If a person with a strong American accent and a person with a strong British accent were to speak a different language, say French, would they have different accents or would they just have a very similiar accent due to having English as their first language? I hope this makes sense.

IIt depends. To my knowledge the better a person is with a given language the less obvious the accent of his native language is. Thus sense British and American accents are different those less skilled with a language would retain much of their native accents and so would sound different, but the more skilled they were the more they would assume the accent of the foreign language and so they would start to sound similar.

I know a French exchange student who speaks Chinese with a French accent if he isn’t thinking about it.



My sister learnt German in the US.
I learnt German in Australia and more in Germany (Frankfurt)
My brother learnt German in Australia and Germany (Bavaria)

I can hear that my German is different to both my brother’s and my sister’s. Germans I know think all three of us have an accent. I think the difference between the German my brother speaks and the German I speak is as much about regional accents/dialects. So even within my own family I can say that your underlying accent comes through.

Speaking to my German friends, the English accent comes through most strongly, but the flavour of English also comes through. Most of them can pick British English from American English. Most of them could tell that I spoke English as a first language, and they knew I wasn’t British, knew I wasn’t American, but couldn’t pick where I was from.

Yes. An american and a british speaking french have distinct accents. Which doesn’t mean that everybody could tell from where someone comes, since noticing there’s a difference doesn’t mean you know if it’s a scottish or an australian accent, for instance. I guess most people here would identify a strong texan accent as american and a BBC-style accent as british, but of course, the difference would be much less obvious than it is for english speakers speaking english together.
Actually, I think it’s much easier for a french speaker to notice the difference between an american and a british person when they are speaking french than when they’re speaking english, which makes sense since everybody is much more “trained” in noticing slight differences in the way his own native language is pronounced.
What I don’t know is if it’s easy for an english speaker (say british) to notice another english speaker’s accent (say, american) when he’s speaking french.

I hope it makes sense…

I studied French in high school, and German in college.

When I was first learning German, I spoke it with a bit of a French accent. Though that only happened when I was reading aloud and saw certain vowel combinations that reminded me of French.

I knew a German speaker who sounded British and a German speaker who sounded American. They both sounded German of course, but there was a difference in their way of speaking that made me think “British” or “American”. The one who sounded American came from a place where they pronounce their 'R’s like Americans, so that might explain it.

Incidentally, the American ‘r’ as it is spoken in ‘Standard’ American English is extremely rare in the world’s languages.