The fact that other people relate to this is hugely validating TBQH.

@InvaderXan I'm sure they'd hate the way I talk even if I had learned French perfectly - I learned Quรฉbรฉcois French.

@InvaderXan We've had people from France complain that they found it easier to communicate in English than on Quebecois French.

In Quebec - where I grew up - language is an active political issue, and no matter how bad your French people prefer you try it first even if they then switch to English. And I understand it, in a province with a French Catholic majority that was run by the English Protestant minority.

@InvaderXan I once tried to order something in French and the vendor just responded in English without missing a beat. Somehow, that felt even more insulting than if he just hadn't understood me.

I am currently in France. And yes, that happens to me almost daily. ๐Ÿ˜…

@InvaderXan Many years ago, I went to school in Paris for a while. There was a sandwich shop around the corner and when it was my turn order, I would try my best French. The woman behind the counter screwed up her face and indignantly answered me in English. Finally, one day, I gave up and order in English. She narrowed her eyes and answered me in French.

@alysonsee The funny part is, Iโ€™ve heard stories a lot like this one before. I wonder how often this happens! ๐Ÿ˜‚

@InvaderXan @alysonsee Here's another story: I helped out at an info booth at My rudimental French was enough to get the basics across, but when the topic got more complex, I apologized and asked (in French) if it would be possible to continue the conversation in English. On two of such occasions, the person I was talking to just turned around and left without any further word as if I'd magically disappeared.

@InvaderXan @alysonsee I have to add that all others were really nice. Some replied in good English that they can't speak English, so I should continue struggling in French ๐Ÿ˜‚ which I did. :)

It happened to me in Paris : I ordered in French, and the woman answered in English... The funny part is that I'm french ๐Ÿ˜…

@InvaderXan I don't quite relate but this really tracks with what I've heard about French people. I actually thought, that was just some xenophobic bullshit but I guess not :D

Honestly, this has happened with friends of mine. I'll say something. They'll look confused. I'll say it again. They'll look more confused. Then they'll suddenly say "Ohhh!" and then they'll say the exact thing I just said, with a nearly imperceptible difference in the pronunciation of just one vowel.

@InvaderXan That is very, very strange. Does France not have different dialects? I genuinely don't know. I only kow that Canadian French is different and that they hate it.

@Juju Yeah, it does, that's the strange part. Like, come on, my pronunciation can't be *that* bad... can it?

Also, Parisians often seem to speak quite fast, which doesn't make my life easier TBH.

@maloki @Juju OMG this happens with Swedish too??

In fairness, this happened to me a couple of times in Japan. Like, I'd have to repeat myself a couple of times before a waiter would understand me. Then a Japanese friend would turn to me afterwards and say something like "I don't know what that was about. I thought you said that perfectly."

@InvaderXan @Juju people who aren't native speakers can't hear the difference between these 4 words:


@InvaderXan @maloki
My French teacher told us "en", "on", "an", "in" and "un" were supposed to sound different. WE'RE GERMAN, WOMAN!

@Juju @maloki This is one thing I did like about speaking German. The pronunciation is relatively easy once you get used to it, and everything is spoken exactly as it's spelled.

@InvaderXan @Juju @maloki German be like: umfAhren nicht, Umfahren! Nein! umfAhren, nicht Umfahren! (Don't drive around (it) , drive (it) over! No! Drive (it) over, don't drive around it!)

@Juju @InvaderXan @maloki "en"/"an" are pronounced the same by some french people

"in"/"un" too, but "an"/"un" are differents.

(source : I'm french, I know it's supposed to be different but damn if I can ear it)

@Neea @Juju @InvaderXan @maloki don't we lose the ability to distinguish certain sounds unimportant to our native languages as babies?

@lapis @Neea @InvaderXan @maloki Probably and doing sounds that don't come up in your native language are hard.
That's why so many Germans for example do an "s" instead of "th" because the never learned.

@Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
Interestingly, both the th sounds we have in English (รฐ and รพ in Icelandic, I think?) are pretty uncommon, so people in Southern Europe and East Asia all find them difficult at first. S or z are the usual substitutes. ๐Ÿ™‚

@hollyamory @Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
I've known a few American friends who were surprised to realise that when they're speaking, there's no difference between bedding and betting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ah yes, that's another thing again. The good old alveolar tap, my favorite IPA symbol. :)
@Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki

@hollyamory @Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
You know, I've never learned to read IPA? I really should sometime, I think.

The double-t is interesting. If you go to some parts of Scotland the double-t is replaced by a glottal stop. And my favourite part of this is that the best way to demonstrate a glottal stop is to say "glottal stop" in a Glasgow accent!

This is true in several British accents, not just Scottish ones. Cockney, Geordie and some Yorkshire ones use glottal stops like that too.

And it's not so much that it needs to be a double t, just an intervocalic (between two vowel sounds) t. So you get a glottal stop in the middle of "water" as well.
@Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki

@hollyamory @Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
Yeah true, dropping the single t is characteristic of a lot of Bri'ish accents. I just think it sounds particularly nice in Glaswegian. ๐Ÿ™‚

And if you fancy learning the IPA, I just finished writing about it, in a little blog series that starts here:
@Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki

@InvaderXan @Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
It is just English where you cannot find anything useful for learning the IPA. Where I come from, the IPA is the way to teach school children how to pronounce the new vocabulary they are learning. All dictionaries I own, safe for a few English <-> language I have, contain IPA as pronounciation guide.

@hollyamory @InvaderXan @Juju @lapis @Neea @maloki
Which leads to the question, why doesn't the English speaking world use IPA? Especially as English has the most irregular pronounciation I am aware of, which makes explaining it very awkward and one has to use example words (like "o as in ghoti")

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@lapis @Juju @InvaderXan @maloki Yeah, I learned that in linguistics class.

Those sounds are differents in north and south France prononciation, but us in the middle aren't used to it.

@InvaderXan @Juju yeah, mostly the vowels.
Also then the change with dialects

@maloki @Juju Interestingly, I think the key to accents in most languages is changing how you say the vowels. It's definitely true for most English accents, together with the letter t.

Bri'ish... Uhmurkin... Uhstraaalyin... Suth Ifric'n...

@InvaderXan @maloki The last one reads Kiwi to me for some reason but yes, you have a point.
Unfortunately I'm bad at it so everything in every language just sounds German.

@Juju @maloki It's quite easy to mistake New Zealand English for South African English. I have before, and I'm familiar with the way South Africans speak. They use different words, but the pronunciations are quite similar.

@maloki @InvaderXan @Juju I confirm Swedish is exactly like this ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

@InvaderXan @maloki @Juju I've observed that depending on context, I will be listening in the wrong language. If someone perceives you as a non Japanese speaker, it's possible they would be listening for English, and not able to parse the Japanese words you're saying, because they expect the phonemes they hear to correspond to a different set of morphemes (I think that terminology is right...)

@maloki @Juju
In my experience, the Japanese are less confused by our pronounciation, but by the rhythm and melody we put onto Japanese. Japanese is a flat but rhythmic language. Any melody will make it sound weird. And the strict rhythm, especially the length of vowels is a pain for anyone who grew up with European languages.

@attilakinali @maloki @Juju
Yeah, a lot of gaijin say things wrong without realising. ๆฑไบฌ's pronounced Tลkyล not TOE-key-OH. But other than getting the long and short vowel sounds right, it's not really that rigid.

Also, Japanese is really not flat. In fact, it's quite melodic, but the intonations and inflections used by a Japanese speaker are different to what a European might expect. Intonation is also used to distinguish betwen homophones in speech, like ่œ˜่›› and ้›ฒ, or ๆฉ‹ and ็ฎธ.

@InvaderXan When I was in France with my Boyfriend for vacation, we started out taking turns going to the bakery in the morning to get a baguette, but even though my boyfriends pronunciation of "une/deux baguette(s) s'il vous plaรฎt" wasn't bad in my ears, he always had to resort to vigorous pointing and the person was still confused :D

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