Never Correct Your Asian Girlfriend's English Accent

-- For Men Who Love Asian Women

 

A Chinese girl friend of mine once told me that she had a serious fight with her American (who is a Caucasian) boyfriend because "...he always corrects my English. He somehow even made fun of my accent. Although he always emphasized later to me that he was just joking, I still feel uncomfortable once a while. Picking on my accent makes me feel like he is showing his superiority as a man and an English speaker....I am a very talented and capable person and I think my English is fluent. He actually can understand me perfectly. I just don't see why my accent is so bothering him that made him desperately want to pick on every single one of my God Damn English!...." 

This girl ended up breaking up with her boyfriend. The guy was so shock and for a very long time he couldn't believe that correcting his girl friend's English grammar and accent can be such a big deal. He thinks that he was just doing her own good and it is the most ridiculous broke up that he ever had.

I happened to have a similar experience with my first boyfriend, who is a native speaker in English. He corrected my English and made fun of my accent often. That time was my fourth year living in the U.S. and my first year in college. My self-esteem went low when every time he made fun of my English. Of course, he always argued that he was only joking, nothing in purpose and he thought he was actually helping me improve my English. I then had a very strong desire to learn to speak perfect English, not only make myself feel better but I can also make my boyfriend shut up and be really proud of me.

My first relationship with an American boyfriend didn't work out well; however, I got really motivated about training myself speaking perfect English. I deeply believe that speak fluent English will not only make me being competitive in my future job field but also make me being more attractive to any men in the U.S. Just like I found that native Chinese men who speak fluent Mandarin (as native people from Beijing) are really attractive to me, too.

One time I actually refused going out with an American guy who corrected my accent while he tried to ask me out, of course I never told him the actual reason why he was rejected. Yes, I came to the U.S. when I was very young (15) and I now speak fluent English. However, I still can't help speaking with slidely Chinese accent. The type of accent that sounds a little stiff due to Chinese language doesn't have that much retroflex tones compare with English. I ended up go to graduate school studying Chinese Linguistic 10 years ago in San Francisco State University. Just like women having plastic surgeries to upgrade her outlook or body parts, I thought I can do the similar job to my English. In the beginning I tent to find a way to get rid of my accent but I found that it's hardly achieved for most people in my age. I learned the fact that accent is a manner. My native language doesn't contain certain sound that English uses so I have no capability to pronounce certain words correctly. No matter how smart I am, accents are not fixed even in adulthood. 

Although two years of graduate school in Chinese Linguistic doesn't make me get rid of all my Chinese accent when speaking English, I surprisingly found that I got rid of all my Taiwanese accent when speaking Chinese Mandarin. I guess I must be a really good student who pick up all the rules of Chinese Linguistic and successfully applied to my native language. I now speak perfect and beautiful Mandarin that impresses most native Chinese. Even many "Beijingers" think I am from Beijing. I take that as the best compliment to my language talent.

My husband is a native Chinese from Beijing and ironically he is not crazy about my perfect Mandarin. He told me that he prefers woman who speaks Chinese with a little Taiwanese accent and Taiwanese grammar because "they sound really cute". I have to admit that I totally agree with my husband because I have found that many girls from mainland China have a tendency copying the way that Taiwanese girls talking. The grammar is purely mainland Mandarin but the tone of voice is tender and innocent, totally unlike Beijing Mandarin which sounds sharp, smart and tough. My husband has heard too much Beijing Mandarin and in compare with women from different provences he thinks "Taiwanese Chinese" is attractive to him.

I guest some men prefer women speak with some type of accent. Accent in fact makes one being special and unique. I personally think native Japanese women are extremely attractive when they speak any different foreign languages (So far I've experienced hearing native Japanese women speak English, Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese, German and French and they all coming with remarkable accent.). The accent might be heavy but the tone of voice is always very cute and somehow sexy which makes me really admire. 

O.K., back to the title "never correct your Asian girlfriend's English Accent". All I am trying to say is that if you really love your native Asian girlfriend, better accept the fact that she has to have accent when speaking English. Please find a way to appreciate and enjoy such a one-of-a-kind tone of voice. According to my personal experience, one's accent is just like gay man who would never be straight. Please don't try to correct your girlfriend's accent because this will only make you look like a male shovenistic asshole. And there is no kidding that a woman will break up with you (or refuse dating with you) because of that. If you really can not stand her accent please let her English teacher do the dirty job. Or, simply find women from different races that speak perfect English.

And the best way of improving your native Asian girlfriend's English is to keep on speaking perfect English to her, without stupid content. She might have accent but this doesn't mean that she is stupid or uneducated. She will definitely pick up your manner and find you really attractive if you speak to her smartly and wisely.

