All The More Reason

Speech Accent Archive
September 9, 2006, 12:08 am
Filed under: Language

Recently, there has been news that cows have different accents. This has reminded me of the beautifully laid out web site The Speech Accent Archive. One can listen to individuals from all over the world try and read out the same paragraph in English.

For example, we have a no doubt beautiful French woman from Nice.

We have the unbelievably clichéd sounding Russian. (I particularly like his manner of saying “Bob”)

And for all those who have ever been foolishly inclined to try and imitate the accent of a native speaker, we have this poor Greek sounding like someone from the middle of nowhere in greater Anglia.

How can reason help inform our way of listening to these accents? Firstly, it doesn’t have to. But, there are perhaps two simple thoughts that we can carry with us. One, it is a simple reminder of how it is impossible to explain the complexities and relative beauties of life in statements like Mussolini ha sempre ragione. Secondly, despite reason’s reputation for coldness, the accurary of observation is not necessarily affected by the enjoyment and delight in the endeavour.

Jonathan Smith


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