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Not being able to understand someone's accent more than likely indicates that you are of lower intelligence than the person speaking. After all, they can speak more than one language and you can't even understand the only one you've ever bothered to learned.

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@2791391

You make some great points here JD. If I may: you said it is difficult, but you manage. Because, I suspect, you are intelligent and can use your brain to interpret the odd inflections and pronunciations.

Someone who truely "can't" understand them, no matter how hard they try, is probably not as smart as you.

Damn fine point...

I don't believe people are stupid for having a difficult time understanding an accent they're unfamiliar with, especially if the accent is very thick.

@Thedudeyouhatetomeet I don't believe people are stupid for having a difficult time understanding an accent they're unfamiliar with...

I agree. It is work. It is difficult.

People who "can't" are not a smart as people who (with difficulty) "can."

Loool xD Like Bozette said, accent doesn't automatically indicate a second language, but as someone who speaks fluently two languages and understands a little of some others (more so when I'm reading)... if you want to insult me because of my English or the accent I have... por favor, fica à vontade. Mas não te esqueças de aprender Português primeiro. Se não aprendeste, põe-te a andar, que eu tenho mais que fazer com a minha vida.

@Sofia Loool xD Like Bozette said, accent doesn't automatically indicate a second language, but as someone who speaks...

I'm sure your English accent is way nicer on one's ears than mine.
I "sound" a lot better in written form. lol

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@2791430

Thanks Boz.

I have difficulty understanding some in my own family, mainly because they speak too fast. lol I do have trouble understanding some of the British programs on PBS....but I'm a good guesser, so I can usually figure it out. lol

I'm hard of hearing and understood people with accents just fine when I could hear well. There are a lot of us out here with the same problem.

Then you have people in middle America, far from any border of a country with another language. It's not easy to learn a language when you have nobody to speak it with and in such a case, why would you?

Why put people down in such a way Vic?

@JerryHendrickson I'm hard of hearing and understood people with accents just fine when I could hear well. There are a lot of us out...

That's a good points and I didn't see this as a "put down".

Understanding might be difficult but in every case I've encountered a little patience and is all it takes. Being "unable" to understand implies, to me, that the listener is incapable mentally of mustering the linguistic skills required for the task.

Some people just don't want to make that effort, that's on them, but this post is about people who claim they are "unable".

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@2791591

Exactly like that. Yes.

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@2791597

Maybe. I thought it was pretty obvious.

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@2791908

People read what they want to read.

Not being able to follow an accent usually just means that you aren't used to that accent.

It doesn't mean you don't have the ability to learn it, given a sufficient amount of exposure / practice.

@primeiro Not being able to follow an accent usually just means that you aren't used to that accent. It doesn't mean you...

Exactly.

Anyone who says they cannot understand an accent is either lying or of limited mental ability.

@VicZinc Exactly. Anyone who says they cannot understand an accent is either lying or of limited mental ability.

I see what you mean. Claiming it to be outright impossible is a pretty strong claim.

Completely disagree Vic, total 1000% disagree. I have a really hard time understanding some accents like Indian, Irish, Scottish, it has nothing to do with intelligence. I try to keep my speech in English as clean as possible, with enough effort and experience others can too, anyone can achieve mastery over a language with more time. People tell me I have an American accent. You're a smart man usually Vic but this is one of the most foolish things you've said.

@Sunny_the_skeptic Completely disagree Vic, total 1000% disagree. I have a really hard time understanding some accents like Indian...

Sunny, thanks for the feed back.

Again, in my mind there is a gulf between "I have a hard time" (not an intelligence issue) and "I can not do it" (an intelligence issue).

But I respect your opinion on this.

@VicZinc Sunny, thanks for the feed back. Again, in my mind there is a gulf between "I have a hard time" (not an...

I see, it seems if you had worded it a bit differently people might not have reacted so acutely.

Some people just refuse to try to understand.
Does being an ass equate to low intellegence?

@Carla Some people just refuse to try to understand. Does being an ass equate to low intellegence?

Nope.

But if they truly are "not able" to understand it, then there likely is an intelligence issue.

@VicZinc Nope. But if they truly are "not able" to understand it, then there likely is an intelligence issue.

I'd have to agree.
I hope mispelling intelligent isnt a sign of low intelligence:[

A huge part of understanding spoken language depends on inflections and cadence and rhythm.

English is typically iambic. Speaking english in the rhythm of a language which is not iambic (or otherwise tinkering with the inflections/cadence/rhythm we expect from the language) can make the non-native speaker's english less english-ish

@Wunderscore A huge part of understanding spoken language depends on inflections and cadence and rhythm. English is typically...

Being able to adapt and patiently listen to others, to me is a sign of intelligence. Purposely shouting "I can't understand you, why don't you go back to your own country" is not.

