General Question

pleiades's avatar

Native English Speakers: How do you feel about the American use of English?

Asked by pleiades (6379 points ) 3 months ago

For me personally when someone from U.K. speaks (and yes I’m from California, USA for reference!) it kind of sounds slang… Obviously I’m biased and trained to sound out 97% of the English spelling…

Or maybe I just have not heard proper English? (After all I do listen to a lot U.K. musicians talk perhaps they are using the cool slang)

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47 Answers

cazzie's avatar

Listening to young Americans talk and using the word ‘like’ intermittently sounds very odd and confusing to me. ‘She had this, like, red dress, and it was all, like, tight and stuff.’ and then using a question inflection at the end. Was it a red dress or not? Was it tight or only ‘like’ tight on her? Are you asking me a question or telling me something?

I like all the English accents everywhere, from Australia to New England. I think it is fun to guess where people come from based on their accents, like Henry Higgins. It is hard to say what proper English is these days, but I know poor English when I hear it, if that makes sense.

zenvelo's avatar

The general population in the UK has just as much slang in their day to day conversations as people in the US do. It’s more noticeable to an American (and Britons notice it more in the US), because it is not immediately understood.

Don’t forget that London was the birthplace elf Cockney Rhyming slang; which was indecipherable to many. And many Brits don’t understand a Geordie or any Tynesiders.

The closest we have in either country to “proper English” is nationally broadcast news- NBC/CBS/NPR in the US, BBC in the UK.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I gotta say that I really dig the American version of English as it is far out.

However, to this day I am most impressed with
English spoken in Jamaica by Jamaicans mon.
It be irie.

pleiades's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Funny you mention that! Just wrapped up the Bob Marley documentary!~

LuckyGuy's avatar

It’s strange. I’ve noticed that everyone here sounds exactly like me – except for the morning spammers from India.

jca's avatar

Where I live, everyone sounds the same. Where I work, I do hear some African Americans (also known as black people) using what sounds somewhat like a southern accent, even though they’re not southern and even though they stop talking like that when they talk more formally. If you listen to some hip hop songs, you hear the same accent, when they say things like “Mhmmm, you know it.” When I was young, it was referred to as “jive.”

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I live in the deep south but have a midwestern accent (my folks are yankees). Some of the language here could hardly even be considered English. It was so bad growing up that the one grammar teacher would pass out dittos that explained the proper use of words in place of phrases like “that thar” “yunt tew” “hell foir” ect…. She just gave up trying after a while. If you ever watched the show “moonshiners” Jim Tom was not an exaggeration. Needless to say I got in some fights in middle school because I stuck out like a sore thumb. I prefer to converse in midwestern English.

jca's avatar

My grandfather was from the South, and instead of saying “leave it there” he’d say “leave it lay there” or just “leave it lay.”

jaytkay's avatar

A lot of Americans (or maybe Midwesterners) pronounce “e” vowels as “i”, as in cinder.

Senate becomes “Sinate”
Been is pronounced “bin”

Hearing it makes me wince.

marinelife's avatar

British English is not more or less slangy than American English.

Kardamom's avatar

I watch a lot of British period dramas. A lot. So listening to plain old American accents sounds rather boring.

jca's avatar

@jaytkay: “Been” is pronounced “bin” not “bean.”

Kardamom's avatar

@jca We say it like bin, too, out here in California.

jca's avatar

I don’t think it’s improper to pronounce it “bin.”

jaytkay's avatar

Bin, sin, win, kin, fin are rhyming words.

Been, hen, Ben, wren, yen are rhyming words.

“Where have you bin today?” grates my ears.

longgone's avatar

^ “Where have you ben”? Never heard that.

Symbeline's avatar

Never heard ben either. :/

jca's avatar

I have never met anybody who pronounced “been” in any way other than “bin.”

jaytkay's avatar

EWWWWW! You people!

longgone's avatar

^ I’ve heard a cross between “bin” and “bean”. Never “ben”, though.

@jaytkay Whereabouts are you, if you don’t mind me asking?

