I spent 10 minutes talking to a colleague from Spain today, and now people at the Mexican restaurant think I’m from Spain. I unwittingly imitate the accent of whomever I spoke to in the morning. It gets really weird when I get together with a guy from Kentucky before work. And even weirder when I speak to my husband before leaving for work. Then I spend the whole day with a heavy Russian accent in all of my languages and the Kentuckian friend is powerless to change it.

2 thoughts on “Accents

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that. I didn’t know I did it until my first French teacher in college (from Belgium) asked me where I had studied because I spoke with “very little accent.” I was unintentionally copying hers.


  2. I try so hard not to do this when speaking English, but mostly fail. I once called a Khmer friend on the phone to tell her something exciting, and when she answered, I shouted her name… and she mistook me for her mother. Because I had picked up her mother’s inflection while hanging around her house (blushes).

    I don’t know if it’s a plus or a minus, but these days, I only do it unconsciously with accents I was exposed to when I was younger. Like, before age 26 or so. We moved three hours away from my hometown this summer, and the accent here, while you’d easily peg it as “southern”, is very different from the “southern” accent of my hometown, and even when I’m trying, I can’t quite get the hang of it.


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