Comments 59 comments

Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Borrowing Ebert's famous line "two thumbs up, way way up!" That's for speaking your mind out and telling the world how you feel about your topic. However it's quite natural to feel curious (and speaking about it as well) about things that are not native to one's culture. My advice is to have patience and try to understand more. I mean I'm sure you or your friends find funny a nonChinese's efforts at speaking Chinese. I am Asian too and trust me I know your sentiments. Just be more discerning when judging a remark as to whether it's an insult or really just a remark that has nothing more to it. Sometimes, paranoia gets the better of us. Nice hub! :D


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I don't think anyone who can speak two languages can be made fun of ever, especially by a one language speaking person. Its a big world, and people better get used to accents.


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California Author

I agree that. Thanks for reading my article.


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California Author

Hi! Cris A. Thanks for your comment. I like your video.


May Amero 7 years ago

I really enjoyed reading your article, it's good to know I wasn't the only one out there who is sensetive to people's remarks about my Accent. I was orginally from Beijing, and worked really hard trying to get rid of my accent for the past a few years after I moved to Canada. My husband, being a native English speaker, never really pick on my accent much, he actually said I speak perfect English now, and people here could easily have taken me as a Canadian born by hearing me speak..(Canada is immigration country, many people that are born here still speak with a slight accent ). But I am still insecure sometimes, I take people's comments about my accent very personally, I don't think I would ever be able to get rid of my accent completely, I guess I am stucked with it for the rest of my life...Somedays I accept my accent more openly compare to other days...but it's never been easy for me...Thanks for talking about it openly...It definitely helps me to find my balance between my cultural background and a perfect English accent.


Wennie 7 years ago

I didn't check when did u post this article, but I read it very seriously today. I have a native Eniglish speaking boyfriend. He never correct my Eniglish until someday I asked him to do so.

It's my second year in US. My English is much better than before, but still far away from perfect. I guess you are right, ppl try to improve their accent to show their talents somehow. unluckily, I'm one of them. My boyfriend said I'm the best English speaker he saw from China. However, I know how hard it is for me. I still can't express myself as much as I wanna. Relationship is also limited with language, since you never can communicate perfectly.


Greg 7 years ago

Don't worry about it! My wife is asian, my kids were born in Japan. I love their accent. I joke about some of the terminology they use, because I find it interesting to see what words they choose to use. Sometimes I say nothing because I don't want to change how they talk. Example: Fall off the car instead of fall out of the car. I picture someone riding on top of the car not inside of it. We have fun with it. It keeps me listening! I am so proud of them for speaking 3 languages, I could care less of the accent!


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California Author

May Amero-

I agree with you about your inscure thought about your accent. I was fighting on my accent for many years and I thought studying linguistic would end but actually not. I guess I am not the only person who took my accent so seriously.

I just found that if one's English is fluent then one gets more opportunities than others in many job fields in this country. Of course, being a bi-lingual or tri-lingual speaker is also preferable. I myself have proof of having such an advantage and I am now strongly encouraging my kids to learn second or third language.

Wennie-

In the field of love and relationship, speaking English with accent does challenge your partner's patient. I appreciate the partner who has extremely patient to someone who doesn't speak his/her language. I guess "love" plays the major role of making someone want to conquer such a barrier.

There is no doubt that your English will be improved daily. Therefore, I wish your relationship will turn in stronger and solid, due to two of you will gradually communicate better then ever for sure.

Greg-

You are great to be careless of your family members' accent. To tell you the truth, we Chinese sometimes can not even stand other Chinese who speak Mandarin with non-Mandarin dialect accent. I knew someone in the U.S. who is from British origins and she can not stand her grandfather who has to correct every single line  of what American news reporter said when watching TV. I guess one who speaking with accent is truly a big deal to someone else. Amazing but true.


May Amero 7 years ago

Hi Yxhuang:

Thanks for your reply. I think we have a lot in common... I totally agree with you about having an advantgage over others when applying for a job by knowing more than 2 languages (I speak fluent Japanese as well). To put things into perspecitive, Chinese(Mandarin and Cantonese) is the 3rd most widely spoken language in Canada ranked right after French(one of Canadia's official language), so it's definitely a HUGE ASSET by knowing the language.

I guess my problem here is that I live in a small town, and there aren't many Chinese people my age live here,so I don't get to socialize with Chinese people much..Besides that, my job doesn't require me to speak Chinese either, so I use only English in my day to day life...I think that's why I am so obsessed about speaking the perfect accent.

