Does Villani speak English like an Englishman or like a Frenchman?

"Villani told OZY from his office in Paris. “I can recall a cartoon about Donald Duck in the land of mathematics, and I liked this,” he recalls in rapid, thickly accented English."

3 Answers 3


It means two very similar things.

1) a person who isn't a native speaker still has the accent of their native language. In this case the French man is speaking English but you can hear that they are French through how they pronounce words.

2) Someone from the same country has a certain dialect, for instance I'm from the South of England so if I went up to Newcastle they'd think I have a thick southern accent and vice versa.

Hope this helps :)


Based on his Ted talks and given that Villani is a Frenchman, his accent is "french" while he speaks English. So to answer your question, he speaks English like a Frenchman.

And when the text refers to it as "thickly", it means it is very pronounced. Easy to distinguish as coming from Frenchman. Which also makes it harder to understand for English speakers.


Everyone has an accent. An accent = a pronunciation pattern = a speech pattern.
If we speak, we have an accent. A "thick" accent is one whereby the sounds are pronounced in such a non-standard way that most people have difficulty understanding the speaker's message.

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