Broken English

I stumbled upon the Speech Accent Archive, a collection of several hundred persons reading the same English paragraph. Each person has a speech recording with phonetic transcription and notes on their pronounciation differences from standard US English.

My reaction to hearing the recordings was that the speakers in general spoke quite understandable English. My experiences with non-native English speakers from around the world suggests that the recorded speakers may not be entirely representative of their region. Of course, one can presume that the speakers are not quite randomly selected, but that there might be some degree of self-selection for people speaking relatively good English involved. Then of course, the speakers were presumably aided by the given text in that they didn't have to spend effort on generating grammatically correct sentences in addition to pronouncing the words correctly. On the other hand, sometimes it is clear that the speakers are struggling with just reading the text, being in a foreign alphabet and all, and this of course affects the speech rhythm in a specific way. Otherwise it would be interesting to note the differences in prosody in addition to the differences in pronounciation.

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