Your article really helped me a lot. I really appreciate you sharing it with rest of the fellow readers, I hope one day I will be pleased with my accent once and for all, but for now, I am still searching for answers...have a great day!


An Asian-American woman, certified secondary school English teacher in Massachusetts 7 years ago

To Kristopher Caine:

"That's my piece"--self-proclaimed grammar Nazi

Ever heard of that little first grade rule? "I" before "E" except after "C"? I certainly paid attention to Mrs. Rogovin. Did you?

Must I spell it out for you literally? Piece, not piece.

I think you (the self-proclaimed grammar Nazi) just completely failed that simple, elementary grammar rule that we learned in grade school. If you aren't a native English speaker, you should have learned this rule anyway as an English language learner.

You, my friend, just came off looking like not only a chauvinistic asshole, but an INCOMPETENT DOUCHE. How's that for MY French?

To yxhuang:

My parents are from Taiwan but I was born in the U.S.

I enjoyed reading your PIECE. People like Mr. Caine are just bitter and jealous that they cannot find a beautiful, intelligent, and educated Asian girlfriend like you or me. By the way, I am married to a respectful, loving Caucasian man. Good luck, and thank you for your piece, once again.


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California Author

To An Asian-American woman, certified secondary school English teacher in Massachusetts:

^_^ (Chinese) or :-) (English)

I wish I can show my "smile" to you face to face. I've learned from Buddha that to make me smile to things that are unspeakable. Nice to meet you here and thanks for dropping by.


teenalee318 7 years ago

omg I totally agree yxhuang! My friend's ex-boyfriend used to do that all the time to my friend (lets call her Sothery) and she got so mad when he corrected her english accent. He's from Texas so he thinks everybody's english accent should be perfect if u live in the US. I thought it was rediculous and immature. My friend is vietnamese and cambodian and she just moved here from vietnam about 4 months ago. Her english is perfect but she still has her asian accent.

But nobody should go through the embarrassment and shame of being corrected of their english. I'm japanese and everyone one in my house speaks japanese (me and my siblings are the only ones who speak english, my parents can't speak it yet) and i hate when people EVEN MY TEACHERS corrects my on certain sentences, words, phrases just because I have an asian accent. What really gets on my nerves is that I always mispronounce the word computer i always say it like compwutor and my teacher always stops and corrects me and i always feel ashamed and like I wanna hide. I even try to talk like I'm british sometimes just so I can stop being made fun of for it and stop being corrected for it.

I'm glad u spoke your mind yxhuang and people should give us more respect for how we talk NOT JUST US ASIANS every other foreign person with an accent. That's what I believe

kudos and have a nice day =)

~Teenalee Hashimoto


Annoyed 6 years ago

The "grammar nazi" also has a lot of errors....

You both need to work on your past present and future tense usage.


billy 6 years ago

chinese girls that speak english with a chinese accent are adorable. way more attractive than ABC girls who speak with no accent.

don't hate your accent, love it!


Zsigmond 6 years ago

I think that one is never too old to learn a language perfectly. Take Joseph Conrad, for example. He learned English as an adult, and he still managed to become a successful writer who writes in English. Asian people are no exception to that. However, if you don't tolerate being corrected, then you might never be able to get rid of your grammar mistakes. It's all just a question of attitude, not of one's origins, and certainly not of race. Believe it or not, my mother tongue is no closer to English than yours, even though I am European.

I for one would love to have the opportunity of being corrected. Unfortunately, not being able to afford to stay in an English speaking country, I don't.

Of course it is your decision whether you want to get rid of those pesky grammar glitches and the accent, but please don't claim that this is impossible for people of certain origins.

As for my own (mis-)use of English, ungrammatical and unidiomatic speech does bother me, and I'm trying to get rid of it. Having an imperfect accent doesn't (for as long as people can easily understand it).


hmmmm 6 years ago

ha, such a funny article. I live in Taiwan. I hate almost everyone because they want to make fun of my accent when I speak Chinese, even though I never went to school to learn any Chinese. I think they have no room to speak since they learned English for so many years in school, but speak still speak so horribly. To sum it up, what comes around goes around. Actually, in the U.S. I think most of your American friends won't say anything about your accent. If someone does, tell them to go #($& themselves. It seems to always be that idiots with no talent say bad things about others.


Jonathan 6 years ago

But what if the accent is hindering her/your understanding, and thus, your communication with each other?

My girlfriend's accent isn't thick or anything.. it just presents problems with our communication on a daily basis.. it's not always important stuff.. We might just be joking around or something, and she won't quite understand a word or sentence I've said (or vice versa). We really like each other... She's absolutely amazing.. She's smart, intelligent, kind, sweet, fun to be with, has a great sense of humor, and she's beautiful...

