What Does English Sound Like To Foreigners?

November 17, 2022 by No Comments

What does English sound like to foreigners? English sound different to different cultural background people. When someone hears a language they are unfamiliar with, it sounds, well, strange.

This is a layperson’s explanation of “what English sounds like to foreigners,” as far as I understand it. In this article, you will find the original English, and what English sounds like to different cultural backgrounds of foreigners.

What is The Origin of English?

You hardly would recognize English if you were transported to the British Isles in the year 500 BCE. Invasions from outside Britain, cultural exchanges, and the colonial importation of languages were the main ways that English developed and changed over time.

Let’s quickly take a look at the languages that influenced the creation of English as we know it today:

  • Celtic: Some grammar still reflects the Celtic migratory influences.
  • Latin: A language with a Latin foundation is not English. A number of Latin influences were nevertheless left over from the Roman occupation. Noon, camp, and anchor are just a few words that have Latin roots.
  • Anglo-Saxon: Germanic languages include English. Germanic languages and grammar were brought from Central Europe by the Anglo-Saxon tribes. You might recognize the words be, strong, and water. Old Norse: Over 2000 new words from Old Norse were introduced by the Viking invasions. Words like giving, husband, egg, and knife were introduced into the language by the Vikings.
  • Anglo-Norman Old French: Many French words were translated into English after the Norman invasion, including encore, mirage, and facade.
  • European languages: The influences of the French, Latin, Greek, and Italian (such as fiasco) cultures also spread as the Renaissance progressed.
  • Shakespeare: Shakespeare used 1700 or more new words in his plays and poems. Shakespeare is credited with coining words like trendy, dwindle, and lonely.
  • Colonization and Cultural Exchanges: Words like jungle (Hindi), assassin (Persian), candy (Arabic), lackey (Turkish), caddy (Malay), and kayak (American English) came to the English through colonization and cultural exchange.

Between 1400 and 1700, there were several pronunciation changes made to English during The Great Vowel Shift. In Middle English, some consonant sounds—particularly those that became silent—changed, as well as the long vowels. Experts disagree on why the changes happened, but it’s probably a combination of the following:

  • Londoners trying to distinguish their speech from the immigrants who moved to the area after the Black Death
  • Borrowing French words
  • Unintentionally hypercorrecting the pronunciation of French words or hypercorrecting to make the words sound less French

What Does English Sound Like to Foreigners?

English has both beautiful and undesirable sounds. Because of its rich history and culture, we talked about how some people might think of English as a beautiful language. Contrary to popular belief, this contributes to the sound being improved.

The many ‘s’ sounds that are present throughout the language and the harsh ‘r’ sounds can produce an intriguing rhythm, according to some people. The historical ties to various languages, including those not of Latin origin, are also beautiful. A significant part of human beauty is routine and familiarity.

The more you enjoy the cultures of the English language—and this holds true for other languages as well—the more likely you are to find the sound pleasing.

This generalization has two components. T

  1. The first is that each person is unique, making it challenging (in addition to being morally wrong to do so) to generalize about anyone.
  2. Secondly, some languages do sound rather “unique” or are in a sense acquired tastes.

The German language is an illustration of a taste that must be developed. It has a very guttural sound, which some people find makes it sound less musical or romantic. The interesting deep range of German, however, continues to be a favorite of many.

What language they speak themselves also makes a difference. This is particularly true for visitors to a nation or language. Coming from a particular culture will have an impact on how you perceive English, either positively or negatively.

But ultimately, whether a language sounds beautiful to both a native speaker and a foreigner depends on personal preference. One’s own perspective essentially comes into play with the sound of language. Consequently, it comes across as incredibly subjective.

English can therefore sound good, but it really depends on who is listening. If foreigners enjoy English culture, it has a significant impact on how beautiful English sounds to them. Along with their own native tongue, their culture may have an impact on how they perceive English.

Let’s examine some broad principles. What is the general opinion among non-native English speakers when they hear it? What impression do people generally have of the language given that the majority of books and correspondence in the world are written in English and that most language learners study it?

Native speakers of other languages who are present in or originate from these cultures have given these names. The closer a generality is examined on an individual basis, the more disintegration occurs. These are meant to serve as a good place to start when figuring out how English sounds to other people.

