Author Topic: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers  (Read 1079 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 10655
  • Good Vibes 399
  • Teesside, North East England.
What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« on: May 16, 2018, 07:51:27 am »
I came across this little curiosity in a random youtube moment.

I find it fascinating.

As a native English speaker with only a small amount of schoolroom French I am fascinated by this scenario. What do other English & American English folk make to this?

We have quite a few bilingual and multilingual members in the forum. I would be fascinated to know their thoughts on this.





Offline Laila

  • Concert Hall Hasbeen
  • ****
  • Posts: 325
  • Good Vibes 32
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 08:41:10 am »
heheh, very cool  8)

I'm bilingual English/Norwegian, and though I now speak Norwegian more fluently than English, I can clearly remember learning Norwegian around the age of 9. The language has a distinct singing sound, but I think most Norwegian speakers are aware of it. We're a small country and constantly interact with people speaking other languages who tell us what we sound like! We also have Scandinavian neighbours (Sweden and Denmark) who speak languages that are intelligible to us, but still sound quite different. Norwegian actually sounds more like Dutch than Danish because of the way words are pronounced.
BC Stage 8 started January 2018
Yamaha FS 720S Acoustic
Taylor GS Mini
https://soundcloud.com/laila_ph

Offline Fox Cunning

  • Arena Rocker
  • *****
  • Posts: 734
  • Good Vibes 59
  • You are reading this line of text.
    • SoundCloud
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 08:52:58 am »
Hah! I remember seeing this video a little while ago ;D

It is basically how I feel when I visit my parents in France: I can understand a few words here and there, but everything else sounds like they are reciting obscure, random poetry lines.

Offline bigbl5

  • Pub Night Playa
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Good Vibes 6
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 01:37:51 pm »
I don't get it.  That's what I hear when I listen to German.  I'm sure it's similar for just about everyone.  Heck, that's what its like when I hear someone from Louisiana talking (interesting that the keys had a "Louisiana State University" tag on them in the video).  I was talking with a friend last week who is a native Bavarian.  He says often times he cannot understand half of what someone from Saxony is saying.
I will eventually play as well as David Gilmour - even if it takes me another 40 years.

Offline Lord_Gigabyte

  • Concert Hall Hasbeen
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Good Vibes 6
  • Not quitting, not now, not ever....
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 01:38:38 pm »
Being born and raised in Belgium, for me, i understand "the queens english", the received pronunciation if you will. Comes from years of watching movies in english and having a great english teacher at school.
But the moment the speaker starts talking in a dialect, let's say cockney or other, i'm lost. (That's when i start hoping for subtitles...  ::) ).

For me the clip is more to what i hear when i hear French. Oh yeah, and West-Vlaams. That really needs a dictionary.  :P

I'll get it in the end. Just don't give up, that's the key....

Offline Joerfe

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 2926
  • Good Vibes 107
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 02:31:14 pm »
Sounds all dutch to me.
/Jesper

Sigma SOMR28H, Fender Classic '50s Tele, Fender Std Stratocaster, Gibson lpj '14, BOSS Katana 100-212 amp.
Me on da Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jesper-j-rgensen-11

Offline Johan217

  • Arena Rocker
  • *****
  • Posts: 569
  • Good Vibes 27
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2018, 03:06:58 pm »
When people are talking normally, I can usually make out words if it is a language that I am somewhat familiar with. When they are singing however, I often struggle to understand a single thing, even in my own language ;D

Guitars: Chevy LP-C (1991), Squier VM Jaguar (2015)
Amp: Fender Mustang I v2 (2015)

Offline tobyjenner

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3020
  • Good Vibes 103
  • You're never too old to Rock'n'Roll
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2018, 03:34:55 pm »
Sorry was that English ? Boy I'm getting old and I'm sure I won't understand my grandkids in 10 years time and sure as heck didn't catch more than a few words here that was recognizable.

Well after 6 years in Normandie at least my French is improving but my accent is lousy. I reckon I pick up about 15-20% of what's being said these days but my exposure to French conversation is limited. And they do say that as we're on the edge of Brittany the local accent here is hard to follow, even for the natives.

At least the 700 Johnny Hallyday tracks on my iPOD are helping bit by bit. Rock on mes amis. 8)



Arrived here Mar 2013 Since completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM and MTMS Now on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
My Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/
Roadcase : https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=39537.msg339454#msg33945

Offline m_c

  • Arena Rocker
  • *****
  • Posts: 746
  • Good Vibes 33
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 10:33:59 pm »
I think that's how foreign languages sound to everyone, unless they are fluent in the language.
Off course local dialects add a whole new dimension. Being Scottish, and having been exposed to most UK accents, I can understand all but the most extreme accents, but I know plenty English people who struggle with even mild Scottish or Irish accents.

I can manage some basic French and German, but when it comes to trying to understand a conversation, other than the occasional word, they may as well be speaking Klingon.

