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Communication, Culture, Language

The Adventures of a Fake American

It’s funny when you encounter someone pretending to have an American accent and all, but it’s very obvious that he’s a fake.

Excuse me for being this critical, but it just irked me when I hear someone trying hard to be ‘too’ American when in the first place, he is not.

I encountered this guy in the office just this morning when he tackled the morning part of our training at the contact center I am working now. The topic was more of an email and chat roll-out. Normally a roll-out, the shortest it will consume is just 15-30 minutes and then the longest is an hour.

The topic he did is a boring one. Instead of making it more lively, engaging and interactive–the trainer was more concerned on how he could deliver his American ‘accent’ or twang. Unfortunately, since he is no authentic–he trips and he stutters and even sounded a Visayan in some words he tried to pronounce. It is even way sad to hear that the guy could not even distinguish the difference between a ‘stutter’ from the word ‘mumble’.

He tried to correct me on how I should pronounce the word ‘status’ which I chose to pronounce as stey-tuhs as opposed to stāt’əs because according to him, most of our clients are Americans. What difference does it make? I agree, but if you see the note, I included, whether what pronunciation, both are accepted.

Usage Note: In a recent survey of the Usage Panel, 53 percent of the Panelists preferred the pronunciation (stāt’əs), 36 percent preferred (stā’təs), and 11 percent said they use both pronunciations. The pronunciation (stā’təs) is the older, more traditional pronunciation, and it remains the most common one in British English.


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4 thoughts on “The Adventures of a Fake American

  1. what’s in an accent anyway? even in the US, there are different ‘twangs’, so to speak. and you can tell an easterner from a westerner, a northerner from a southerner, and everybody else in between, when you speak to one.

    i think there’s so much emphasis put in sounding american in outsourcing companies when in fact, in my experience, the important thing is that your speech is clear and what you’re actually saying is clear–meaning, you’re making sense. of course, i’ve also encountered those americans who make fun or are less forgiving of those who sounds ‘different’, never mind that the ones they’re dissing makes much more sense and displays a more educated background than them. (i’ve encountered one and, boy, i pitied the man on the other end of the line!)

    still, and overall, making sense makes much more sense than senseless nitpicking over accents. 😉

    Posted by Leineriza | 15/04/2010, 5:51 AM
  2. it is okay to imitate it ‘coz that’s a way of practicing the language and being comfortable with it. what’s really really annoying is when somebody tries so freaking hard and fails real bad at it but thinks otherwise.

    what’s important is just ‘neutralizing’ your accent, without ‘any’ distinction that you’re from a specific group of people or other nationality. For one, don’t speak very Southern-ish if you aren’t from there and you can’t justify it. It’ll sound very weird.

    One good advice is to speak like how American broadcasters do. Or if you still can’t, accent is a secondary thing. Just as long as you can understand and be understood.

    Posted by darwin taylo | 15/04/2010, 4:59 PM

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