CultureSentiment Toward EnglishEnglish Usage“Sound” Of English
ScandinavianHigh in most demographicsEducation and trendsUnique but disjointed
Western EuropeanHigh among youngEducation and trendsStrange and even garbled
Eastern EuropeanHigh to moderate among youngEducation and tourismStrange and even garbled
South/Central AmericanModerate to lowTravel and businessIrregular but interesting
AsianModerate to low among youngTravel and businessUnique but difficult
AfricanModerate to lowBusiness and politicsInteresting but slurred
what does English sound like to foreigners

The English sounds that stand out to you will frequently depend on which sounds are unusual and different from those in your own language. Some sound elements of English that non-native English speakers note include:

  • Slurred or garbled sounds
  • Harsh “r”s
  • Overuse of “s,” sh,” and “ch” sounds
  • Interesting rhythms
  • Melodic and sharp quality (British English)
  • Different voice inflections
  • Disjointedness, abruptness, and aggressiveness
  • The “ing” word ending
  • Lack of clear consonant sounds at the beginning and end of words
  • Too much vowel reduction and not enough phonemic distinction
  • Overemphasis on the beginning of the word and underemphasis on the ending
  • Choppy and disconnected sounds
  • Open, round, and rolling vowels
  • Soft consonants
  • Flat sounds

Some non-native voice actors try to imitate English pronunciation jokes that all the harsh “r”s make Those who speak English, particularly Americans,) sound like pirates. Others say that all the “s” sounds make English speakers have a snake-like voice.

what does english sound like to foreigners

Which Language Speakers Spoken English Difficult?

Languages that don’t include the same sounds as English are those whose speakers have the hardest time understanding or imitating English pronunciation.

It can be challenging to hear or pronounce a voice actor’s attempts to mimic English pronunciation if they don’t have the sound in their native tongue, especially if they are an adult learner. Conversely, if an English-speaking voice talent is attempting to mimic a different accent, they should pay close attention to the sounds that non-native speakers find the most challenging.

Let’s look at some of the more difficult sounds to hear or say in English for speakers of various languages:

The “TH” Sound

Both the fricative and unvoiced “th” sounds are tricky, and speakers of languages without the sound end up replacing it with sounds like “f,” “s,” “d,” or “z.” Some languages without the “th” sound include:

  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin
  • Persian
  • Russian

The “W” and “V” Sounds

The “w” sound is an oral rather than a nasal consonant. Languages that lack a “w” sound tend to replace the “w” sound with a “v” sound. Some languages that pronounce “w” differently from English include:

  • Dutch
  • German
  • Kokborok
  • Polish
  • Turkmen

The “B” and “V” Sounds

In some other languages, the “v” sound is an “f”, “b,” or “y” sound instead. Some languages that pronounce “v” differently than English include:

  • Galician
  • Indonesian
  • Several native American languages, including Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw
  • Spanish

The “R” Sound

The “r” sound seems simple enough, but there are various ways to pronounce it in other languages, which is why the “r” sound in English is so unique. Even the sound is different between British and American English. Some languages with different “r” sounds than English include:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Catalan
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Galician
  • German
  • Haitian
  • Hebrew
  • Hopi
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Leonese
  • Malay
  • Mandarin
  • Maori
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Venetian

Is English a Beautiful Language?

The majority of those who speak English as a second language do so among the hundreds of millions of people who do so every day. Since English is spoken by people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, there are many different perspectives on the language itself. So, if learning a language is influenced by beauty, is English a beautiful language?

Both in terms of sound and meaning, English can be a very lovely language. English has a wide variety of dialects and accents, so some will sound more appealing than others. English has a long association with Western thought and culture, which in and of itself can be beautiful.

There are many reasons why we learn languages, but when it comes to beauty, the motivation is typically arbitrary. However, there are still some immutable truths contained therein.

As is discussed in this article, published in Cross‐Cultural Psychology: Contemporary Themes and Perspectives, Second Edition, language and culture are inextricably linked. The connection allows us to judge whether English is a beautiful language or not.

If a language’s philosophical and historical foundations can play a major role in determining whether it is beautiful, then the history and culture of the West, specifically the West in the case of English, are the only remaining options. How does this affect people’s perceptions of English, particularly among foreigners?

Why is English Considered a Beautiful Language?

Any language can be deemed beautiful in a variety of ways. Some similarities between languages have to do with their cultures or the way they sound. The beauty of English is widely regarded. Yet, why is the English language thought to be lovely?

The sound and culture that are associated with the English language are the main reasons why some people find it to be a beautiful language. Some people may come to the conclusion that English-speaking culture is more objectively beautiful when compared to other cultures. It depends on the individual’s personal preferences when it comes to sound.

English language culture is essentially Western civilizational culture. This results in both its many admirers and detractors. Given that Christianity, and particularly Catholicism, are linked to Western Culture.

It will be both adored and despised because of the origins of English.

However, this also ignores the influence of pop culture in the English-speaking world, particularly in the US. English is the preferred language for entertainment in music, movies, TV shows, and other forms of media.

To foreigners of one in English-speaking countries, the language can seem “beautiful”. This conclusion could be reached by anyone with an interest in English popular culture today or the history of Western culture.

The part of the question where we will have the most trouble answering is whether or not the language is beautiful. Considering how much of this is up to personal preference.

One culture will have certain preferences when it comes to English sounds, but people from that culture may disagree.

What does English sound like to foreigners? Different cultural backgrounds foreigners have different meanings. Besides, we also learn different people have different struggles to speak English. Where are you from? What does English sound like to you?