Video Fix: How English sounds to non-speakers

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Have you ever wondered how your own native language sounds to non-speakers? Five years ago, the English speaking filmmakers Brian Fairbairn and Karl Eccleston asked themselves this exact question and decided to produce a video on this topic. The video shows a young couple having dinner when their conversation takes an unpleasant turn. Even when listening very carefully, one is not able to find out what is upsetting the couple so badly. Fairbairn and Eccleston managed to keep some typical English vowel and consonant patterns, rhythm, word fragments, connecting words, and even some syntax, without, for the most part, using actual English words. Swear words and affirmatives such as ”yeah, sure” are an exception, but these are relatively easy to pick up in any language either way. The script can be found here. The video received massive attention which has been constant over the last five years: over 20.6 million people have already watched it.

Written by Martina Christen
Study visitor at TermCoord

Student in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication

Sources:

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2015/october/1443621600/sam-twyford-moore/passion-projects

https://synkroniciti.com/2013/08/19/faking-english-skwerl-by-brian-fairbairn-and-karl-eccleston/