormous physical effort to correct it. Of course ..."Vyjimka potvrzuje pravidlo."

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