29 Feb 2012

Can you understand me?

I thought that it would be remiss of me to let this day, February 29th, pass without blogging. After all, it will be another four years until I can do so again.  So what exactly is there for me to talk about…well, honestly I’m not too sure…I am always reading that the best thing to write about is something you know, and all I know is that I don’t know too much. But that makes for a boring blog so lets talk about accents.

Where are you from? Do you think you have a strong accent? Do people tell you that you do? If you could sound like anyone, w ho would it be? Obviously we are all perfectly happy sounding as completely fabulous as we do as ourselves, we would be us otherwise but if you had to pick? Is there an accent that for one reason or another you find annoying? Are you good at accents?

I was recently given a book on ‘How to talk southern’ from another blogger and friend (who is southern). It is referring to talking with an accent like those from the southern states of America.  Now, I have never been to America(something that will change in April! Only 43 days to go J), but I am a fan of other peoples accents. I have hashed together this little cartoon of two people with my accent having a chat. I don't always sound like this but a lot of the time I do (and i'm not from London, maybe it is because we are quite close and my parents are from there). Please feel free to add in the comments any particular expressions you like to use.

I am one of those people who spends their time worrying that if I talk to someone with a strong accent for too long – I may start talking with an accent, it will be bad and is always a little embarrassing – I think it comes from the need to make yourself understood by whoever you are speaking too. I remember when friends and family visited me in Africathat they noticed I had an accent, I didn’t realise I had it, but it had grown from my need to talk in a manner that would make me understood to my students.  I also think another reason for my fascination is because I have a very generic English accent. The town in which I live was developed as an overspill town for London (so my parents, who were both born in London) moved here along with many other people from other large cities. When I was young everyone had a different accent but now when I hear someone talk I can tell if they are from here.

I guess you could say I have accent envy! I wish I could speak with an accent too but impressions aren’t really my forte. So tonight me and a friend are going to the Cinema to see ‘The Skin I Live In’, have a few cocktails and then practice talking “southern”.

How are you going to spend today? - its your last chance for another 4 years, so make the most of it.


  1. I'm Canadian, so presumably I have a Canadian accent. I can't really tell. I think I sound normal LOL.
    I have a bit of a fetish for a Proper British Accent, and I can't stand the drawling Deep South/Texan accent. I just feel like telling them to talk faster. I intensely dislike people who fake an Indian accent, no problems with actual speakers, I just hate the "thank you, come again" mockery.

  2. Well.... ppl here tell me I have a nice accent. Apparently I sound British on certain things I say. Ppl from home tell me i sound American. LOL!!!! Other than that, I can't do accents. My brother and hubby are great at it though.

  3. I'm from Teesside and I HATE the accent from this area! When I was living there I couldn't really hear the accent but when I moved to London I would cringe if I heard anyone on TV with the Teesside drone! I'm now living in North Yorkshire and I find the accent quite pleasing. My daughter, having lived in London for the first 3 years of her life, with a northern mother and cockney father, now has a rather confused accent! It's not just her accent, but the way in which she says words - with me it's 'bath', with daddy it's 'baarth'!
    I lived in Chicago for a while in my late teens and whilst I didn't pick up an American accent, I too -like you - found I had to change the way I spoke in order to be understood. I got a lot of ribbing from family/friends when I moved back home!
    My favourite UK accent is Scouse - least favourite (excluding Teesside!) Brummy. And I prefer Irish to Scottish or Welsh. Accents - fascinating topic of conversation!

  4. I totally agree with you about the Brummy. I like the Scouse accent too and is one of the few I can partially do.Oddly enough after posting this I went to a pub for lunch (not so odd) but the barmaid sounded English and then Australian and it made you unsure of where she was from. Then into the pub walked an Irishman and a Brummy woman (no joke), when the barmaid served them he asked where she was from and she said she was English but she had just returned from 6 months travelling in Oz. So we are not alone!

  5. I have met people in the past from south east Asia and I agree that when speaking English the accent does sound American, I have always put it down to there being more exposure to American culture there but I may be wrong! I have a friend who us pretty good - I must get her to teach me! lol

  6. I love accents and I once worked in a team which had a girl from Canada, a girl from Bermuda and a man from California. The man definitely sounded american but his accent had faded a lot from living in the UK for 10 years and being married to a Brit. The Canadian, did sound Canadian and it was easier than you would have thought to tell them apart..that and the look on her face when someone asked her if she was Ame.... that's as far as they ever got! lol But the girl from Bermuda was really hard. She initially sounded Canadian, but on somethings more american, and even a little bit Kiwi. I must also say that they were all very nice too.


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