@VicZinc Being able to adapt and patiently listen to others, to me is a sign of intelligence. Purposely shouting "I can't...

well yeah, but that's not what your post said. not being able to understand someone isn't a problem. being an asshole about it is

@VicZinc I didn't say it was a problem. I said it indicated a lack of intellectual capabilty.

okay then having difficulty understanding someone's speech isn't necessarily a sign of having a lack of intellectual capacity. purposely shouting 'I can't understand you, why don't you go back to your own country' is a sign of being an asshole

@VicZinc Agreed, having difficulty is not a sign, being unable to is a sign.

Again, I'm going to have to disagree. English, even as a relatively new language, has a rich and complex history that makes different "englishes" unique. For example, a person speaking with the Yorkshire dialect uses words and pronunciation features that are quite different in origin and application than those of American english. Not to the extent that the dialect is no longer English, but it is not an English that many people outside of the area are familiar with, even if the speaker is a (Yorkshire) English native speaker and the listener understands English.

listen to the first 35 seconds or so of this video with your eyes closed so you can't see the subtitles, and please write in your next comment what you think the man Irwin is saying. For reference about 35 seconds into the video is when you should hear the man say "see you!" so you'll know when to stop the video without peeking
YouTube video thumbnail

Speaking a language that is not your first, or speaking a dialect that is a variant different than that of the person with whom you are taking, requires patience and understanding on both sides.

@Wunderscore Again, I'm going to have to disagree. English, even as a relatively new language, has a rich and complex history...

Got it, and not sure what we are disagreeing about. Exactly as you said, it requires patience, if we take our time we CAN understand. If we CAN'T understand than our minds are not sharp enough to work through the process.

Anyone of sufficient intellectual capacity CAN work it out. Not being able to understand it, i.e., being incapable of the level of patience and deduction required to understand, is a sign of lack of intellectual capability.

@Wunderscore can impatient or insensitive people not be intelligent?

Lol yes they can. And if they CAN understand but choose not to they might be.

If they simply cannot, no matter how hard they try, then as I said, it is a sign that they are not as intelligent as someone who speaks multiple languages.

@VicZinc Lol yes they can. And if they CAN understand but choose not to they might be. If they simply cannot, no matter...

The person who learned a second language probably put a bit more work into the learning process than the person having an isolated conversation with them. I don't think that has anything to do with intelligence

@Wunderscore The person who learned a second language probably put a bit more work into the learning process than the person...

OK.

A person who struggles with math might be intelligent. If a person is incapable, despite years of effort, of grasping even the most rudimentary math then that is a sign that they might not be that intellegent.

@VicZinc OK. A person who struggles with math might be intelligent. If a person is incapable, despite years of effort...

so how many people that don't understand non-native speakers' accents or dialects or whatever do you think have spent years studying in that field which they don't understand?

@Wunderscore so how many people that don't understand non-native speakers' accents or dialects or whatever do you think have...

None.

I think most if not all people can understand accents. Some choose not to, and few might not be smart enough to.

@VicZinc None. I think most if not all people can understand accents. Some choose not to, and few might not be smart enough to.

seems like a pretty harsh judgement that's being made without using a whole lot of understanding or empathy

@Wunderscore seems like a pretty harsh judgement that's being made without using a whole lot of understanding or empathy

Really? OK.

Just saying if people are incapable of understanding accents they might not be that intelligent. If that comes across as harsh then I guess it is harsh.

People who say that they can't understand accents either are not trying hard enough or they are not smart enough to understand accents. Harsh, but to me, it is a reasonable conclusions.

@VicZinc Really? OK. Just saying if people are incapable of understanding accents they might not be that intelligent. If...

just seems to me like a harsh conclusion given the limited support.

I don't understand how to write code or bake without a recipe or fix a car even though I use computers and eat and drive daily. I think those lack of skills say something about me but I don't necessarily think that it says that I'm not intelligent

Someone sounds insecure.

Are you having superiority issues again Vic?
Who needs a second language to speak southern???? Ya'll?

@VicZinc Are you saying you are incapable of understanding people from the south?

Readers Digest joke years ago. Military guy from the north calls someplace in the south and tries to talk to a Gomer Pyle type and finally asks for someone who talks English. I have relatives in the south and I would say that they are too lazy to enunciate. I am not a lazy person - ever, but they make a point of being mush mouths.
I've said many times that my friends looks like a meeting of the UN. I have not problem with any of their accents, I quite enjoy them. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

I think you've taken enough flack on this post Vic -
I won't pile on with my own vigorous disagreement.
But I DO understand your point - you know, that you are better than me.
PS - I disagree with that as well.
PPS - Hassling a new member, not showing him the same respect you show others within this same post is also not cool. And to think I had actually supported you privately as a moderator, makes me sad.

@Budwick I think you've taken enough flack on this post Vic - I won't pile on with my own vigorous disagreement. But I DO...

I would like to correct any mistakes I have made. Not sure what you are referring to however. Please help me by providing more information so I can properly apologize to those I have offended.

Thanks

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