When foreigners learn the English language, they tend to learn it through the use of the standard English accent. But what is the ‘standard English accent’? In Britain, we have so many different accents that are difficult to decipher even for the British people – never mind people from other countries. The story doesn’t stop here – how are people from other countries supposed to understand the local dialects that accompany the regional accents?
The American’s are known to have trouble understanding many British accents. There are numerous websites dedicated to training American’s to learn and understand British accents. So, although both America and Britain speak the same language, we seem to be lost in translation.
We have all heard that the X Factor is going to be aired in America where Cheryl Cole is reported to be a judge. However, there is concern that Cheryl’s North East Geordie accent may slightly damage her ‘likeability’ factor in America because of the worry that the American’s won’t be able to understand her accent. For example, the British television hosts, Ant and Dec had only a fleeting career on US television. This was because their accents were so incoherent to viewers that the produces had to make use of an interpreter to decipher words and phrases that couldn’t be understood. Perhaps the same will happen for Cheryl Cole.
So, although countries across the world are becoming virtually closer (due to business immigration, technology and translation help with cross cultural communication), we still remain faced with the problem of how people who speak the same language can understand each other!