To consider changing my accent?

(47 Posts)
SoThisIsHowYouNameChange Sat 07-Sep-13 15:33:15

This is a bit light hearted. I would like to discuss the issue, but my personal question is mostly hypothetical as I'm not overly worked up about this.

I have lived in the UK for eight years, and still have a completely American accent. I know some people pick up the accent where they live, but I have not at all.

I know some people get elocution lessons to lose a strong regional accent. I was wondering if it would be nice to have a bland, rp accent. I get tired of people asking whereabouts in the States I am from, because it's boring to have that conversation over and over all the time. And, I know that some people have prejudices about Americans.

Would it be utterly ridiculous to try and change my accent?

AgentZigzag Sat 07-Sep-13 15:36:15

I don't think you should, you might be bored of the same old explaining but it's nice people are so interested in where you're from/who you are. Better than talking about the weather?

Are people shitty to you because you're from America?

They'd probably be shitty wherever you were from.

FriedSprout Sat 07-Sep-13 15:39:08

Personally I love American accents, but understand it must be annoying for the never ending comments.
On the other hand you could view it as a good way of breaking the ice and getting to know some nice people. Why be boring and bland grin

IslaValargeone Sat 07-Sep-13 15:40:33

It might be boring for you to have the same conversations about where you are from, but at least they are interested. I would imagine many people would find this quite helpful in some situations to get conversations started and meet new people.
However it wouldn't be ridiculous to try and change your accent if you want to blend in and become more 'anonymous'.

OiVaVoi Sat 07-Sep-13 15:41:55

I know how you feel. I have a slightly 'posh' accent and I really dislike the effect it has on how people perceive me. I would love a regional accent but have never picked up any... However, if I were to deliberately change my accent I think I would feel a bit of a fraud. I feel I should accept it as part of who I am, as should others, and that I should be 'true to myself' - perhaps this applies to you too?

CatsWearingTutus Sat 07-Sep-13 15:46:17

Yes it would be ridiculous. My friend has tried to do this and is failing spectacularly, but I don't have the heart to tel her how incredibly pretentious and false it sounds. Mostly with her it's over pronunciation of the letter t and saying -eh when words end in -y. Very weird-sounding. Plus overuse of the word "lovely". I'm American too so I understand how annoying the questions can be, but I find mostly it's people just curious and trying to be nice so I don't mind it too much.

squoosh Sat 07-Sep-13 15:57:19

I find it weird when people consciously change their accent.

I've lived outside my own country for about ten years now, my accent hasn't changed a jot, I expect it never will.

People ask me where I'm from all the time, it's just one of those daily conversations, doesn't bother me.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Sat 07-Sep-13 16:03:39

Agent, *Are people shitty to you because you're from America?

They'd probably be shitty wherever you were from.*

I really really wish I could agree with you.

Empirically, I know that it's ok to make blanket generalisations and draw negative conclusions about Americans. It happens here all the time. Even here on these supposedly inclusive and liberal boards.

OP, I have lots of friends who are American. I wouldn't change a hair on their heads. In fact, I get the one from Carolina to read stories aloud.

BettyandDon Sat 07-Sep-13 16:08:23

Why do some people's accents change when they move and others don't? Anyone know?

I lived in the US and picked up an accent which I only realised once I came home.

Whenever I got drunk the American accent came back. This continued for about 10yrs.

Now I sound like I come from nowhere.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sat 07-Sep-13 16:10:40

You could pretend to be Canadian?
I'm joking.
People might have prejudice against Americans- sometimes I do. They did re-elect Bush after all. I think I also have blanket prejudices against other groups for similar and I expect plenty of people feel prejudicial towards groups to which I belong- British being one of those groups. BUT I would never extend that type of prejudice to an individual that I meet and assume that they fall within some stupid preconceived idea that exists in my head.
Only an idiot would disregard you because of your accent, your nationality or for that matter, you race, gender, sexuality or any other personal label which doesn't matter. So no, don't change your accent.

