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David Gerard wrote:
Delirium (delirium(a)hackish.org) [050505 14:26]:
> So the Indian or Singaporean
>is two degrees of accents away from the German speaking English, while
>the American or Briton is only one degree away.
cf. [[English_language#Classification_and_related_languages]] for a good
description of this. Here's the first few paragraphs:
English is the primary language in Australia
the Bahamas, Barbados (Caribbean English), Bermuda, Dominica,
Gibraltar, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica (Jamaican English), New Zealand
(New Zealand English), Antigua, St. Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United
Kingdom (British English) and the United States of America (American
English is also one of the primary languages of Belize (with
Spanish), Canada (with French), India (with Hindi and 21 other state
languages), Ireland (with Irish), Singapore (with Malay, Mandarin,
Tamil and other Asian languages) and South Africa (along with Zulu,
Xhosa, Afrikaans, and Northern Sotho).
In Hong Kong, English is an official language and is widely used in
business activities. It is taught from kindergarten level, and is the
medium of instruction for a few primary schools, many secondary
schools and all universities. Substantial number of students acquire
native-speaker level. It is so widely used and spoken that it is
inadequate to say it is merely a second or foreign language.
My guess is that people from countries in the first paragraph (EN-N)
could understand each other (EN-N) and English speakers from the other
countries (EN-3); people from the countries in the second paragraph
(EN-3) could understand the "native" speakers (EN-N), and EN-3 speakers.
EN-N and EN-3 speakers could probably understand EN-2 speakers (people
who have learn English as a foreign language) but would need to be
careful to make themselves understandable; EN-2 speakers may have some
difficulty understanding each other.
I remembe going to Glasgow and attempting to buy beer from a Swedish shop
assistant who spoke in a Swedish/Glaswegian accent.
Regional accents, especially heavy ones, can be difficult even for
native speakers to understand.
(Mind you, just trying to buy lunch required my American friend to interpret
the waitress's Glaswegian to English for me.
It's well known in the non-American English-speaking world that
American's don't actually speak English, they speak American :)
Of course, they all understood
Australian, because every single person in Britain is required by law to
I feel sorry for them :p
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