When one of us doesn't understand, I really think it gets a little frustrating for the other..

P.S. I never make fun of her accent. I just try to help her understand as best I can... usually by repeating, or finding another way to say the same thing.. I just want to really KNOW her... and I find that, to do that, communication is needed..


ehhh!? 6 years ago

I absolutely cannot agree about the Japanese girls' accents being cute. In my eyes, Japanese people are about equal with the French in terms of having the most horrendously strong accent when speaking a foreign language...their Mandarin pronunciation is...it's just sad and makes my ears hurt. I guess I just try very hard at Mandarin and it seems like Japanese don't. Anyways that was my rant, everyone has their right to an opinion though. I do have my own problem though, I can't hardly ever seem to get my Chinese girlfriend to speak to me in anything but English...I speak to her in Chinese, she speaks to me in English. It's an interesting situation, but I swear if I could figure out some way that we could mix it up, it would be more beneficial to each of our foreign language abilities...any suggestions?


laserstar profile image

laserstar 6 years ago from NYC or Shanghai

I live in china and have lived in china for some time, went when I was 21, met girl of my dreams, lived together for 3 years whenever I was in shanghai. Her english is phenomenal, but not perfect. Just like my chinese is ok, but not perfect at all. We had a great time exploring eachothers languages and helping eachother out with the little things.

After some time her english got so good, but of course like any 2nd language is not perfect. She would always look to me for explanations of new words and I would for chinese (which for me was often!)

The language barrier does exist but to a point, if there is no way to talk to eachother it won't work. But I never felt correcting her publicly was necessary, it was only when we were alone talking would we explain things. Unless i was speaking chinese and no one could understand, she knew what I was always tring to say.

Oh xixi, i miss u. Cannot wait go back to china. It was always laid back and like cutsie when we'd help eachother with words, and i think that brought us really close together also. I remember the first time I came back to NY we cried for like 8 days straight....

You don't want to be overbearing, and as much as asian girls culturally feel obligated to be almost submissive, I never tried to push that. Always want her make her own choices in life, love, and happiness.

I know alot of people would stare at us, some older couples because we just were so young and people aren't fully used to seeing foreigners in china, especially younger ones, especially with a chinese girl on their arm. They just don't like it i guess, definitely got some bad looks and my poor xixi got some looks. People have wrong impressions, thinking she only wants money, or is slut or something like this. But if you have a real connection then u don't care about what others think

What's funny is how chinese guys and girls choose an English or western name for themselves. So when we met she was calling herself "avril" but I wanted to know her for real, and to me a fake name is a fake. So from our first conversation I only called here xixi. I truly embraced chinese eastern way of life in this modern world, and she embraced my westerness culture (or lack there of haha) .

When i'd get looks at the club or have people trying dance with me, i'd see her smile (but really be jealous!) . Which is funny because i'm the same, tell her yea go have fun no worry, but when some other guy dancing with her I am jealous! But this just became proof to eachother our feelings real. I remember the exact moment that I fell in love with her, after we have been hanging out.

She studying at University SISU and I went to a class with her, being all embarassed and shy as I am. But she gave me that little nudge i needed to maybe get out of my shell a bit, and KTV, i'm so scared but ended up being so fun and natural for us. We'd even KTV just the two of us (for those who don't know KTV is karaoke in private rooms with friends)

She loved my innocent awkwardness with her friends and other chinese. I'mm a polite guy i guess and she loved me for being humble, not obnoxious, truly caring, teaching eachother about life and love, learning who we are in eachothers arms. Her older neighbors )over 65yrs) end up liking me, her roomates. Everything the best times of my life, and hers then (at least i hope)

I would never take it back, i just wish i didn't screw it up by getting deep into some negative things.... poor girl tried to save me and i hate myself for putting her through my own struggles with self destruction

As far as language , after awhile she had an american accent and there was almost never a situation where we did not understand eachother, no matter how deep the conversation was.

Its intersting finding a balance and can be awkward in the beginning when u first getting to know someone. Me being westerner maybe a little to forward, overbearing and I hope i did not do that, hoped I never made her uncomfortable or feel strange. She say i most beautiful foreigner ever and her friends say too, but what started as an interest in myself and her turned into a true love of devotion and care.

We know eachother better than even my family, and still talk now. But with less conversation, my chinese slowly getting worse and her english too haha. But will always love eachother even if worlds apart.

I learned who I am and who I want to be with xixi showing me the path I always wanted to follow.

