Belgian news

Fleming’s English is becoming more American

11th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

A study on Flemish youngsters and adults carried out by flandersnews.be suggests that the English accent of the average Fleming is becoming more and more American.

Whereas adults still possess a British rather than an American accent, adolescents already show a stronger inclination towards American in their spoken English.

Above all, Flemings of course speak Flemish English. This very noticeable English accent, unmistakably common to northern Belgians, makes many an English language-loving tourist cringe his teeth while talking to a local. But of course there are British and American features in there as well, and flandersnews.be wanted to know how they weigh out.

Some 54 people aged 16 to 23, and 54 people aged 50 to 77 were asked to speak English and read English text. The text contained all sorts of English words that have a different pronunciation in British and American English, like fast, draw, home, hot, park, city, tune, tomato, etc. The conversations were recorded, and afterwards, these ‘token words’ were isolated and checked for pronunciation.

As it turned out, there was a slight but statistically significant difference between the younger and the older people surveyed. In 62 percent of all cases, youngsters preferred to pronounce the token words in the American way. So, for example, most young Flemings would pronounce tomato as “to-may-do”. Meanwhile, older people liked to pronounce token words the British way in 58% of recorded cases. This means a small majority of them favours “to-mah-to” as the pronunciation for tomato.

 

Flandersnews.be / Expatica

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