Offbeat

What English Sounds like to People in other Countries

As a neat little exercise, I have compiled a list of videos to show what English sounds like to people around the world. As English speakers, we have a lot of fun imitating what certain languages sound like to us, such as French, Italian, and Chinese.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JhuOicPFZY[/youtube]

One Great example from Family guy.

Let’s turn the tables and see what other people think we sound like.

1. The best of the best: Adriano Celentano- Prisencolinensinainciusol

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcUi6UEQh00[/youtube]

Italian singer, songwriter, comedian, actor, and tv host Adriano Celentano wrote this amazing in 1972. The video itself is pure eye candy, and the words are what English sounds like to a non-native speaker, and they’re pure gibberish. Celentano has stated that the song is about incommunicability in the modern age, and prisencolinensinainciusol is supposed to stand for “universal love.” Amazing.

2. English as interpreted by a 9-year old Japanese boy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLZhclvLbfI[/youtube]

This is what English sounds like to a little Japanese boy. It sounds like a lot of barking, with “rock and roll” and “English” thrown in there for good measure.

3. English according to a peculiar French dude.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRR_gKFT6ds[/youtube]

This strange French fellow does a surprisingly good imitation of English, along with a few other languages. Kind of interesting.

4. Bulgarian woman attempts Mariah Carey on “Music Idol.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQt-h753jHI[/youtube]

Valentina Hasan attempting Mariah Carey’s “Without You” on the Bulgarian version of American Idol. Ridiculous.

5. Argentine band attempts English.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyqLPRx0GRg[/youtube]

An Argentine band, Masticar, wrote this song in the mid-90s to show how they felt English sounds.

6. A German Quicky.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2GYNMuTpg8[/youtube]

Here is a short clip of a German guy talking in fake English.

7. Russian attempting a Texas Accent.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abn1Ffd9CEY[/youtube]

He also tries to do other languages as well, amusing.

8. Another French person attempting English.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLs6i-2vYpk[/youtube]

This girl sounds like she’s speaking Chinese or something.

9. Large Peruvian sings fake English song.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3bxFuLkT10[/youtube]

This is very, very strange…

10. Argentine girl does a great fake English impression.

Argentine Girl’s impression

You have to go to Youtube to watch this one because embedding was disabled, but it’s well worth the click. One of the better English impressions on Youtube.


Leave a Comment

  1. SherwinRocks says:

    Apparently, all speakers of of English are from Southern USA and shout?!

    • anon says:

      It's just like when we Americans pretend to talk Chinese, i just face palm when people imitate other languages when its to make fun of them resulting in they themselves looking stupid.

  2. Ungod says:

    Amazingly interesting THANK YOU for putting this together! I found the song from Adriano C. so many different flavors of awesome sauce I am trying to find more songs that he has done. That way one of those rare "ahead of the times" moments. Brilliant thank you!

  3. jjtinko says:

    ROTFL, dude thats just too funny!

    Jess
    http://www.private-surfing.be.tc

  4. Leonardo says:

    Check this latin Britney, from the colombian version of X-factor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsZiZVGBjw0#t=43s
    Really funny.

  5. Pierre says:

    Nice content, you might also want to add the singaporean way of speaking english, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48dBnQDxPUw

  6. Nick says:

    Adriano Celentano video ftw. -Native Texan

  7. Katie says:

    I loved the Italian song imitating English because I kept hearing "peas and corn", "peas and corn". The thought of a rock song devoted to vegetables is pretty great.
    I think English does sound quite weird, even as a native speaker, because it contains so many words borrowed from other languages, making it sound kind of random and disjunctive. Of all other languages, I believe Dutch sounds most similar to English…and it sounds pretty weird to a non-Dutch speaker.

  8. zur says:

    dutch. we sound dutch.

    • ing says:

      we do! Dutch is the closest major language to English …

      the first French fellow sounded like he was speaking Norwegian, imo.

  9. Jenn says:

    I have always wondered about this! Very cool

  10. ehmmm says:

    the argentine band is called FUN PEOPLE, the song is MASTICAR

  11. michalp77 says:

    here in poland, there are no problems with speaking english

  12. The-Flea says:

    Here is the official video of the argentinean band, love that song, LOL!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdAB83JjzB8

  13. Jecker says:

    Fake English is totally Simlish! Glad someone else thought the same.

  14. Lelek says:

    How english sounds for Poles (after 0:25):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_4blWBV7ao

  15. LadyVader says:

    This was really cool! I'm probably just a huge nerd, but these videos reminded me of the "Simlish" that characters speak in the Sims games. It's got the English vowel sounds and all, but it's just gibberish.

