Have you ever thought about what language is? It’s really just a bunch of different sounds put together that form some sort of meaning to two speakers of the same set of sounds. Infants with who develop around speakers of different languages have different babbles and woos and waaaahs. Pretty amazing that from abstract sounds we come to share meaning with each other.
When I was in Barcelona, I was interested to know how people who don’t speak English hear it. There was one particular Italian who did it perfectly. I would speak with someone else in English, and while we were having a perfectly normal conversation the Italian would imitate the sounds. The sounds were always very loud and nasally with long vocals. I really hope that’s not how our language sounds to everyone.
But, I’m beginning to see where this Italian’s sounds are coming from! Having been back in the English language for four-or-so days now, it is a very tonal, vocal and nasal language. In fact, imitating these unique sounds is one of the most difficult things for ESL learners.
In case you’ve missed it, here’s a post I did a while back on how English sounds to speakers of other languages. Two producers made different videos in pure fake-English. Quite interesting.