DAVEJAY100's avatar

I’m a Brit, Welsh to be exact, and I don’t mind at all the way Americans pronounce or spell English words, after all, American English is easily understood anyway so what’s the prob. What really gets my goat,(there’s another one, lol ) is when I write something on a forum of American origin, certain words, spelled in correct English , like for instance “colour” comes up as error !! until I spell it the wrong way as “color”. Many times this happens, even on here, but why should I be beaten up for CORRECT spelling.

Symbeline's avatar

@jaytkay Bin bin bin bin bin bin bin! XD

jca's avatar

Bin not Bean and not Ben.

jaytkay's avatar

@longgone I’m in Chicago.

Well, look at that. Wikirhymer says 8000 words rhyme with “been” and they’re all wrong!

Anyway, enough about been.

How about “Sinate” instead of “Senate”. That makes me crazy.

Except with a southern accent, then it makes sense.

Kardamom's avatar

@jaytkay What’s even worse than hearing something that sounds wrong to you, pronunciation-wise, is when someone actually says the word incorrectly. I have a few friends who say the word sentence as sinince, as though the letter t in the middle doesn’t even exist. Talk about cringe-worthy. Even one of our newscasters says it like that, “He was sininced to fourteen years in prison.”

DAVEJAY100's avatar

14 years, good god, looks like you’ve got to watch what you say these days !!

jca's avatar

@Kardamom: I have a friend that used to pronounce the word “penguin” as “penk-win.”

Then I think of the commercial where the old actor pronounced “diabetes” as “dia-beetus.”

Adagio's avatar

@jca ” I have never met anybody who pronounced “been” in any way other than “bin.” ” Well you have never met me because I pronounce the word been as “bean”, always have, always will, it’s quite correct to do so.

zenvelo's avatar

Here you can hear Paul McCartney pronounce it bean.

But I have always pronounced that word as “ben” (as in Franklin). Most of my pronunciation is from California, although I did live in Canada for a while as a child, and also in New York in 3rd and 4th grade.

Cool beans.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

It musta ben sump’n’ about growin up outside “Shi-CAW-ga” that we tend to run alla ar sent’nces tagedda.

(Translation: It must have been something about growing up outside Chicago, that we tend to run all (of) our sentences together.)

Kardamom's avatar

@zenvelo You had me at Paul McCartney! He could recite the phone book and I’d swoon.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Huh. Can someone post a link of somebody pronouncing “been” as “ben”? I can’t even imagine that happening.

gailcalled's avatar

I love hearing the British voices on the audio books I listen to pronouce “shone’’ as “shon” rather than “shown.” It is very soporific.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@dappled_leaves I don’t know about a link, but I can attest from first-hand experience. Every time I call my brother (who was also raised outside Chicago) he asks me, “How ya ben?

trailsillustrated's avatar

I’m australian and aussie slang is pretty funny but I love american slang it makes me laugh my head off. I hope they never stop. and, been is pronounced bean here. lol -

longgone's avatar

@jaytkay Thanks. Interesting…

jaytkay's avatar

Maybe I should have used the word pen instead of been.

One of the questions on this short quiz is whether you pronounce pen and pin the same or different.

What American accent do you have?

zenvelo's avatar

@dappled_leaves Just listen to this song by Chicago (I’ve Been) Searching So Long.

jca's avatar

@zenvelo: I love that song.

I like British phrases that we don’t use. I have a Brit in my family, and he and his wife (not a Brit but she talks like he does now) say things like “Indeed,” “Bit of bad luck” and there’s another one that I just heard on a British TV show which prompted this comment, but I forgot now what it is.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo I can’t believe you made me sit through all of that for one instance of “been”! And… it sounded like “bin” to me, not “ben.”

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves That’s because it’s Bin not Ben! LOL!!

zenvelo's avatar

@dappled_leaves It sure sounds like “I’ve ben searching…” to me. It is not at all like “Osama bin Lauden”.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zenvelo Here’s some more searching. He’s bin searching, don’t you agree?

Stinley's avatar

I like all accents and truly believe that if you can understand what someone is saying then they are speaking correctly. I love it when people use colourful words that enrich what they are saying. Saying that, I hate jargon and the use of words that few people know, where it’s impossible to tell from the context as well.

snowberry's avatar

No discussion of American accents can be complete without exploring the Transatlantic (or Mid-Atlantic accent). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Atlantic_English

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