As I would like to have a lovely British accent, all I can get is an hybrid between French, English and German (search me why!) accent. And I guess I’m lucky, because when I can hear some of my compatriots talking English, I’m so desperate about their accent. I remember a French guy when I was studied in Bath, England. He came from Toulouse, in the South of France. In this area, they all have a very strong accent, a South accent which reminds you the good wines and food. He had this accent and when he was talking English he couldn’t change one iota to his accent. My American friend, R. was so desperate to understand him. Actually, she couldn’t! That was funny. Well, that’s not that funny for him, but comparing to him, I was feeling very lucky with my some kind of mixed accent.
Well, as I was remembering this episode, I was wondering why usually, French people don’t get a good English accent?
On my point of view, there are few explanations.
The first one is in relation with the kind of accent we can hear when we’re young. At school, English is teached by some French teachers who have a French accent when they speak English. FAIL!
Second, when we turn on the TV or the radio, speakers have a so bad English acccent as well. Politics are the worst, and most of the boss we can have during our career are pretty bad. Well, I suppose we would need someone with a real English accent to look up. FAIL!
If you’re lucky, like me you can go to live in some English families for few weeks during Summers. That’ s a good start. At least, you can meet people with a real English accent.
If I compare this situation to what I can observe here in Québec, I really feel the big difference is what we can hear : TV, radio, people, actors, etc.
Finally, another explanation of this bad accent could lie in the necessity of not being obliged to speak a perfect English to survive. Especially if I compare it to talking English in Québec. You can less and less speak only French. And being able to maintain a good level of French language as well as a good English speaking is a challenge!