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 Nepalese Accent !!!

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Posted on 06-19-09 4:06 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Lets talk about our accents.

What causes it and is there a way to improve it?

 Is there a need to improve one's accent to the accent of the country he is in?

Why do Nepalese act like they have a better accent than other foreigner's, lets take an example of Indian accent although both may sound the same for a Native?

Why do Nepalese take their own language lightly. We were never taught to pronounce our own words correctly by our teachers or parents. For eg we do not know Rashwa and Dirgha or the difference between SH and S, YA and A, O and WO and such.

By no means i am trying to be a smartass or demeaning to anyone with this thread. Lets see if we can make this thread informative or entertaining.


Posted on 06-19-09 4:46 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Last edited: 20-Jun-09 01:57 AM

Posted on 06-19-09 5:02 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I am not trying to be smart arse

Posted on 06-19-09 8:20 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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thats cuz those people probably already know which country you're from by now.. hehe.. "did took"? did take?

it's just a language , there was and will always be people wth accent in the usa. It's just part of living in the usa no need to embarassed. keep practicing, i guess.

not trying to be a smar arse either..

Posted on 06-20-09 12:42 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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My two cents

In our language, nepali, which comes from sanskrit origin, I feel that  the usage of three Ss :": SA ,: sha :Not sure why it exists: Its kindda obsolute" are not explained properly, at least when speaking. It is there in . In hindi language, which shares the same , however they make optimum use of and , I mean they differentiate, but in nepal in spoken, we are not taught to differentiate. We pronounce every thing plain . Ironically I hear people using where स is actually needed. Since childhood in school or home we keep on hearing the same in-diffirentiation again and again and we condition in the same manner. But nepalese who pay heed to their pronunciation can feel the difference, if they have exposure to foreign language they tend to find the difference and adapt to it. It happened to me. Earlier when my friends in india, during my college years in late 90's, used to tell me the difference, I used to think what in the earth are they talking about, I am speaking correct, what or . But then I understood, mostly in rural in india, they also have the same problem with  and , its only in the urban and urdu-influenced area, the difference between  and is regulated and pronounced. By this I dont mean to rule out that indians do not have accent, they have very thick ones but at least they pronounce words completely and correctly. That might be one of the reason we find indian songs and hindi dialogues so melodious and captivating. (just my opinion, open to arguements). We need to practice differentiating between  and ,correctly.

Any english word having SH should be pronounced , plain S is  like sheep becomes शिप and sip becomes सिप, moreover, TION, SION, SSION also becomes SH, like mention becomes मेन्शन not मेन्सन 

The other common mistake we make is the difference in g,j and z. In nepali we have one and only one . It can't be explained in written form unless we hear it. like its ZINDAGI not JINDAGI, if you know what I mean.

So to begin with we need to understand these small mistakes and then on the accent part, as sidster and bhikhaari recommed, drop your shame, and watch carefully the way your american friends speak, immitate their body language, lip movements, pronunciations, gestures, ettiquetes, mannerisms, slangs and language structure. 


Last edited: 20-Jun-09 01:16 AM

Posted on 06-20-09 8:28 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Your experience/observation is similar to mine. I noticed the difference between S and SH the hard way. We were at the company meeting and i meant to say " we are just pushing it too hard" but my accent ended up saying  " we are pussying it too hard" . Fortunately there was a 19 year old giggling girl in my team who actually pointed out how funny i was when i said pussying in front of higher management. Thats when i was made aware of two different sounds. I was so embarrassed and i decided to pay attention to words.

The other turning event for me with Rashwa and Dirgha was " when i couldnt say my friend's car name properly. He was driving Dodge Intrepid, but everytime i said the damn name i called it Intrapeed, for the love of good i could not tell the difference between Pid and Peed. It took me nearly 3 years in US to finally understand the difference and then the practice began. The difference that could have been understood on the first day in US itself could have been solved given the proper guidence or awareness.

My experience with the indian counter part was, we were speaking about violence in south asian and i decided to use the word Shanti = Peace, but when it came out from my mouth it came out as SAANTI, unfortunately i am still not acustomed to saying the SHs correctly while speaking Nepalese.
Then my Indian Co Workers remark was " kya bihari ki tarah saanti saanti laga rakha hey , saanti nahi Shanti bol" Then he added " it looks like your language is not mature enough and its still a tribal language because our tribal people cant say the words correctly either" another moment for embarassment. My question to myself was, how come we have words for all the sounds that there are almost possible and no one gives a rats ass about saying the words correctly. If indians are enough concerned about speaking their language correctly why werent we? Are we really not matured with language and tribal like my Indian Co Worker pointed out?

As Spreadlove pointed out the other sounding issues i have noticed among ourselves are

Ear/Year   ( with E and Ya in Nepali)
Ore/Wore  ( with O and Wa in Nepali)


Last edited: 20-Jun-09 08:29 AM

Posted on 06-20-09 9:20 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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If you don't know the sound difference between श and it looks like you should be practicing Nepali or Sanskrit rather than English. My view on this whole accent business is it is what it is. If you are talking about pronunciation, then it's a totally different arena.

