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Old 11-12-2009, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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Well, you have to put a whole lot of effort and strictly watching your own pronunciation. Immersion into a culture is the best way to lose an accent.

That's what I did in Brazil.

But then if you keep your accent, that's okay too. My parents have been in the US for 40 years(from Tonga) and they still have a noticeable accent. Nobody cares as far as I know.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Both coasts
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I agree, you have to really immerse yourself to the dominant accent-style, and pay attention to the subtleties and practice practice.
It will take time, but it is also because of the influence of the first language that causes a little block.
It is not only sheer enunciation and pronunciation but the intonation too; there are people who speak English with minimal accent but their "intonation" is different that you can tell they're from somewhere else- not like there's anything wrong with this though. "Intonation" is different among English-speaking people around the world too.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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13 is quite old. I know a few people who came to Oz at that age, even younger, and most retain the accent. I myself was not born in Australia, but since I have lived here since I was a mere 1 year old, I have no trace of any accent. Weirdly, though, I had a Singaporean accent until age 5-6, it only became fully Australian perhaps age 8-9, but all the traces are gone.

While my cousin is similar to me, yet there is a faint trace of it in his accent.

Perhaps it will change as you get older, I hear American tends to be easy to pick up.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Houston
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It does vary from person to person, and some people have an easier time adapting to different accents than others. The language you are changing from/to probably also matters, depending how vastly different they are.

In general, based on what I've usually witnessed, heard, and read, the early teens are a cut-off point beyond which it becomes very difficult to fully learn to speak another language like a native, without an accent....no matter how long you live there later. Obviously, there are always exceptions and some people even take training which I guess helps as well. I've known people who have been in the US for 50 years and almost completely gave up their native language, yet they still had slight accents - they were in their early 20s when they came over.

I came over at age 13 and I've completely lost my accent after about 3-4 years, however, my parents still have thick accents and we've lived here for 17 years.

In the end, I really don't think it matters if you have an accent though, as long as everyone can understand you. I don't think most people care at all, and if anything, it is viewed favorably and people think accents (not all) sound sexy, interesting, smart, etc. I sometimes wish I still had a little bit of mine left.
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