Lin xixi, ni zhi dao wo ai ni. - ni de nan pegnyou - Ke Lin (colin).

.....sorry this turned into a nastaligic love rant, but liked the topic and similar situation I've lived. Make it count, if you getting to truly know someone and feel something there, just remember u are not perfect and have no right to judge someone who is trying so hard. Peace and happiness. Wo ai ni.


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 6 years ago from California Author

For those who have left me your comments about this article I would like to thank you for all your valuable sharing. I am recently translating a book so I've been very busy working on this project lately. In fact, due to overwhelming request of translation projects in the past year, I've not have any chances to write my own stuff for long time. I would love to get back to my writing (either Chinese or English) sooner or later, however, working as a translator really supports my family now. I do have a lot to share with everyone but writing is too luxurious to a mom with two kids. Hopefully my busy and cruel life will be soon loose up one day. There will be a lot of stories to tell and share for sure.

Thanks again everyone. "Xie Xie!"


Death-site-hell 6 years ago

who cares


Drew Detrick 6 years ago

I aggree with you, YXHuang. I would never try to change the way someone speaks. I think that asain girls are all beautiful and everything about them is beautiful.


Graeme 5 years ago

I agree with what you say, however I will tell you about a very good friend of mine. She's Vietnamese (and very attractive), and I have always enjoyed her company, as well as the way she speaks. Communication is more important than perfect English, and we could understand each other so there was no problem.

However, she actually asks me to correct her so her English will improve. Although I've done it a couple of times, I haven't felt comfortable doing it as I think her command of the English language (combined with an Asian flavour) is very good indeed.

The last thing I want is for her to stop being Asian, it's one of the things I like about her.


issa mohammed 5 years ago

i m looking for agirl friend


Stacy 5 years ago

I would be thankful to my bf if he corrected my accent. I don't care if he do that often because I'm trying to learn English perfectly. I do not think that my accent is bad; I just need to work on it a little bit.


5 years ago

Well Laserstar: It's good to find others that do not just come to China to play...

If you two feel the same way about each other then why not tie the knot...

Step by step I guess


5 years ago

yxhuang: Pronunciation is meaningless. That is not perfection in any language. Those who think so are really not intelligent. It is arrogance think that perfection in speech means understanding. Understand or the better word is Comprehension and being able to comprehend a language is what is important.

Knowing the meaning of the words your speak and those that are spoken to you is what you should be concentration on and not the "looks" of how they sound.

There is no such thing as the perfect English accent. There is such a thing as a perfect comprehension of the language and with this I have say the real fact: How can an American who learns less than half of the English dictionary, comment on another person's "Accent". When the chances are they don't understand Half the English words themselves.

An "accent" is not important at all and it's arrogant and stupid to think such things.. A cop out and excuse to hid one's inability..

I'm Australian, living and breathing in China with my angel. I get into fights with her sometimes because I will not correct her English pronunciation. I have put an end to the fighting,(arguments, by agreeing to correct phases instead.

So please be smarter than this and grow into you new environment with confidence that it's all about understanding ones native tongue and not how words are spoken.


5 years ago

I conduct business in China all of the time speaking to others in both English and Chinese: It is so frustrating to be in conversation a person that thinks they speak perfect English with an American accent to match and yet they can not understand what I am talking about with them.

That is why I focus on comprehension. They are all taught American English now in China and it's not English it's American. English is English and English should be taught in China Oxford English is standard English throughout the world.

It amazes me of the arrogance on people...


k.h.sugath rathnappriya 5 years ago

my skipy sugath 44


RIMI 5 years ago

Hello,

By this participation i want communicate with persons anywhere to improve my english listning and speaking skills.


JJ 5 years ago

tell him to get lost and dump him. He is not worthy of you. Maybe even pay someone to cut his balls off. he is scum...scum scum


Xenon 5 years ago

Pronunciation is NOT meaningless. English language has so many nuances and a long [i] or a short [i] can change the entire meaning of a word/phrase. A bad spelling or a mispronounced word will show the level of education of a person.


godsentman 5 years ago

what's wrong with chinese men that so many great lovely educated chinese women are going with white guz, the very people who belittle us at every opportunity. chinese, i must say, have serious self esteem problem.

on accent, guess usually those who have no real substance would be obsessed with the gwai lo's accent. there are so many top indian bankers who preside over whites speaking good english with heavy indian accent. if you are in investment banking you will know what i mean. the moral of the story is, if you have time obsessed about accent, you are not making capital of your strengths but dwelling on your weaknesses.


languagelearner 5 years ago

If you're ashamed of being corrected, then you shouldn't be studying a foreign language. Unfortunately, that's all part of the learning process. If no one ever corrects you, then how can you fix your mistakes? I am grateful when somebody corrects me, because I am less likely to be making the same mistake in the future, and more likely to be understood, which is the goal of speaking a language. It is possible to get rid of your native accent when you speak a foreign language, if you look up "Jerry English" on youku, he is Chinese, he has a perfect North American English accent and he didn't even start studying English until his early 20s.