Having said that, I would like to share a funny anecdote from my college days. I used to work for the IT department and we often had to change hard drive in faculty's machines. Once I had to change a hard drive of a professor's computer. When referring to the hard drive in front of my supervisor I kept saying Hard Diks, instead of Hard Disk (Diss ka). I used the s after the k and I had been doing it for god knows how long. An American kid who was listening to the whole conversation later pointed out that I was not talking about a hard drive but multiple erections (hard Di*ks).
It might just be me, another word I used to mispronounce was ask. I often said aks. Ask is actually pronounced as "ass" then the "ka."


Posted on 06-20-09 12:16 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Spreadlove, Sidster and FF

Thanks for being serious about this topic. It might look nothing but it can lead to embarrassment, some can end up with troubles. All of your examples are classic, FF- yours were really funny. Surprisingly I've picked up Hard Drive (instead of disss :-) )

I've been try to say these words for years and still have long ways to go, made few improvements. I had difficulties with "Shoulder" and "Soldier" and another instance was "Salon" and "Saloon" was being said the same way. I'm still learning "Statistic", which we say like in "Start" is pronounced as "Istatistic" like in "Ista-Mitra" instead. I had a difficult time saying "Umbilical cord" for a while.

One word "FILM" is the most diff ult to say with American accent. We say  "FEEEE-LEAM" It is more like "ILM" and the F is so short that it disappears before you can hear it.



Last edited: 20-Jun-09 12:19 PM

Posted on 06-20-09 12:38 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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. Speaking with correct pronunciation is important for better communication. For instance,

Please take a seat (shit), and focus (fuc# us) on the topic. Pushing (pussing) the hard disk (di-ks) very hard may do some damage.

I think there are various reasons that we were not taught our own langugate correctly.
1. The diversity of student in a class is so huge that it is almost impossible for teachers to teach every student from different cultures and languages. They already learn to speak at home with different accents, whose parents speak non-nepali language, like newari, maithili, etc. Now, when in a school with high diversity, students actually learn from thier friends.

2. Not much effort is made in school to teach the difference between स, श and ष. Not many people recognize following characters in nepali. Some of these have been extinct.

Posted on 06-20-09 2:05 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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The first baby step in learning a language should be learning the letters of the alphabet and then correct grammar. Then comes phonetics, which I bet most schools in Nepal rarely teach their pupils. I was lucky to have a dedicated English teacher who held free weekend sessions to cover this aspect of the language. Perhaps, like most schools, my school also did not approve a lesson plan to cover this clearly neglected aspect of a spoken language.
Before that phonetics thing came along, I had this personal experience of the downside of not realizing a correct pronunciation. I used to be an active spelling-bee participant. The pronouncer, who happened to be department head at a local college and held a terminal degree from the UK, asked the participants to spell a word which sounded like "beree". Even after providing us with the meaning of the word from Oxford Advanced Learners' Dictionary, none of us could spell it correctly. In the end, the word turned out to be the little old frequently used word "bury" which we all used to pronouce as 'booree" or " buhree" or something like that.
In the foreign country like UK/USA/Australia, I think one needs to emulate the native speaker when it comes to pronunciation for a few reasons that comes to my mind now. Firstly, if you try that communication can go smoothly between the two counterparties. Secondly, if you pronounce a word correctly, you will less likely to be ridiculed and the counterparty will most likely oblige to what you are trying to get out of him/her. Accent and pronunciation I believe are two entirely different beasts to be tamed. Pronunciation can cover individual words but accent and tones are things you can learn over-time through constant practice with / exposure to / observation of native speakers.
If you are not sure of a word/idiom/expression/phrase/proverb, do not use it for wrong usage or pronunciation might even go as far as  triggering the Third World War.
For example,
Upon being asked during a nice welcome dinner about how the food tasted, an impressed immigrant guest exclaimed "Oh! simply AWFUL". Frown gathered upon every listener's face in the room. Then she realized she had confused one of the words with "AWESOME" but it was too late.

Last edited: 20-Jun-09 02:09 PM

Posted on 06-20-09 3:58 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Its very much exciting and encouraging to learn that lots of native-nepali speakers are aware of the speech-faults we have. At least it gives them and all other serious readers to ponder about our common mistakes.

Ever wondered why  nepalese politicians remain silent or mute spectators in the international arena? They lack self confidence of expressing themselves becuase of the language problems they have. Its discouraging to accept that even vast majority of educated nepalese overlook this error.

Another serious speech mistake we tend to have is the difference between "bha" and "V". Anyone noticed it? like 'very' is spoken as "भेरी" instead of  "वेरी". Ask any nepalese to romanize "भिनाजु" , they'll quickly write 'Vinaju', instead of 'bhinaju'. Moreover "विचार" becomes "बिचार" in our everyday speech which is completely wrong. There are lots of other examples that could be explained here to suggest our language errors, specially spoken discipline. 

