Funny story. The year was probably 1992; I had invited a friend to spend the weekend at my country house, which didn’t have a phone; because it was a country house! People used to unplug for real in those days… and cell phones were like a big chunk of plastic for business’ people. Therefore: no phone; no cellphone.
Anyways, it was my friend’s nana’s birthday and she was living in another province (like a state) whose people have a very distinctive accent. So, we went to the gas station so she could call her over the one payphone in the area (geez) and she said, “hello nana.” Her nana probably replied, “Hello! I’m so glad you called!” and my friend… just started… “singing.” I shit you not.
The moment she heard her nana, she picked back up the accent she used to have, and to my eyes – to my ears, actually – my friend became a whole other person I didn’t know. I was blown away! Then she hang up the phone, looked at me and said, now with the accent I knew, “Ok, let’s go.”
I mean, this was a severe case of “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” (the accent version) and I believe she saw the horror in my face because she said, “Oh, that always happens to me when I talk to her.”
Now it happens to me… If I leave a voice message over WhatsApp, according to a friend from the US (my BH twin) I sound like her “abuelita;” 🤦🏻♀️ but when we have a chat, I pick up her accent… not quite so perfectly because I left the US two years ago, but I’ll get it back. 💪🏻
So, Why Are We Talking About Accents, “With Jon”?
After Farmhouse Fixer premiered, you may have seen many tweets mentioning Jon’s accent; and yesterday he tweeted about it:
“Let’s talk accents…. dinner tonight w/my friend from South Africa. She still has her accent after living here decades … Then (*) me … moved North of Boston 30 years ago, but feel of all the Nk’s I still have the strongest accent… how do accents evolve?”
I believe the environment – of course – plays a big role on our accent; I grew up in the south of Argentina in an army neighbourhood with people from all over the country; and at school, there were even girls from Chile; thus my accent, was the most weird mix. When I came back to the middle of the country, people couldn’t tell where I was from.
In my twenties I moved to Buenos Aires and once again people couldn’t distinguish my accent; then, I started coming and going to the US…; and now, when I’m in Argentina, I’m just like, “I was called a global citizen once, and I think that’s accurate.”
However, when I’m in the US, I do not want to sound like my friend’s “abuelita” (😠) because I don’t relate to this country, this culture… It’s beautiful and all, but I simply don’t feel I belong here (and OMG I cannot wait to be back in NY). So I do my best to work on my pronunciation; I even ask people to help me with it. Some tell me, “but it’s cute!;” well, I don’t wanna be cute; I wanna belong… for once…😔
What Did the BHs Say?
“It’s not always like this.😉 Some people automatically adapt to the area they’re living, without knowing how it hapened at all. And some keep their original accent no matter how long they live somewhere else!😉 But it’s definitely interesting to see how different everyone is!❤”Dreamer
“Accents are a strange thing. I am German. Me speaking English, most native speakers seam to think, I am Scandinavian. I admit, I am one of those people who are almost proud to not be recognised as German.”Anja
Good; I’m not the only one…
Then Lori and Jess took the conversation to another level:
“I think this is a linguistics question, someone out there has to be one.”Lori
“100% about linguistics when I took this class in college we had townrite where we were from on our exams because how you “say” (where you say a word in your mouth) a word is based strongly on your geography.”Jess
What Do You Think?
I believe we shape who we want to be and how we want people to perceive us. For instance, if you grew up in the south but have been living up north for the past two decades and haven’t lose your accent, I believe it’s because you want people to notice you are from the south, because you love your roots…
On the other hand, if you’ve lost your accent, I think it’s because the new one is the one that makes you feel at home… At the end of the day, I believe, it all comes down to that… holding on to or finally finding our true “Home.”
(*) On his tweet Jon wrote “them” instead of “then”. Later he tweeted, “P.S and why does Twitter not allow you to edit grammar mistakes.🤦🏻♂️”
Comments are open! Let’s write this blog together 😉