yessamaca wrote:Now, about a native English speaker speaking Dutch without any trace of an accent. That is pretty much impossible. A little baby has the potential to make any sound of any language. As the child gets older he will only hear the sounds of his own language being spoken and will lose the ability to make the other sounds. The older the child gets, the less likely it is that he will be able to learn to make some of those other sounds. I have no idea how to even begin to make the Dutch r.
There are three ways of pronouncing the 'r', excluding the "American r" at the end of a word. You can say it by vibrating the tip of the tongue (the easiest way I think), by vibrating the back of the tongue (little harder but still doable) and by partly using the throat (scraping, just like the French do). The last one can be heard in Limburg. I think you should learn the first version since it is most commonly used. Just practice the sound for some time before you start using it in words. I think it is not too hard to master it
yessamaca wrote:My husband started learning English 15-20 years ago. He is fluent in English but still has a noticeable accent. Having an accent isn't a bad thing though...chicks dig accents! My man loves my American sounding g. Although, I haven't figured out if that's sweet or patronizing.
Most Dutch people have this typical accent that you can detect quite easily anywhere on the planet
. My father (60) has a terrible accent though his English is fluent (he works for an American company). I think you are right about the age where you start to learn a language when it comes to accents. I was not raised bilingual, however English was always there, on tv, abroad or at home when my father brought along some of his American colleagues for dinner (which makes me remember my astonishment while watching Americans really enjoy Dutch food like boerenkool
; they always requested it which was unfortunate for me because I hate Dutch cooking
). As a result I am able to imitate an American accent quite well. Americans often think I am from a place called Holland somewhere in the States and they are really surprised when I say I mean Holland in Europe. When the conversation lasts long enough though they usually find out because there are always some words or some sentences that pop up in my mind too slowly
. I think that no matter how well you master a foreign language it never gets as good as your native language. That is also the reason why my future children will start to learn other languages as soon as possible, rather than at the age of say 10 like it is now in Dutch schools. The early brain is so easily trained that to me it is almost a crime when keeping children away from early lessons. If only my parents put me on Chinese lessons when I was a kid...