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Your native language: have you lost a regional accent?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Orreaga, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Orreaga

    Orreaga Senior Member

    New Mexico
    USA; English
    I'd like to have an idea how common it is for people to lose the regional accent they grew up speaking, especially those who still live in the region where they acquired the accent, in whatever language. If so, to what do you attribute the change? Do you see it as an affectation?

    In the US, some people become self-conscious of a strong regional accent at a certain time in their lives, they may notice that it isn't spoken on national TV, or may go to university in another region and lose their accent in favor of a more "standard" American accent. Some Southerners I know can switch back and forth, they'll switch to a standard accent when speaking to non-Southerners, and then switch to their original accent when speaking to Southerners.

    I grew up with a fairly strong accent from my native New York City area, but "lost" it (without consciously trying) sometime in adolescence. I can't even imitate one very well, and am sometimes sorry that I can't talk that way again with New Yorkers.
     
  2. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    In Arabic I can confidently say no, I haven't lost my accent. However, I grew up in London (from 2 to 12 years of age) when I learnt English with a very strong and clear London accent (not cockney). Since I left my contact with English has been based on movies (mostly American, sometimes Australian and British) and what we learned at school (since no one was a native speaker, there generally was a very strong Arabic/Middle Eastern accent).

    Now I'm in Dubai where I meet people of different background. Native English speakers generally tell me that I still have a British accent but it doesn't specifically sound London. I suppose I lost it, and I'm also sorry that I have lost it. What interests me though is that although I've lived in 4 different Arabic countries with 4 distinctive accents for extended periods of time, I didn't lose my own (Iraqi mixed with a little Palestinian - not pure Iraqi).
     
  3. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Why don't you try to read Labov's great work about Lower East Side accent - the book with a big apple :))) on the cover called "The Social Stratification of English in New York" (you'll get it at any university library I'd guess). Very interesting findings about the prestige attached to the New York accent.

    As for loosing accents, this is more likely to occur if there are pronounced attitudes towards certain accent (which certainly seems to be the case concerning New York accent and, I would guess, US Southerners accent too).

    Me, I am a native speaker of Austrian German and grew up in a region where the dialect is the main means of all spoken communication, and I did live for 6 years in Graz and for 8 years in Vienna, both towns where it would be not accepted speaking my local dialect as in both towns they would have a very hard time understanding me.

    My adaption was as follows: I still speak my 'mother dialect' with friends and family from the region where I grew up. In Vienna, however, I have adopted a mixture of my dialect with the local city dialect (mainly phonetic adaptions plus omittance of words not understood in Vienna): with this I get by very well, most of the times.

    [Inspired by your posting I've now read the English Wikipedia article on New York dialect - though quite short it's an interesting read.]
     
  4. confusion

    confusion Senior Member

    Province of Trento
    Italy - Italian
    In my village people use to speak dialect; every village has a particular one, sometime they are quite different even if there are just few kilometres between the villages. I speak dialect only sometimes, because I don't know it very well. I do have a little accent: people coming from Trento city can tell that I come from a valley. Anyway I lost at least in part my native accent because the university I attend lies in Trento. And I know it's pretty easy to me to acquire a new accent (in my language, different thing for English!), since it has happened that I stayed with people coming from - for example - Bologna and I "switch" to their accent very quickly.
    Different from accent is the "problem" of the pronunciation of words: for example here in Trentino we say "perchè" (which means "why"), but we should say "perché", how it is said in the most part of Italian regions, I think. :)
     
  5. Orpington Senior Member

    Spain
    UK- English
    I used to have a strong Geordie accent (Newcastle upon Tyne), but I went to high school in the next town, where people speak in quite a posh accent. I now speak in a sort of mixture of the two.

    I tend to switch accents depending on who I'm talking to, without even realizing. Also, there are certain words that come out in a very strong Geordie accent, such as pure, which i pronounce pyua with the stress on the a.
     
  6. alexacohen

    alexacohen Senior Member

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain
    When I moved from Granada (South of Spain) to Santiago de Compostela (North) no one could understand the way I spoke. I had to repeat what I said two or three times till whoever it was I was speaking to understood me.
    So yes, I lost my original accent out of sheer necessity, but I did not acquire any other; I have a kind of neutral accent, but I pick up the accent of the people around me.
    However, whenever I return, even for a few days, to my native city, I recover my original accent.
    I don't realize what I do: it's the people around me the ones who have noticed, and have told me.
     
