Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Heard a Slavic accent in a youtube ad, from a person with a Slavic name but a god knows which (well, Google knows — Swedish) surname, and got myself wondering, not for the first time, what are the phonetic markers of a Slavic accent in an English-language speech, even when a person can articulate their /θ/s and /ŋ/s.

Here's a representative example of the guy's speech, from two years ago. No way to find the ad that I saw:

The guy, as Google confirms, is originally from Belarus, which he left at the age of nine and continued his education in Sweden.

Out of the signs that I can recognize it is primarily his consonants, specifically that he still retains the opposition between the soft and the hard consonants: a very hard /t/ in "it is", an excessively palatalized /t'/ in "seventeen", a strongly palatalized /s'/ in "see", a hard unaspirated /k/ in "bitcoin" and so on. I have a feeling that his intonation as a whole is a much stronger marker, but I have no formal way of thinking about it and describing it.

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