    I loved the Argentine band, lol.

  16. rosenbaum says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_4blWBV7ao

    This is the simplest way to get proper English pronunciation :).
    The scene comes from Polish comedy called "Miś".

  17. Great post! But I am sorry to say that, although Prisencolinensinanciusol is a great one, you missed the best thing.
    In Italy we all just love a '54 comedy movie, featuring the great actor Alberto Sordi, in which a guy, who has never been in the USA and can't speak a world of English, tries desperately to go to the USA, even during WWII, when the Americans were bombing Rome, where he lived.
    All the movie is just a continous stream of funny impressions of English sounds and of American attitdes.
    Enjoy the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjLNGDx5wgQ

  18. Rob Nelson says:

    Guillaume, I too objected to you being described as a "peculiar" French dudes. First of all, all French dudes are peculiar… ;-)
    and second of all, does *not* winking at the camera make one weird? I did get quite a kick out of the impressions of Cantonese and Japanese. This convinces me that to native English and French speakers, these two Far Eastern languages sound pretty simliar. Not sure if that suprises me or not. Here in America, it's not too easy to see native speakers of other languages (besides Spanish) speak they're native language. Unless, that is, you take a cab ride in New York City! So for Americans, the exposure to languages such as Finnish, Romanian, and Malay is pretty much zero.

  19. burragubba says:

    reminds me of that japanese dude trying to count in english: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLuayBSpiA

  20. seo news says:

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  21. Izanagui says:

    Hello… Here Britney Latina :-) So funny!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsZiZVGBjw0

  22. dsds says:

    Check out this one guys! (czech girl tries to sing a DIDO song)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBqR6LESIJs

  23. j_esau says:

    People… if you like Ken Lee, you must watch the "colombian britney spears", and "the faina shanda" (guess what song is, you'll need the chorus) in YOUTUBE

  24. j_esau says:

    She's colombian… so embarrasing, not all of us speak that way

  25. abbie says:

    Danny Kaye doing French, Italian and German: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhdWXLUsz9Y

  26. lobster says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZf7vddvbvM – the best english impersonation of a song :)))

  27. Zerpa says:

    Here's an Argentinian comedian who does something like that.
    Roberto Quenedi "He sings like shit but he sings like you"

  28. zerpa says:

    Roberto Quenedi "He sings like shit but he sings like you"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOPKMeCeO58

  29. Derek Mann says:

    Actually the funniest thing is that you Americans always say you are talking English which is,of course, a gross error.

  30. Jess says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9oNtDktQNg @ 20 seconds. lol his name is JoKwon

  31. @dorabo says:

    You must watch a brazillian participant of Big Brother singing "We are the world". She made so much sucess that she had to sing it again on the most famous brazillian tv show after that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9SgWwwJlX0

  32. pierogyjim says: (Author)

    dont take it too seriously

  33. deemery says:

    And then there's the great scene in "A Fish Called Wanda" where John Cleese does an 'American Accent….[

  34. Chelmi says:

    Check "It's kiz my life" by Moroccan stand-up comedian Gad Elmaleh

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU5tE46UPCs

  35. DeusExNoctis says:

    Surprised nobody has mentioned this one yet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTlz1BqS8A0

    (Just ignore the sub-titles, the song is pure gibberish. Even as a native English speaker, it took me years to realize that they weren't singing actual words!)

  36. person says:

    thats so weird

  37. Polyglot says:

    whats up with frenchie in video #3? he can speak french perfectly well…english sounds fine but that last one is DEFINATELY NOT romanian,…more like russian mixed in with something else!

  38. Miep says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZXcRqFmFa8

    I don't know if anyone else posted this, but it's a gibberish song made to sound like English.

  39. 6ftHotLook says:

    I don't care what English sounds like to the non speakers. /shrug

  40. Peter says:

    English sounds very different when spoken with an Irish or Scottish accent and even an English accent.

  41. katie says:

    I thought the little Japanese boy was really sweet :)) . Very funny vids!

  42. Ari says:

    No.5 and 6 (The German and Argentine guy) got it; I've got english at school and as i heard that it exactly sounded like the english language :D …maybe it's also because I never really learn my vocabulary^^
    greetings from germany ♥ i love you crazy english people <3

  43. Casterano says:

    British English often sounds like having difficulty taking crap. Or a nasty, usually sarcastic snarl.

  44. meme says:

    This is hilarious, the Prisencolinensinainciusol was great, I felt like I was listening to English but not able to understand the words haha.

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