  7. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    In my experience children can lose/change their native accent if they move to another region/area when they are still young and they attend school with other kids who have a different accent, but once they have grown older people can hardly lose their accent.
    That's why it's so easy to single out folks coming from a different region even if they moved many years before and the harder they try to monkey the "new" accent, the easier is to identify them as "foreigners" especially when they venture on speaking dialects.
     
  8. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    I do not agree completely, Paulfromitaly: of course there's a tendency to not losing accent any more when you're grown up.

    But it depends: some people can keep accents seperate (more or less) and use them according to situation (that's what I do), others cannot quite manage that and only ever use one accent in any period of their life but adapt quickly (and unconsciously) to a new region even already in their adult life (I've got a sister and a niece who belong to this type) and others cannot adopt at all very well in their adult life and stick to their accent, neutralized to such a degree that they're understood well where they did move to (here in Austria I notice that especially immigrants from Germany stick to their accent, I know one person who came to Vienna from Germany's north and lived here most of her adult life, over 20 years, and still speaks her Ruhrdeutsch, whereas her children did adapt very well to the local accent and dialect).
     
  9. Janey UK

    Janey UK Senior Member

    Norfolk, England
    Native speaker of British English
    I was born and raised in a working-class area of Birmingham, in the English West-Midlands, where there is a very strong regional accent (called "Brummie"). I left Birmingham to go to University in Norwich at the age of 18, and have lived in Norwich ever since (24 years) and I've lost my regional accent almost entirely (without intending to do so)...to the extent that I couldn't mimic it now even if I wanted to.

    However, I haven't replaced my "Brummie" with a Norwich accent...my speech is now "neutral"...neither posh, regional nor working-class...which sometimes I think is rather a pity...
     
  10. Orreaga

    Orreaga Senior Member

    New Mexico
    USA; English
    Thanks, sokol, for the reading suggestions (I will have a look at Labov) and to all for describing your particular experiences with accent or dialect loss, or ability to switch from one to another at will.

    Interesting, Janey UK, that I share the experience with you of not being able to mimic my original accent, and the feeling of disappointment that this generates. The older I get, the more I enjoy hearing different accents in English and other languages I have exposure to, and the more I feel that some accents are becoming endangered as the media and globalization seem to have a homogenizing effect.
     
  11. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    Well, maybe there's a difference between German and Italian :)
    What I can tell you is that, even though I'm in my thirties, I can hardly recall of a single adult (it's different for children) coming from Southern Italy who lost their accent. It takes no more then 5 seconds to understand they weren't born and bred up North and a little more to figure out from what region they come from.
    It's true that some people do want to keep their original accent as a distinguishing mark whereas some others would rather try to blend in with the locals. The latter might be able to make themselves out to be locals to foreign ears, but not to native ears.
    It'd be exactly the same thing if I moved south of course: they would single me out in few seconds.
    There are people who consciously or unconsciously tone their original accent down of course, I can do the same when I want to speak with a more standard Italian accent.
    That's a completely different kettle of fish, however.
     
  12. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    I haven't lived in Mexico City since 1986.
    However:
    When Spanish-speaking people meet me nowdays one of the first things that they ask me is, "from which part of Mexico City are you?"

    Go figure.
     
  13. San Senior Member

    Spanish
    You haven't said what do you think a regional accent is, so it is difficult to answer your question that way. If we are talking about accents from little villages or valleys, which sometimes consist in a very particular intonation, different from the one found in the next valley, I suppose it is posible to lose it, although never easy.

    But, I think it is different when talking about big regions with millions of inhabitants and a very characteristic regional accent. In this case it is much harder to lose it, first of all because very often, what categorises you as a speaker of that region it is not only pronunciation, but also some grammatical features as well as syntax and loads of vocabulary. You cannot expect to leave all this behind overnight when most people cannot do it in their lifetime.

    Secondly and more important, the more strong and healthy a regional accent is, the more likely it is to have developed a high register, one which from the outside is seen as softened and far easier to understand, but still clearly noticeable. I suppose you are not mistaking that for losing an accent, are you?

