Language Articles

Are British accents or American accents preferable for ESL learners?

If you are learning English as a second language (ESL) the question of English accents, and whether you should take on a British accent or an American accent, becomes important. Most often the English language is either spoken with an American accent from the United States or with a British accent from England, but English varies immensely. British accents vary from city to city, and American accents vary from state to state, so really there is no superior or preferential English accent. There are also Canadian accents, Australian accents, Scottish accents, Irish accents, South African accents, and New Zealand accents which all have unique sounds and need to be considered when learning English.

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What Makes One Language Harder or Easier Than Another?

What makes one language harder or easier to learn than another? Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer. There are some languages which have a number of characteristics that make them relatively difficult to learn. But it depends much more on what languages you already know, particularly your native language, the one (or ones) you grew up speaking.

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Received Pronunciation and the Accent of the Royal Baby 

People around the world are celebrating the arrival of Prince William and the Duchess of Cornwall's son, a shiny new royal baby for the press to pester.  Most people are excited to see what the baby will look like (gorgeous no doubt), but others are wondering how the baby will eventually sound.  Will he speak 'The Queen’s English'?

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Yet another set of twins has arrived in our family, I have almost lost count of the number of relations we have who are twins. Apparently for each set of twins in a close family your chances of having twins yourself increases by 8%. My youngest daughter was a twin and she has two grandmothers who were also twins; one of whom also had twin brothers. It is getting to the point where she says she would be disappointed if she only had one child at once.

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I read recently that there are at least 40 theories as to how people learn a second language and that each of these theories has a number of scholars who support it, but also those who don’t. What is obvious is that we learn in different ways – by listening, imitation, repetition and so on. These various ways are divided into two groups. There is   acquisition i.e. unconscious learning in the way a child learns by listening and observation  The other way is of course active learning as when we try to learn a verb tense or a list of vocabulary. The conclusion that the linguistic scholars seem to share is that the classroom and book learning are not the most important ways to learn a language. It is being immersed as far as is possible that is important – being exposed to a language in as many ways and as often as possible.

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