Do I have an accent?
During the years I worked and lived abroad many people told me they couldn’t figure out where I was from. Many said I barely had any accent at all from Canada. How this happened I don’t know, but perhaps growing up so close to the American border (Niagara Falls) neutralized my speech. I always thought accents were charming and added character so I was a bit disappointed in my lack of one. I Suppose I would have made a great voice actress but it never really occurred to me until this moment and now it’s perhaps too late…read on my friend.
Fast forward to 2012 and I’m afraid I have acquired that dreaded ESL (english as a second language) accent that I thought quite odd when I first moved to Italy. Every teacher I met spoke with a strange lilt and I found it a bit odd and annoying. Why is she talking to me like I’m retarded? I know I have hearing issues but this is ridiculous. And so went the commentary with little cartoon bubbles looming above my head.
But now, I completely understand!
Maybe I should demonstrate for you. Red. Yeah, Red. ESL teacher: RE…..ddde. Somehow we draw our words out to emphasize the pronunciation and start to take on this form of speech in everything we say. When you are a language teacher you must speak slowly and clearly. But for some reason the speed in which I speak English with my friends is still rapid but I now pronounce all my words funny.
Who knew that moving to Italy would finally give me some sort of accent! Too bad it’s not even remotely sexy. But, if I can just get those hand gestures down and show a LOT MORE CLEAVAGE, maybe there’s still hope for me yet.
Ciao mia caro! Just call me Lia Maria amore, kiss, kiss!