Can you spot a fake British accent? Can you spot a real one?

Once back in Belgrade I was talking to a woman married to a Dutch diplomat. I told her that her English was absolutely superb.

She told me that she WAS English.

The point was that as she lived in a 100% Dutch setting, her English had started to ‘slip’ on the very edges. She did not say The book is on the table. Rather it was something like Dhuh book is on dhuh table.

This was an almost imperceptible nuance, yet it made her sound definitely ‘foreign’. No-one born in the UK sounds like that.

We English can distinguish the quite different th sounds in there and thick or moth and with and the: there the thick moth thinks with the mythical thurible. It’s very easy for a foreigner not to get this right 100% of the time when saying it haha.

See also the facts that most English words ending in -s are pronounced Z:






But words ending in the sounds of T, P, F, K, CK, TH are all pronounced S





Accents are horribly subtle.