Discover more from Adastra Speech - Thinking About Speaking
Mix of Accents - What's Your Story?
I recently answered a question on Quora that asked, "What is the weirdest mix of accents you have heard from someone?" My answer is below and I'd like to hear from you.
As a speech coach who specializes in foreign-accented English, hearing an interesting mix that I can’t identify is something I really enjoy. I would never call it a “weird mix” because there’s no right and wrong or normal and weird lines to draw between accents. I love how accents tell different parts of a person’s life story. People that have parents that speak different languages or the family moved around a lot are probably the most complex and difficult to identify.
One person I remember in particular had one parent from Russia, one from France, grew up in Spain, then lived and worked in London before moving to the US. When I meet someone for the first time for a consultation, I don’t ask them where they are from right away because I want to listen without putting their speech into any category. That keeps me more open to noticing just what I’m hearing and not what I expect to hear. For that person I just described, I could hear influences from pieces of all her family’s languages and where she had lived and I waited as long as I could before I had to ask to find out the story.
Another one that stands out in my memory is the interesting mix of Portuguese and a US-Wisconsin accent from someone who was from Brazil but had lived in Wisconsin. I had never heard those two mixed together before and it totally threw me off.
Sometimes you can hear the influence of the accent the English teacher had such as a French person who learned English (in France) from a teacher from Ireland.
Now I'd like to hear from you about your own mix of languages and accents you have in your speech. You don't have to reveal your identity or your personal story unless you want to. I would just like to hear from more people about their unique influences on their speech.