Serge 5 years ago

I'm a white guy and I speak Chinese to my wife, I'm fluent in it, but she doesn't like when I sometimes make fun of her Taiwanese accent....I'm not trying to criticize her or something, but we also have an argument over this. FIY, I speak 6 foreign languages and she speaks 3. Just seems to me that nobody likes to be corrected. It's a 'face' question.


Stephy 5 years ago

I just read your article. and i must say, I loved it.


Someone 5 years ago

i think everyone can learn to speak other language without accent... its a matter of time... if you REALLY WANT you can make it... if you can do this when you're born you can do it now...


Lisa 5 years ago

I know, its funny how most people assume you are stupid and uneducated when you dont speak perfect English.Your experience reminded me of this incident that happened to my friend from Hong Kong in Canada. The kids picked up alot about her accent, one girl was like how long have you been here?She was like,oh, a year and a half. And the girl was like, and you still talk like this?Are you retarded or something? Then she turned around and asked me the same question, how long have your been here, Lisa?

I was like, oh about 2 years. And then she turned to my friend Sarah and said, Hey Sarah, why can't you talk normally like you friend Lisa here, she's only been here a year longer then you?! I had to admit been able to master the language does have its advantages, you always get pick first for every kind of competition over everybody else and white people treat you like your their equal. I had this who moved to SD when she was 16 and she has no problem with English, wheneever we go out, we often get mistaken as Asian Americans. I guess it only goes on a case by case basis and its totally different with everybody.


don't cry 5 years ago

Try being white and learning chinese in taiwan/china. it's a never ending battle of gawks and stares at the best, and at the worst people just say "preeeze speak enrish".

So all in all, be glad you live in politically correct America!


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 4 years ago from California Author

I would like to quote Albert Einstein's words to those who believe that if one speaks English with accent must be not so educated (or just don't want to learn): "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

Perhaps we can rewrite these lines into: "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a non-native English speaker on his/her ability to speak perfect English, it will live his/her whole life believing that it is stupid."


Amy Zhang 4 years ago

Hi, I am Chinese and I have a serious pronounciation problem. I guess you can't consider it a "Chinese accent", because I cannot speak correct Chinese. People sometimes call how I speak a "girly accent", and sometimes, "I can't understand a word you say". I want to pronouce words with r in it, like "word" or "here" or "mark" or anything with an r after a vowel. Do you have any advice?

Email me back at silvermoon.amy@gmail.com

Thx, Amy


schenker28 4 years ago

Hi yxhuang,

Thanks for the interesting discussion. I wanted to jump in with my perspective. I'm an American guy and I've found I really like many foreign accents when people are speaking English. In fact, it can be really attractive to me, whereas native American English speakers don't sound as interesting. I'm a musician -- perhaps that's part of it. I've dated women from several different countries, and the accent is usually one of the most sexy things to me. Several times, in fact, I've known a girl who had come to the US recently, and I loved her accent. Then, several years later, she would have improved her English a lot. This is great, of course, and leads to easier communication (just as I like to learn about someone else's language and culture to improve communication). But it actually sounds less sexy to me as someone starts speaking better, more American-sounding English. But of course the benefits to better communication are more important and interesting than the cuteness of a stronger accent :) Still, it's a little sad when someone I'm dating asks me to correct them, because sometimes that means they end up stopping making my favorite cute mistakes :(

One interesting thing: I find certain kinds of accents more sexy than others, and also certain kinds of grammatical errors can be cute, while others might be annoying. It's subtle. I guess an error (or accent) is more cute if it is still very understandable, and just different. If the sounds or grammar mistakes make communication hard, though, it's less cute.

I also find it really exciting to learn to understand someone well, and to develop our own personal ways of communicating, perhaps by blending words from both our languages. I hope that one day I'll fall in love and get married to someone from another country so that I can enjoy all the fun of someone's different native language and accent -- I hope I can find someone who feels the same way about my American accent :)

My advice to girls from other countries: if you date a guy who doesn't appreciate your accent, leave him and find someone like me who finds it attractive and sexy :)


zak 4 years ago

I love my chinese girlfriend


kathy 4 years ago

I think that being corrected is something one has not only to accept but embrace as it is the only way to correct any mistake one might be doing (which makes it harder to get your point across) and thus, this will improve your foreign language skills.

