Accent refers to the typical suprasegmental ( prosodic ) characteristics on which every language or dialect / regiolect is based and the resulting - mostly unconscious - transfer of pronunciation habits of the dialect or the regiolect to the umbrella language or the transfer of the pronunciation habits of the first / mother tongue or the primarily used language to a foreign language learned later .
Most of the people who only learn the umbrella language or a foreign language as adolescents or adults speak it with their own accent.
For example, a German native speaker usually recognizes a dialect speaker, a German-speaking French or Italian by their accent. One speaks of "High German with a Bavarian accent", "German with a French accent", "German with an Italian accent", "English with a German accent" etc. It is primarily the prosodic features of the individual pronunciation that shape the impression of an accent less the inability, resulting from the lack of use of the muscles concerned , to clearly produce sounds that are missing from the speaker's mother tongue (e.g. the umlauts "ö" and "ü", nasal vowels or the English "th") ( dyslalia ).
People who use a foreign language far more than their mother tongue due to special circumstances often develop an accent in their mother tongue. This often occurs with migrant children, but also with adults who have lived abroad for decades with a foreign partner with whom they communicate in the national language. In this case, the pronunciation habits of the foreign language are unintentionally transferred to the mother tongue. The " foreign language accent syndrome " occurs relatively rarely , in which illness, an operation, etc. changes the way locals speak so that they are mistaken for foreigners.
Sometimes the terms dialect and accent are confused with one another. One hears statements such as “She speaks with a Bavarian dialect”, although it should correctly read “with a Bavarian accent”.
Accent and language lessons
- Speech Accent Archive (Engl.)