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I ask the question in the comment to JuliaP's answer to this post. Thanks to Andy's kind reminder, I would post it here as a separate question to discuss about.

My impression is that non-native speakers tend to pick up mixed accents (and usages) very easily without knowing it. I for one constantly find myself speaking in British intonation with American pronunciations. And some of the top interpreters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs speak in confused accents, too.

I don't think mixed accent would be a deal breaker as long as it's understandable. But if we were to discuss it to the trivialities, should candidates consider the factor of accent when weighing their options abroad?

asked 19 Mar '16, 12:50

EliChang's gravatar image


Hi EliChang,

I don't think it is too much of a problem with accents, as long as you are not mixing an accent from the US deep south with a UK northern accent every other word, and as long as you articulate clearly! We have so many different accents in both countries, that a mid-Atlantic version is not unheard of.

What could be a big problem, however, is mixed usage. As I said in the post you mentioned, you really do have to choose between UK and US usage, grammar and vocabulary. To repeat the example, one meeting I interpreted lost half an hour in circular discussions because the person who wrote the document being discussed used the word "pavement" with no explanation.

So if you choose the UK variant of English, choose a school in the UK, and vice versa. We really are two countries divided by a common language (was that Twain or Churchill? ;-P ) and it would be confusing for your audience.

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answered 19 Mar '16, 20:04

JuliaP's gravatar image


What you said has never occurred to me before (Never have I thought that there would be such a huge difference between the two variants)!.

(20 Mar '16, 00:06) EliChang

I agree with Julia. Consistency is important. As Julia says, it affects not just the vocab items we regularly hear about (sidewalk/pavement; pants/trousers etc) and pronunciation but there are also more subtle differences, like how you say numbers and dates (very important in interpreting) or how you use conditional and past tenses. Using US or UK English is your choice and neither is better than the other, but don't mix and match!

(20 Mar '16, 09:30) Andy
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question asked: 19 Mar '16, 12:50

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