But I'm not asking you to accept offensive, irrespectful behavior as there are ways to correct someone. If your loved one really wants you to improve your language skills, and REALLY LOVES you, he won't use your flaws to make fun of you, make you feel stupid, and use it to feel better about his poor self. SO, if he offers to help you and indeed is respectful and helpful, hey, why not? correct me as much as you can. But if you are gonna use my not-so-great speaking abilities to make fun of me, you can get the f*** out of my life.

This is not about accepting being corrected or not. It is about accepting humiliation or help depending on the other person's way to approach the issue.

By the way, nobody can lose his or her accent, unless they purposefully want to use a fake native-like accent just as to be accepted by stupid people who cannot accept a person because of a freaking foreign accent.

As for me, I will limit myself to learn to pronounce well, but I by no means want to talk like an American, because first...I don't like their accent, and second...because I won't look for acceptance by superficial, closed-minded people (the further from me they are, the better.)


Kathy 4 years ago

And no, honey, this is not an issue concerning Asian women only.

I think American guys in general are spoiled, immature little kids that find it hard to understand that their stupid culture is not "the standard one," so that's why most are not deserving of foreign-born women.


Buenos Aires, Argentina 4 years ago

"I GUEST some men prefer women speak"

I think you mean "Guess"?

Hey, you didn't say anything about spelling, just accent.


Luke Frohling 4 years ago

Correcting someones language/speaking is annoying and rude if it is not requested. I always ask if they want me to do it and check every month or so if it's still OK but everytime they've said to me they WANT me to correct it (I only correct the grammer [tenses, plurals etc], and vocabulary) because it's why they are hanging around talking with me (ex-English teacher- 5 years experience) and let them pick up the accent naturally.

Two points. 1) People hate being corrected. They're not looking for correction and

2) People sounding like an idiot when speaking. They havea burning desire to speak better.

Never assume a person is one or the other- simply ask them.


Dude in Taiwan 4 years ago

I find it interesting that this article finds foreigners making fun of Chinese accent offense. As a white guy, and a fluent Mandarin speaker with a pretty good Chinese accent (I'm a jazz musician, so my ear to pretty sensitive and accurate), I get made fun of all the time in society for even daring to opening my white mouth, regardless of how well I speak. From adults to little children, it is completely acceptable to mock me publicly. My wife is Taiwanese and can vouch, my accent ain't too shabby...May I add a caveat to this article. Maybe Taiwan society should think about mocking foreigner accents too! Just as it feels crappy and disrespectful to mock a non-native English speaker's English, the same is true to those speaking Mandarin. You want to really tick off a foreigner quickly, and make them not want to have any communication with you? When you first meet them, just start to ??a foreign speaker's accent right to their face. If you're lucky they might be just quiet and walk away. That's my technique, because why would I want to talk to anyone so willing to mock me?


Chris 4 years ago

I don't get it : Why would they even bother to "correct" an accent ?

Sometimes it's important to correct grammar because , unfortunately , English is a rather specific language and a word in the wrong place can change the meaning of a sentence entirely . Having said that , most native English speakers are well-versed in determining meaning when faced with grammatically incorrect sentences . An accent , by itself , is generally something that people like to hear . It evokes a sense of the exotic I guess .

Anyway , I don't correct anybody's grammar or accent (outside of the workplace I should say ... I'm a teacher) unless I'm confused about meaning and foresee the same problem coming up again . If they want help , I'll provide it but I'm not interested in nitpicking . I find it rather insensitive that anybody would do it so much as to make the student of English feel poorly about his/her efforts to learn the language .


Indian couple 4 years ago

Thank you for your article.. my husband speaks with bad grammar often. I try to correct him in the politest of ways, forward him an article or webpage that talks about that issue... but I guess he doesn't like it. Thoug he DOES want to speak better English. On the other hand, I can't STAND the mistakes he makes sometimes. I don't know what to do... don't know how to accept him the way he is, when I get so embarrassed by his English in front of others...


高加索 4 years ago

I personally do not mind whether someone is capable of speaking perfect english or not, as long as they try to learn it enough that i can understand what they are saying. I have many friends who are not from the U.S. and are native speakers of other languages and they have done really well in learning the language on their own. I also personally think that some people take things a tiny bit too seriously when it comes to accents. I personally am attracted to womens accents when they are not native speakers, and especially when they forget / have a little trouble speaking/translating certain words from their main language to another. Not because i think they are less intelligent than me or incapable, i just find that it makes them unique, and out of the ordinary. I would even go as far as saying i find it sexy. Why would you want to be like everyone else when the only person you should strive to be like is yourself. Try getting your boyfriend to learn your language if he cares he will try and then you'll be on the outside looking in instead of feeling like your the one being looked at.

