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One strange thing I’ve noticed about some students is that they take on accents when speaking English. The most common is American accents. It’s not that surprising, given that most of the English they encounter is American English – on television, in music, from their teachers or the many American (mainly military-based) people iving in Japan.

One girl I taught sounded just like a Californian “Valley Girl” – that certain drawl and using the word “like” at least three times per sentence. Her English was a high level, not perfect, but then again, probably most grammatically correct than your average native Valley Girl.

Another student I had sound British – pure Queen’s English. It was a delight to speak with him.

Then, sometimes, you get teachers that change accents. This has happened to me since before I was an English teacher (I’ll copy Irish or Canadian accents subconsciously when I hear them) but some other teachers have had it happen to them since they started teaching. And every time, it’ll change into an American accent. In a way, it helps the students because it’s an accent they’re familiar with, but on the other hand, students have told me that Australian/British accents are much better than American accents because they’re more similar to Japanese.

Take for example, the way that Americans say the word “can’t” compared to the way British-English speakers say it. The British-English way uses the syllable ‘ka’ which is one of the characters in Japan’s syllabary: ?. It’s a sound much more recognisable to Japanese people.

Nothing is really good or bad when comparing accents, it’s just one of those oddities you notice as an English teacher in Japan.

Posted by Chidade in Oddities, Students | 1 Comment »


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One Response to “Accents”

  1. Davo Says:

    hey there, first of all I’d just like to thank you for this wonderful website, you have certainly put up a lot of useful information about NOVA and teaching in Japan in general. My name is David, I am a student who lives in NZ and am interested in participating the NOVA program.I am thinking about applying in the beginning of November when all my exams have finished (this is my last semester b4 I get my BA)….Does NOVA usually recruit teachers around that time ( the end of the year, Christmas)? and if I’m granted an interview, what sort of questions do they usually ask you? would be great if you can help me out…looking forward to hear from you

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