In this week's Madrid Teacher series, two teachers discuss the variety of English accents. Their conversation gives us an opportunity to go over some of the features of spoken English.
First of all, watch the video through to get the general ideal of the conversation.
Now watch the video again, and pay attention to these characteristics of spoken English:
Use of so as a connector.
Showing agreement with the speaker: Definitely; Absolutely; Of course
Showing the speaker that you are paying attention: Ok; Y’all, yeah.
Use of actually to introduce a piece of surprising information
Fillers to gain thinking time: erm
Using vague language: kind of, sort of
False starts: Do you... can you...
Use of say with the meaning of 'for example'.
Use of really for emphasis.
Use of like as a linking word.
So, recently I’ve been watching this series called Friday Night Lights...
I’ve never seen it...
No? It’s about a high school football team, but it’s not about football, it’s about everyday life around football. But it’s based in Texas. And before watching the series, I didn’t use to think that I liked the Texas, Texan accent, but now I like it. It’s catchy, you can see that if you lived there you’d be able to catch that accent.
Actually, when I was younger, 100 years ago, erm, we lived, when I was a child, we lived along the Texas border…
…and before that, for example, I always used to think it was horrible hearing people say “y’all”...
But I realised that I picked up on that Texan, sort of, southern “y’all”.
Absolutely. And so it was actually really hard to get rid of it.
And it just kind of, it just sort of, grabs you and then you have that accent. And then later it can sort of go away.
They say “y’all” in other parts of the United States, don’t they?
Yeah, they do. Also, for example, in Louisiana…
Yeah, in the south.
Yeah, it’s more the southern accent.
Yeah, the southern. So, what else do you think about accents? Do you, can you, for example, identify the difference, say, in different places in England, the north, south, Wales, Scotland…
Yeah, I’d say so.
Er, yeah. Because I know people from all over the world, and so when I hear an accent I think about those people, so I associate the sound. So that’s how it works, how I do it, how I can tell the difference between the north of England and the south, or London.
Because I think a lot of times there are different accents. But if, for example, someone really doesn’t know someone from the United States, they have an idea that all American accents are the same…
Of course, of course, no, they’re very different.
… and that all British accents are the same, even though…
Well, even as an American, when you hear a South African accent or an Australian accent, Irish, Scottish, all those different… It’s English, but it’s a different accent. Can you place that? Can you place the location?
That’s interesting. Some, yes. But others… So, for example, what about someone... Because I think we all know someone who has lived in several places. And maybe they have, like, a little bit of an American accent, and a Scottish accent.
A mix. Keep it interesting.