American English for Jordanians – 1

I don’t know how good English is taught in private schools in Jordan but if you studied English in public schools and you are planning to come to the United States then this post is definitely for you. Why you may ask. Because most probably your English teachers taught you what is known as Jordanian British English; it is neither British English nor it is an American English.

I was shocked to learn that even my English alphabets were pronounced wrong. I found it very frustrating when sometimes Americans didn’t understand me. My first reaction was those ignorant Americans, they don’t even want to make an effort to understand me. Do I really have to repeat my Subway order four times before I point to the picture so the Subway employee knows that I want a “Chicken Breast Sandwich” not “shiken breeest sandwitsh”. I hated when people ask me what I do because I could not understand why Americans do not know what a “bee utch d” program is. For the record it is PhD, pronounced “pe ach de”.

Wait till you learn that even if you pronounced the word correctly (you may think) it may not be enough for the other party to understand you thanks to word stress and syllables. Try asking the waitress or waiter for “WooTar”. With my thick Jordanian accent the “T” sounds like an Arabic alphabet (“طاء”) which is not even close to any American English alphabet since the “t” in the middle of the word is called flap “t” that sounds more as a “d” than a “t”, go figure.

more to come…


14 thoughts on “American English for Jordanians – 1

  1. hehehehe! I have a friend studying there and he came a couple of weeks ago! Yesterday he told me that when he speaks in Jordan they think he is from USA (he is not he is Jordanian but has been there for 5 years)! He was so frustrated! So you people who live in America are neither Americans nor Arabians anymore =)

    I think they should start teaching speaking in schools as soon as possible!

  2. Jad, Than you.
    Haitham, I know where your friend’s frustration came from. For people who lived for years in a non-Arabic speaking country I am sure one or more words will slip out of their mouth every now and then and when they do that some people think that person is trying to show off.

  3. looooooooooool … its an important issue indeed 😀
    i was in a private school which focus on languages so we used to take literature , translation classes , etc but u know what when u go there and communicate with them u feel strange !! they can know directly that u r Arab !! thats what i feel and what i saw LOOOOOL .. they have 2 stare for a while lesh ma b3raf !!!

  4. Marwa, tell me about it. I used not to understand the staring but it turned out it is for a reason. While Americans listen to a person they don’t fully comprehend his/her language they try to process what they hear in their mind meanwhile they maintain an eye contact since for American it is rude not to maintain an eye contact, different culture.

  5. loool
    know what , u must watch heap of New York dude movies, then u will get a great accent my bro is 5 years younger he is 16 years old , mom an dad always punish him coz of hours he spend watchin’ (MBC’s), but u know what, he got 5 prizes just because of his accent, and after participating in 5 competitions in the public schools!!and he says .. “Warer” instead of Wa6er 😀 lol, I set and learn from him kaman
    Good luck for you and nice blog, it’s my first visit sure it won’t be the last

  6. eNAS, it is unbelievable how difficult it is to pronounce “water” I guess maybe your brother is pronouncing it the American way. I am glad you liked my blog. Thank you.

  7. On a side note, people in the U.S. don’t say “alphabets” – they say “letters.” In other words, your letters are pronounced wrong/incorrectly – not your alphabets.

    1. Loved this post! I’m sure you’ve come a long way since being here!

      We say alphabet for the whole group of 26 letters (a through z).

      Thanks for sharing this!

      1. Yes, luckily my English improved a lot now 🙂
        Although, we study English back home but unfortunately we usually don’t learn the correct pronunciation of words.

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