I was lucky to get exposure to my mistakes quite early and these days I dont have such problems. But initially when I was learning and practicing it and prompting my friends when they made mistake, they simply ridiculed me saying why you speaking like 'dhoti'. But now I have an edge over all of them who ridiculed me. I am good at pronuncing correctly and clearly, working on accent part but I am sure one fine day I'll acheieve that too. It took helluva years for me to make correct pronunciation a part of my habit. Its never too late. Believe me.


Posted on 06-20-09 8:45 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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"Please take a seat (shit), and focus (fuc# us) on
the topic. Pushing (pussing) the hard disk (di-ks) very hard may do
some damage. " - 11th Dimension

Hahaha...seriously made me laugh so hard...imagining saying that to seniors at work.....

- Chakra

Posted on 06-21-09 1:25 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Sometimes I still got the problem to pronounce BITCH and BEACH.
Posted on 06-21-09 1:21 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I agree with you point on ACCENT and PRONUNCIATION being two different animals. Majority of us seem to confuse bad pronunciation with bad accent and some of us even dare to confuse plain BAD English with Bad Accent. How many of you have heard a guy with  bad English saying his English is different because he learned British English and not American English.

I think the issues are Knowing the English first, then refining the pronunciation and then refining the Accent. I would like to define Accent as a Rhythm of the speaking English.

Although all of those three parts of a language is equally important to be effective communicator in any foreign language, i was always sort of annoyed with why us Nepalese were not taught the proper way of pronouncing the sounds that our language provided. It would have been one thing if our language had not held that sound at all but when it was available it still was not an issue for neither teachers or parents. I was always surprised why we never get to hear any voices, or articles on how we speak our own language.

My recent learnings are follows

Different sound between Reason/Region

Learning how to say Mediterranean. I was speaking it "mediterian" for long time.

I had School/Eskul thing down back in Nepal very young, i used to get bothered by that along with Brajesh/Barjesh, Pravesh/Parvesh,  Problem/Porblem

Nepali Texan,

You may be facing Rashwa Dirga issue with Bitch and Beach, This is how i remember those words, generally speaking a word with two vowels are Dirgha.


Posted on 06-21-09 11:35 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Reason...Region...that is a good one, I'm not sure how accurate I'm but probably close. Reason (more like "Reeson" ) and Region as "Rejan". It makes more sense when we say it.

I had forgotten how we screw up these words too:

Beer (the most imprtant to us :-)) Vs Bear. It sounds riduculious to say "I saw a BEER" You can get away but it is just a matter of whether you want to say it the right way.

Suit Vs Shoot

Beach has longer "ee" compared to bitch to make it sound more clear. I can make the distinction in the sound.

Posted on 06-22-09 8:58 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Bob Marley,

The difference between Reason and Region was Raswa and Dirgha, Region is Rashwa and Reason is Dirgha. Reason = Reejan, and Region = Rijan.

We had to change the Region Code ( Geographical Area ) for one of our process and i was presenting the case.

When i said " the reason we need to change the Region Code is....and when i said " the reason we need to change is....all i got is a blank confused look from my users....thats when my Gore co worker jumped in and started pronouncing the words Reason and Region himself. Then later on i asked another Pakistani worker on the difference..and even though i think he has stronger accent than mine he was able to differentiate between the two.

To = To Rashwa

Too = Too Dirgha
Two = Tu ( You actually say the word U after T) I wish i could type in Nepali, that could have been handy right now


Posted on 06-22-09 11:26 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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To add to sidster, I think in addtion to the raswa and dhirga, there is one more difference between 'Reason' and 'Region'. That is the pronouncition of  "". reason = reezan and region =rijan. There should be difference between 'zone' and 'jone'. Both are not the same 'ज'.This can't be explained in written for as I said earlier, but it has high importnce in the texture of our speech.

As raswa and dhirga within 'i' and 'ee', we also have stress problem in 'u' and 'oo'. like 'food', its not short food, it has to be fooood, longer stress on oooo, if you know what I mean.

Posted on 06-22-09 6:42 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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she sells sea-shell by the sea-shore....
say this sentence correctly and as quickly as apssible.. it you give u some drill for /s/ and /sh/...

how do u pronounce word Church...? Listen and compare it how it is pronounced at

differenciate between 'piss' and 'peace'; bitch and beach;

please add more examples..

Posted on 06-22-09 7:09 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I am also facing the same problem, i also can't figure out the difference between S and Sh and J and Z , pahile pahile newar harule ट र त अनि ड र द ko difference na tahapauda khub jiskauthe ahile lagcha how naive i was bhanera. Yo hamro pronounciation chai jati gare pani jadaina jasto lagcha malai.

Posted on 06-22-09 7:34 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Also many of us Nepalese pronounce GOT same as GUT. Once in Nepal I pronounced GOD as /gŏd/ the way it should be and there was a guy who was M.A. in English, insulted me in front of everybody blaming me that I speak like a dhoti does. 

For those of us who are unaware of correct pronunciation of GOD, ROCK, POT, DOLLAR etc, Please follow the link and correct yourself.

Also we Nepalese pronounce COLOR same as CALLER,

                                 HEART same as HURT

                                 SHOT same as SHUT and SHIRT  and so on.







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