    The way I see it, losing an accent means picking another one, what I wouldn't say it is common at all for adults in my experience. For example, you have mentioned TV, I grew up without hearing my accent in TV or the radio, ever, and it didn't change anything, neither for me nor for anyone I've ever known. But I just belong to the second spanish generation grown up watching TV, we don't know what will happen in the future. Anyway, for one reason or another the thing is that I never losed my Andalusian Spanish accent entirely, not even when I lived in other Spanish speaking areas for years. So I've always sounded at least as a Southern, and Andalusian for people aware of languages and accents.
     
  14. Orreaga

    Orreaga Senior Member

    New Mexico
    USA; English
    Thanks for your input, there are obviously more variables to consider than I indicated with my simple question. By "accent" I mean those speech characteristics (whatever they are) by which others can identify you as coming from a particular region. "Losing and accent" to me means taking on a "neutral" accent, not another regional accent. There may be no such thing as a "neutral accent" in many countries, which is also useful to know, only "prestige" accents or dialects, as with London, Paris, Florence, and perhaps Madrid. For instance, even before I moved away from the New York City area, people would say, "You don't sound like a New Yorker" when I told them where I lived. I'd just say, "Not all New Yorkers talk that way". There is a version of US English used in broadcasting (although not all broadcasters use it) which to me represents the most "standard" or "neutral" North American accent, although it may just be a Southern California accent. But I think when most people hear it, they cannot identify it with any particular region.
     
  15. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)

    No major differences, no - but I think Italy is more comparable to Germany (for size and differencies between north and south); within Austria, though there are remarkably different dialect and accent regions, the linguistic difference between these regions is not so huge as it is in Italy (or Germany, for that matter).
    Well, so I'll speak for me - born and raised in rural Upper Austria, went to university in Graz (lived there over 6 years), and now living in Vienna (since 8 years), and keeping the accents more or less apart:

    - in Graz of course everyone knew at once, when I arrived, that I was neither born in the city nor raised anywhere in Styria, but with time I learned to adopt a somewhat 'local' sounding dialect for use in Graz only: certainly I was still noticeably neither Graz nor Styrian raised, but I didn't stick out very much either, the accent adopted for Graz was a mixture between 'neutral Austrian dialect' (as far as one could say that this exists at all) and Styrian dialect

    - in Vienna, nowadays, it's very much the same; basically I've just adopted the 'Graz variety' for use in Vienna

    - and when back in Upper Austria I still try and speak my 'mother dialect' with as little accent as possible; nevertheless, sometimes interference takes place (and usually this causes some humoristic remarks from my friends); but for the most part I manage to keep my Upper Austrian accent (to a degree that no one not knowing me would guess that I'm no longer living there)

    As for my sister and niece for some time in their lives living elsewhere and adopting to the accent of the area where they did live quite quickly, this really did happen.
    But the structural difference between mother dialect and dialect of the region in both cases was rather small, so there was no necessity for huge adaptions. It would be more like (for example - the example might not be very well chosen, I'll let you decide on that one ;-) someone from a village some 50 km away from Milano moving to Milano and adopting the city dialect (and simultanuously abandoning the own dialect).
     
  16. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I was born, grew up, did all my studies (including universities) in the same place in Hungary for 27 years. The region (so not only my town) has a very distinct dialect and accent to go with it. I learnt both to use and to drop it in the same place. I learnt not to use it at university.
    Although the students from others parts of Hungary claimed it was a nice accent and wanted to learn it, our teachers tried to put through the message that if you are well educated, you are not supposed to speak with an accent.
    So I use it now only when I feel relaxed and automatically switch over to a neutral ("proper Hungarian") accent when speaking for "work reasons" for instance...