I mean everything in good faith, and give you my respect.


prefer_anonym 4 years ago

Hello everyone, big salutes to the people who prefer to speak out and make their hurt known rather than blaming themselves inside day in and day out for being made fun of trying to speak a language that they have not been speaking since childhood....I have gone through a similar experience...and guess what today is the day this issue led to the breakup with my girlfriend...well..I am in Germany...made a girlfriend who, though not a native German, but was born here and hence had the opportunity to speak the language from as long as she can remember going to prep school...no wonder she is totally fluent in German...I have had a successful professional background..and came here to pursue post-graduation (for a change, taught in English in Germany)...if anyone of you who have been to Germany would know how difficult it can be for an outsider to grasp the small little details in the pronunciation and such in German language...and I feel confidence in language is a very sensitive thing, if you make fun of somebody who is just starting out..it can either make or break you, more often its the break...I must clarify though, that none of the German folks I had interaction with, ever made fun of my language, in fact they all encouraged me to make mistakes, correcting me carefully in the process...but it seems my girlfriend assumed that she can take the liberty to humiliate me on my accent and pronunciation, just because she was born here and has been speaking the language for more than 2 decades ...i remember for a whole evening I was made the laughing stock on the way I had tried to speak a particular word..and was told, in a rather humiliating and condescending manner how bad my pronunciation was...I made my displeasure known, but I was told that what she did was only for fun and that she didn't mean it...but please step in my shoes and feel the hurt to know what exactly your idea of "fun" is doing to my psyche and self-confidence...being made fun of by someone whom i trusted and loved...If it was someone else, an outsider, I could have braced myself for being made fun of...but with a girlfriend we open ourselves completely...almost to the point of being hurt in ways that no other can ever hurt us...but I would be careful from now on...but its an appeal to the others..global citizens...please treat this issue with utmost caution...do not hurt anyone on their accent, it might sound funny to you..but remember that you would too, if you try to speak any language that is new to you...


nadia 4 years ago

hi there

i liked the subject alot and its funny


Brittany 4 years ago

I'm ABC and I think the chinese accent is so attractive. The guy I like is a beijinger. Never thought I'd say this in my entire life.


naseeb rana 4 years ago

Halo


Anonymous abc 4 years ago

Wow, can't believe I'm leaving a comment on such an old post but here goes.

What's up with the self consciousness about your accent? I don't see French, German, Spanish or many other nationalities stressing over their accents, in fact Americans tend to like the subtle "flavor" it adds to the conversation. I personally LOVE hearing an Aussie accent (they actually speak native English though). I really think that Chinese people are a little more sensitive about it. Culturally you are pushed to excel in everything you study. Undortunately an accent isn't something you can acquire or lose based on sheer will and hard work. I mean, I suppose you could but your time would probably be better spent on other pursuits with a greater return.

I'm Chinese... My mom speaks the most twisted English and she's been in the US for 40 years. She can be a little self conscious about her English at times and I just dont think it's that big a deal. The people that matter understand her. If anyone wants to give her a hard time they can take their perceived superiority and shove it.

There are people who speak only one language and can't even do that well. Just be happy with what you can do and let others worry about the rest.

Also, just so you know, teasing and correcting people's language usage happens even between native speakers. We don't mean any offense. Sometimes just helping, other times just having some fun. Don't be so up tight. Languages are meant for communicating. You're doing fine if you don't get slapped when you think you're just asking for directions.


davyfetons 3 years ago

long time no see kevin if your still in need of them here is the link filling address , they have a deal on at the mo ,say fetons

give you there number


Tokyo 3 years ago

My boyfriend who can not even pronounce one of my Japanese songs name even if he heard a million times is correcting my English. He actually think that he is doing his favor for me. I think there are two type of people. One is trying to understand what you are trying to say, another one is do not even trying to understand because unfamiliar accent they hear. I want to say, America is a melting pot. All different accents come with the package. Otherwise stay from the people with accent. At least, I know what I am talking about even if I do not speak perfect English.


Nathan 11 months ago

People who speak languages that have a lot of sounds to them, like English and Arabic, are at an advantage over people who speak languages with fewer sounds, such as Spanish or Japanese. Compound that with White Male Privilege or Saudi Male Privilege and you have a great recipe for global douchebaggery. Find a humble guy who is trying to learn your language and I'll bet you a dime to a dollar he'll screw up the tones all the time.

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