Sounds of English to Non-Speakers

I’ve always wondered what English sounds like to someone who doesn’t speak English.  Language, after all, is just a collection of organized sounds…so what sounds stick out most from English?

Compared to Spanish, American English is a much more nasal and flat language.  Several people in Barcelona have already told me that they understand British English much better because [a] it is less nasal and [b] British English is what is taught in Spanish schools.

I found two youtube videos that interestingly present how American English appears.

The first is a short-film, Skwerl, a romantic short featuring an American couple.  It’s quite interesting because some words that are easily recognized come out clearly, while others are just sound.  Just as an American will probably be able to pick out familiar Spanish words like “quiero” or “casa” or “me gusta” or “blanco,” a non-English speaker can pick out words like “lost,” “her,” “good,” “nation,” or (as you will see in the short) “fucking asshole.” If you’re just interested in the fake English, it starts around 0:40.

The second clip is a little more wacky.  A parody made by an Italian TV Show, it is a music video sung entirely in gibberish that sounds like American English to an Italian.  “Prisecolinensinenciousol. Oll Raight!”

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