    I do not think that it is affectation because it does not "sound" it, it does not have such motivations behind it, etc. The aim was not to pick up a "fashionable"/"in" accent, just to "speak properly". (If I had replaced my accent with that of our capital, it would be a different matter altogether... :) That sounds affected to me! No offense meant to those with a "pesti" accent, though.:))
     
  17. Orreaga

    Orreaga Senior Member

    New Mexico
    USA; English
    Nagyon érdekes, Zsanna! Since I'm interested in things Hungarian, I wonder where you are from, is it Szeged? That's the only place I know of with a distinctive accent (I think it might be called "szögödi" because of the pronunciation of "e"), although a friend of mine in Budapest says you can't really hear accents anymore in Hungary, it's becoming very homogenized, or maybe people just don't speak to him with their particular accents. ;)
     
  18. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    Well interesting question, in my case it's a quite diferent and a little funny-weird; I was born in Mexico City but my grandma was born in a little town near of Cuernavaca, Tehuixtla; The accent almost in all Morelos state is the same, and since I was a child i went there for my vacations in summer and in x-mas I bgan to get used to the accent, Now when I arrive to my town or even to whatever town in Morelos I start to speak as they do even with the regionalism and with a perfect accent, my friends who join my there for holydays find it funny how I can change so fast my accent some of them think that I'm joking but NO!!! Really I can't manage that.
     
  19. PABLO DE SOTO Senior Member

    Spain Spanish
    I have lost some of my regional accent but it has not been on purpose. I would say I have lost it unconsciously after many years living in another region but when I am back in my hometown , my original accent, almost immediately comes to me with no effort.
    If I had always lived in my hometown, I would have not changed my accent.
    In the region where I was born ( Canary Islands) people are very proud of their accent and those, few, who try to speak with a "Madrid accent" (acento peninsular) are not held in great esteem.
     
  20. Stiannu

    Stiannu Senior Member

    Torino (Turin), Italy
    Italy, Italian
    I agree with Paulfromitaly's analysis of the situation in Italy: that's why the starting question surprised me a little bit, because in Italy I got used to the fact that, while children can switch more easily and are still undefined in their accent, grownups lose their regional accent very rarely. Maybe it's specific of Italy, and anyway it's more evident for southerners.
    Still, my "situational" attitude with accents looks more like Sokol's: my mother is from the North-West (Torino, where I've always lived), but my father is from the South (Napoli): as a result, I can't speak properly any of the two regional dialects (I try but I sound ridiculous), but I can easily switch from one accent to another when speaking in standard Italian. Also, I have this unexplicable and involuntary attitude of assuming my conversation mate's regional accent after, say, 5 minutes (a very rare attitude in Italy). I guess that living in a mixed-accent family and in a mixed-accent city (Torino is full of southerners and the Piedmontese regional accent has lost importance, while it resists in the countryside) helped in this, but who knows...
     
  21. jinti

    jinti Senior Member

    I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and now I've lived in New York City for 15 years or so.

    When I'm in NY, they say I have a Pennsylvanian accent (well, actually they just laugh at my accent and ask me to say certain words so they can amuse themselves ;)) and when I'm in Pennsylvania, they comment on my NY accent.

    Maybe I speak Pennsyl-Yorkian now?
     
  22. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    I grew up in St Petersburg and Murmansk region, and I speak with Petersburger accent. Mind you, regional differences in Russian aren't as marked as, say, in English or German, and most differences are in lexis rather than grammar or pronunciation. Although I've been living in Moscow for almost 12 years, I still use a lot of words which are common in St Petersburg and aren't used in Moscow. But, as I know their Muscovite equivalents, I can always explain to a Muscovite friend what I mean by povareshka or porebrik, so it's no problem. I could use the Muscovite words, of course, but I simply don't want to do it.:)
     
  23. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Yes, your guess is right, Orreaga! :)
    However, I cannot imagine that you couldn't hear accents anymore even if the tendency is to hide it as much as possible (especially in "official" places).
    I do hear them when I'm back in my hometown... Lucky me! :)

    By the way, "Szögöd" is exclusively used by people who do not know our dialect/accent! :)) (Remember the horrible imitation produced in the 70s series entitled Rózsa Sándor? The entire area was dying of laughter, I wonder whether "Szögöd" came from that "opus" originally...)
     
  24. JazzByChas

    JazzByChas Senior Member

    Well, I am a cultural phenomenon called "an Air Force (Military) brat" which means that my father was in the military, and as a result, I have lived in many parts of the United States and in England. I don't really know what my first dialect was, although since I was living in the South at that time, my mother tells me I spoke with a strong southern accent at the time.

    I spent the most time growing up in the southwest, so I developed a mid-western/southwestern accent.

    Now, I imagine when I am not thinking about it, I talk that way, albeit watered down a bit from living in Washington, DC for many years.

