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I need some help as an international student

So I don't know where I can ask this question but I'm currently in uni, but not in the UK, but in America. I am an international student and I'm not a native speaker of English. I have been practising British accent for a while and my new teaching assistant is from Oxford, England. Though he did not speak posh at all. I am wondering is it ok to talk to him and ask him some feedback on my accent? Literally he is the first British guy I have met at the school and i am aiming for rp, so I figure I need some help. But is it considered rude and unprofessional in the UK to just directly ask people about your accent? Do you guys think I should ask I'm or not?
I don’t think it would be rude to ask them for feedback on your accent.
Reply 2
Original post by Admit-One
I don’t think it would be rude to ask them for feedback on your accent.

He is from England, but I feel it is weird and rude? Does it happen in UK universities a lot too?
Original post by shsoq
He is from England, but I feel it is weird and rude? Does it happen in UK universities a lot too?

I can’t say whether it happens much in UK unis between students and staff. But I don’t think it’s rude for someone for whom English is a second language to politely ask for some feedback on their accent from a native speaker.

I would just be aware that RP is not that commonplace, (outside of broadcasting and the upper classes in general), and your tutor may be limited in what they can advise.
Reply 4
Original post by shsoq
So I don't know where I can ask this question but I'm currently in uni, but not in the UK, but in America. I am an international student and I'm not a native speaker of English. I have been practising British accent for a while and my new teaching assistant is from Oxford, England. Though he did not speak posh at all. I am wondering is it ok to talk to him and ask him some feedback on my accent? Literally he is the first British guy I have met at the school and i am aiming for rp, so I figure I need some help. But is it considered rude and unprofessional in the UK to just directly ask people about your accent? Do you guys think I should ask I'm or not?

I'm not sure why you'd expect someone to "speak posh" just because he's from Oxford!

Also, there isn't one single "British accent". Accents can vary significantly across the country. I've had trouble understanding one of my cousins (when I was younger) because he had quite a strong local accent from where he grew up -- and he grew up only about 20 miles from me!

I don't think it's rude to ask your teaching assistant. I have colleagues who are native speakers of French and a colleague who is a native speaker of German, both of which languages I studied at school, and I would feel comfortable asking them for their views of my accent speaking their language.

What you'd need to be careful of is that you don't take up too much of their time, and in particular that you don't keep pestering them for ongoing feedback.

Another thing to bear in mind is that, while they might be able to identify in their own mind what things you're getting wrong, it might be difficult to explain how to fix things. Sometimes it's easy to explain -- a former colleague spoke excellent English, albeit with a slight French accent, but routinely got the stress wrong when saying one particular word. But where it comes to -- for example -- vowel sounds being prononunced incorrectly, it can be difficult to explain to someone how to pronounce the right sound. Sometimes one language has two sounds that to a native speaker are clearly different, while to a non-native speaker whose language does not differentiate between the two sounds they can't even hear a difference.

As @Admit-One points out, most British people don't speak RP. In a Youtube video I found, the presenter suggested that just 3% of people speak RP; and in fact suggested that speaking RP is in some cases a hint that you learned English outside the UK.
Reply 5
Original post by Admit-One
I can’t say whether it happens much in UK unis between students and staff. But I don’t think it’s rude for someone for whom English is a second language to politely ask for some feedback on their accent from a native speaker.
I would just be aware that RP is not that commonplace, (outside of broadcasting and the upper classes in general), and your tutor may be limited in what they can advise.

He is originally from Lincolnshire but he graduated from Oxford and KCL, and he certainly doesnt have Lincolnshire west country accent, so i assume he changes his accent when he comes to America?
Original post by shsoq
He is originally from Lincolnshire but he graduated from Oxford and KCL, and he certainly doesnt have Lincolnshire west country accent, so i assume he changes his accent when he comes to America?


It wouldn't surprise me if he dialled his native accent back a bit.

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