FloozeyLoozey Sat 07-Sep-13 16:12:30

I'm a bit of a chameleon. I have a strong Lancashire accent i'm happy to have around locals but will posh it up when I'm in professional situations or elsewhere in the country!

trikken Sat 07-Sep-13 16:15:20

I love American accents. Dont change it. Its part of you.

HorsePetal Sat 07-Sep-13 16:15:56

It's weird isn't it? I come across people all the time who are clearly not English but I don't necessarily have an urge to ask them where they are from.

Yet when I bump into someone with an American accent I am really curious and want to ask them a ton of questions.

No idea why, perhaps there is an affinity there?

I do have one American friend and I could listen to her accent all day if only she had a volume button

OP I think that people probably warm to you but I agree it can be annoying

CatsWearingTutus Sat 07-Sep-13 16:16:40

Guybrush, I emigrated the year Bush was first elected as I didn't want my tax money going into his coffers. Probably the Americans you meet abroad are much more likely to be leftie ones as the right wingers tend to stay in their own country.

CatsWearingTutus Sat 07-Sep-13 16:20:20

Also the Brits elected thatcher twice grin!

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sat 07-Sep-13 16:41:31

Exactly Cats! That was my point!

Saffyz Sat 07-Sep-13 17:00:08

It's unlikely you'd ever completely lose your original accent. I had a friend who tried to change to a different accent but she only got it about 50 per cent correct and it sounded forced and odd.

judybloomers Sat 07-Sep-13 17:20:37

Elected Thatcher three times, unbelievably!

judybloomers Sat 07-Sep-13 17:21:50

And then John Major, which, in its way, is even more embarrassing.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Sat 07-Sep-13 17:45:31

You'll just replace it with the conversation of why you don't have the accent of the country you're from. Trust me <bitter>.

Isabelonatricycle Sat 07-Sep-13 17:56:12

BettyandDon lots of different factors are involved. Very briefly, it is to do with whether or not you have an "ear" for different sounds, and whether you (often subconsciously) want to fit in or not.

Someone who is tone deaf is less likely to be able to change their accent than someone who is not, as they don't hear things in the same way. I have two half American cousins - one constantly sounds mid Atlantic (ie American in the UK, British in the US), the other subconsciously switches so she sounds British here and American there. The one who doesn't change can't hear the difference as well as the one who does change.

Also, even if you are able to change your accent, you don't always do so. I speak without a regional accent, but if I'm in the pub with friends from home I start to pick it up, because it is a subconscious way of fitting in. However, if I think the person I'm speaking with is an utter prat, I'll move my accent away from theirs in an effort to distance myself from them - again subconsciously. I don't make the decision to do it, but I hear myself doing it.

A very general explanation, and this won't cover all examples/reasons.

IslaValargeone Sat 07-Sep-13 17:59:33

I'm terrible at soaking up different accents, I spend two weeks in Cornwall and start bandying 'dreckly' about like I've lived there all my life.

Taz1212 Sat 07-Sep-13 18:01:47

I've been here 23 years and still have an American accent! Though oddly Americans now think I'm Scottish. I guess I'm a bit of both with people hearing the differences not the similarities. It's obviously up to you but I don't mind the "where are you from question" as it's often a great conversation starter and I don't find that much prejudice against Americans these days- it was much worse when Bush Sn was president!

I have an RP accent.

It's still an accent. My point being, you can't escape some sort of assumptions about whatever accent you have. People assume I am posh, rich and right-wing.

You are just as likely to get questions when people find out that you are American but don't have an accent. This is the case for a friend's husband, who is Australian but sounds 100% English.

MamaChubbyLegs Sat 07-Sep-13 18:12:16

It wouldn't be ridiculous, but I think it would be sad. Why would you purposely change your accent to one that's "bland"? Your accent interests people. That is a good thing, surely? It's part of your history and your home. If people are ignorant enough to be prejudiced against you for how you sound, that is their problem, and sad for them. Don't give them the time of day.

Also, changing your accent is a bit like doing an impression of a bland RP accent. Trust me, wait until you need a rant, and the good old american accent rolls out. It will. grin This used to happen to me all the time. Was quite confusing for the "naice" middle/upper class boys I used to date grin

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