    When I am around people who speak a different dialect/accent, I tend to start speaking like them (after a long enough time)
     
  25. VivaReggaeton88

    VivaReggaeton88 Senior Member

    Santa Ana, Costa Rica / New York, NY
    US/EEUU; English/Inglés
    I am from New York (Long Island) and when I speak to people from the northeast of the US they always know that I'm from Long Island. I also lived in Florida for 2 years and I didn't lose my accent (nor would I want to, considering the way they speak ;)). I am definitely proud of my accent though.
     
  26. Oh yes! and it is my pain! I lost my Devonshire accent at school and as I have practically never met anybody from Devon outside of the UK, I have had no opportunity of "reclaiming" the Westcountry accent...
    All this was helped by the enormous pressure that the multitude of other accents, dialects and foreign languages spoken around me and forcefully pouring into my ears.
     
  27. Lugubert Senior Member

    Göteborg
    Swedish
    When I was a kid, playmates on the west coast understood that I had moved there from the other side. When visiting Stockholm, it was very clear to everybody that I lived on the west coast.

    I can't say that I have had a dialect that I could lose. Nowadays, I can choose which accents and words to add to my neutral language to "reveal" my origin in the west, east -- or south.
     
  28. 0stsee Senior Member

    Indonesian
    In my native language, there's no such thing as a "neutral accent". Just as in German-speaking Switzerland everybody has an accent.

    As to whether I've lost my accent; I doubt it.
    I've never lived in other parts of my country.

    Salam,


    0stsee
     
  29. Well, then the question of the thread does not apply to you obviously:p. We are only talking about people who have moved away from their native places.
     
  30. clipper Senior Member

    Madrid
    England´s english
    I moved from south west England at 19 with a strong "west country" accent to a town close to London where I remained for 13 years.

    On moving to Spain I was quite pleased to be told by many of the language schools which interviewed me for teaching work that my accent was a "desireable" central southern accent, something which I would never have been able to claim to having had I stayed in the west country.

    However as I have now been out of the UK for several years I notice that my original accent is returning to prominence, as if it had only ever been masked over......
     
  31. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Warwick
    UK English
    I love the fantasy that people have a neutral accent. As a northerner I have lost count of southerners who tell me, that unlike me, they don't have an accent. Twaddle!

    Having moved south from a village in the Pennines in the early 80s, my vowels have rounded out a bit but it is still pretty obvious where I am from. What I find interesting is people who move here and decide to purposefully change their accent. This comes across to me as though they are somehow ashamed of where they come from.

    My approach is probably bi dialectal - there are some areas where I would still automatically use dialect (talking to small children, when I am tired or emotional) and others eg doing a formal presentation where I would use more standard forms.

    I come from an area where there aren't that many people, so I rarely hear anyone who speaks the way I do. I get annoyed by people who mimic my accent when it is obvious it isn't theirs. I can't be alone in this - I have met several people in London who feel the same way I do - to the extent that we have accused the other of taking the mickey out of our accents only to find we were brought up less than half a dozen miles away from each other.
     

  32. Goodness! Why on earth this longing for a loss of the richness of diversity so often manifested on these forums !:(
     
  33. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Warwick
    UK English
    I don't understand which part of my post suggests I long for less diversity. Can you explain?
     
  34. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I don't know whether I'm alone with it but to me it can indicate that the person has a special charm/attraction if others try to imitate his/her accent.

    I remember I had a little boy (from a totally different part of Hungary) as a private student (when I was a student myself) and within two weeks he started to use the accent I had at the time. His parents were not surprised (as they told me) because we got on so well together. I was surprised because I certainly didn't expect it appear in such a form...:)

    I also remember witnessing a conversation in Germany (Augsburg) and while listening, being totally under the charm of the beautiful sounding German a girl spoke. I decided to pick up my German studies as soon as I got home!
     
  35. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Yes, this is due to the development in the 19th century of a kind of inter-regional accent known as "received pronunciation" (horrible term!), which took root more in the south (or rather south-east) than the north. People who speak with this accent have the illusion that it is "neutral" in comparison with local London, Kentish, Sussex, East Anglian accents. On the other side, many northerners have the illusion that all southerners speak this way!
    The question is: in how many countries do people consider a "neutral" accent possible?
     
