People who learn English by hearing (rather than by reading) make certain characteristic, (and often funny,) mistakes. One wrote “from don to dusk”, probably intending to say ‘from dawn to dusk.’ Another quoted the American national anthem as saying “Jose can you see by the donserly light …” The actual words, of course are: ‘Oh say, can you see by the dawn’s early light …’ Yet another example is “for all intensive purposes”, which is a phonic corruption of ‘for all intents and purposes’.
Interestingly, people who say “by the donserly light” sound less foreign than those who think of it as ‘by the dawn’s early light.’ Perhaps the key to accent reduction is less articulation of individual words and syllables. Another key is the ‘schwa’ which replaces all un-accentuated vowels with a short sound somewhere between a, e, and o. Interestingly, people who speak English with heavy accents completely lose that accent when they sing. The reason is that while singing they are not trapped by the way words are written.
English provides ample opportunities to mess up for both native and non-native speakers. George W. Bush famously complained that people “misunderestimated” him. He was clearly wrong – they elected him as their president … twice.
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