Offline batwoman

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1220
  • Good Vibes 84
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2018, 02:57:38 am »
Interesting Close, interesting. I have often wondered what our domestic animals hear and beyond that what the wild ones hear. I know that some animals have a significant vocabulary. Knowing that animals can often see or sense the energy field around any living being and that includes humans and that some animals have a range of hearing outside the human range I wonder too if they hear and see other things when we speak to them. My precious bats have a language and even dialects (yep some of our scientists have recorded and written papers on this) and the tiny insectiverous microbats echo locate with sounds our human ears can't hear. I've seen sound files of their language recorded.

Offline Dan Graves

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 6654
  • Good Vibes 168
  • Is on the Outside, looking in
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2018, 12:12:28 am »
I guess i'm the odd one out then, when i hear languages that i don't speak, i listen for words that sound familiar, similarities with other languages, and try to gauge the context of the discussion/monologue by tone of voice.
Then again, i speak Dutch, English and Hebrew natively (and some Yiddish, like all Jews do), some German (side effect of speaking Yiddish), Afrikaans (because i lived in SA a while, and because it's so similar to Dutch we can understand one another with some effort) and Russian well enough to bumble my way through a trip on the Trans-Siberian express.

And no, foreign languages don't sound like the gibberish from that video at all.

"So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they are already met?" -- Hobbes
"Right. We should take pride in our mediocrity!" -- Calvin

Offline DavidP

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3065
  • Good Vibes 188
  • You're always learning about guitars-Keef Richards
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 07:46:30 am »
I guess i'm the odd one out then, when i hear languages that i don't speak, i listen for words that sound familiar, similarities with other languages, and try to gauge the context of the discussion/monologue by tone of voice.
Then again, i speak Dutch, English and Hebrew natively (and some Yiddish, like all Jews do), some German (side effect of speaking Yiddish), Afrikaans (because i lived in SA a while, and because it's so similar to Dutch we can understand one another with some effort) and Russian well enough to bumble my way through a trip on the Trans-Siberian express.

And no, foreign languages don't sound like the gibberish from that video at all.
Wow Dan, that's quite a resume.  Didn't expect to see Afrikaans in the list when I started to read.  SA for those not aware is South Africa, where I live.

Offline Dan Graves

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 6654
  • Good Vibes 168
  • Is on the Outside, looking in
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 08:38:23 pm »
Wow Dan, that's quite a resume.  Didn't expect to see Afrikaans in the list when I started to read.  SA for those not aware is South Africa, where I live.

Well, it's so close to Dutch (especially some of the eastern/southern dialects) that i could understand most of it right off the bat, nothing special about that, TBH; they're mutually intelligible
even for someone who isn't into languages.
It took me a few weeks to figure out the biggest differences in grammar, and i still run into issues now and then when speaking it, but it's certainly easier for me than German.

-----
Just for the fun of it, a simple example in Afrikaans, for those here who speak Dutch and/or Afrikaans: the phrase *'t is 'n tikkie ver om te loop, kom ons vat die kar*, is understandable for anyone who speaks Dutch, and the Dutch variant *'t is wat ver om te gaan lopen, kom we nemen de auto* is so similar in grammar (and mutually intelligible words) that any Afrikaner can understand it.
Both languages sound a bit odd/off to one another, but having a conversation isn't all that hard.
"So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they are already met?" -- Hobbes
"Right. We should take pride in our mediocrity!" -- Calvin

Offline DavidP

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3065
  • Good Vibes 188
  • You're always learning about guitars-Keef Richards
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 09:49:02 am »
Well, it's so close to Dutch (especially some of the eastern/southern dialects) that i could understand most of it right off the bat, nothing special about that, TBH; they're mutually intelligible
even for someone who isn't into languages.
It took me a few weeks to figure out the biggest differences in grammar, and i still run into issues now and then when speaking it, but it's certainly easier for me than German.

-----
Just for the fun of it, a simple example in Afrikaans, for those here who speak Dutch and/or Afrikaans: the phrase *'t is 'n tikkie ver om te loop, kom ons vat die kar*, is understandable for anyone who speaks Dutch, and the Dutch variant *'t is wat ver om te gaan lopen, kom we nemen de auto* is so similar in grammar (and mutually intelligible words) that any Afrikaner can understand it.
Both languages sound a bit odd/off to one another, but having a conversation isn't all that hard.
Agreed Dan

My surprise was more to hear that you'd been in South Africa ...

And of course the extensive list of languages you mentioned

Offline Dan Graves

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 6654
  • Good Vibes 168
  • Is on the Outside, looking in
Re: What English Sounds Like To Non-English Speakers
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2018, 07:37:33 pm »
Well like i said, the second part was more a 'fun' tidbit for the others (provided they can have fun with languages... i certainly can  ;D ).
And yeah, i lived in SA for a while actually, think about a year and a half in total; first in Kaapstad, then Johannesburg.
Hell, i visited Johannesburg last year, and hoping to find some time and money to visit a cousin who lives in Kaapstad...
Provided i can save up the cash for it.
"So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they are already met?" -- Hobbes
"Right. We should take pride in our mediocrity!" -- Calvin

 

Get The Forum As A Mobile App