  36. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Warwick
    UK English
    My temptation would be to suggest people who have voiceboxes which are computer controlled a la Steven Dawkins, alternatively ones with precious little understanding of linguistics.

    Neutral is, I feel, shorthand for "I have chosen to not speak in lower status way" it implies a comparison with other forms.
     
  37. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Neutral accent, even better: no accent is certainly possible in Hungarian.
     
  38. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Well, even computers have accents: astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, because he's disabled by ALS, cannot speak and uses a voice synth controlled by computer to speak for him. But, the contraption itself pronounces the words with an American accent. Hawking, a Brit, would have prefered a different accent, I'm sure.
     
  39. Pedro y La Torre

    Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    Does it? Doesn't sound so to me.
     
  40. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    He's said it before himself, in a couple of his books. I think it does.
    But, what do I know? It could be because any other accent than an American one would stand out for me, no?
    D
     
  41. mirx Senior Member

    Español
    I have been living abroad for the last 2 years. My native language is Spanish, but where I now live is an English-speaking country. Upon my 1st return to my homecountry. My brother immediately commented on my affected accent, and the taxi drivers would continously ask me if I was a foreigner (expecting an affirmative answer so that they could then drive around in circles and charge a higher fare). I also noticed that I would lose my foreing accent when speaking with family and friends after a couple of days. The way I speak to other people in the street has completely changed and I don't see it coming to the way it was.

    It may also have influenced that I work in a customer service position and have to keep a boring, monotonous, flat accent.

    Regards.
     
  42. 0stsee Senior Member

    Indonesian
    I've lived in Germany for many years now, but I don't think my accent changed when I speak Indonesian.
    I sometimes have some trouble finding words, but my accent didn't really change. I do use German instead of Indonesian interjections, though, and my gestures are a bit different.

    Salam,


    0stsee
     
  43. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    After 30 years in Italy my accent when I speak English hasn't been influenced at all. As Ostsee says, the problem may be in finding words, but not accent. The change in accent usually comes when you are surrounded by people who speak a variant of your own language, e.g. British living in the USA or Brazilians living in Portugal.
     
  44. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    I don't think a neutral accent actually exists, however people who have taken diction lessons are able to speak with a really mild and almost imperceptible accent (at least in Italian).
     
  45. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungary
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I think it is more the question of reflecting (to a more or less extent) the sound-formation habits in one's environment.
    So it does not depend on whether another language is spoken around somebody or the same with another accent, the point is to what extent (how easily + with what precision) the individual is going to be able to "juggle" (do the toing and froing) between the two different sound formations.
    If he gets used to the "new" sound formation and cannot trace back his way to the old one, he'll speak his own language with a new accent (let it be of the same language or not).

    Oh, and I think we are not exactly the best judges of our own accents but it is also tricky what others say... Some people will say (if not complain) that one has an accent meanwhile others will swear on that you don't have any... We may find that it depends on the day of the week...!:)
     
  46. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Warwick
    UK English
    I wonder to what extent this is about striving to avoid certain characteristics rather than embracing others? Can they keep it up when they are tired or emotional?
     
  47. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    You made a point: I guess they would find it harder to do that when they are stressed or emotional, however if under certain conditions some people can speak without a noticeable accent, it means it's technically possible.
     
  48. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    Daniel Jones, in the Preface to the first edition [1917] of his English Pronouncing Dictionary called his model of pronunciation PSP = Public School Pronunciation. He described it thus "that most usually heard in everyday speech in the families of Southern English persons whose menfolk have been educated at the great public boarding-schools".

    By 1926 he he had abandoned the term PSP in favour of RP = Received Pronunciation.
     
  49. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    Excuse me, folks, but our original topic is lonely and unloved. Thanks for getting back to it and giving it your love and attention.
     
  50. ESustad Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    English - (Minnesota)
    I grew up in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border. I had a strong Minnesota accent (mistaken for Canadian in other parts of the US) until age 20, when I moved to France for two years. In France, I spoke English regularly, although the bulk of the time I spoke French (which I knew at a low fluency when I arrived). During those two years I lost my heavily Canadian accent in French, and also the identifiably Minnesota accent in English. Today, my English sounds vaguely Mid-Atlantic (although Minnesota returns if I've been drinking).
     

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