- I’m indeed a ‘native’ English speaker
- I’m certainly from North America (yes the Canadian prairies count!)
- I’m quite happily in my 40s so the right ‘age’ (more or less)
However… I don’t exactly have what you would call a typical ‘Canadian’ accent any more. Truth be told after a decade plus in India, it has more than just a tinge of an Indian lilt.
Apparently I succeeded in reclaiming my ‘home and native land’ accent. We were able to ‘nail’ the recording in only 5 takes – including options for the client to consider.
Now I’m not a professional at doing voice recordings, so it was an amusing experience however it did prompt me to think about how our accents adapt to our environment.
My partner is an actor, so learning how to shift character, voice, accent and just about everything is his job. And he’s a master at it. He recently finished an Indo-Australian film based on the story of an Anglo-Indian who lived in Australia for 20+ years coming back to India hoping to marry an Anglo-Indian woman in Chennai…
I’ve seen him spend hours absorbing the rhythm of an accent, practicing to reproduce the right sounds – in this case still Indian but also coloured by decades in Australia. While the film has yet to be officially released, in a preview, several Australians involved in the project remarked on how accurately he managed to capture the right blended accent.
In Winnipeg, my parent’s neighbours (and dear friends for 30 years) have an interesting background. The wife is originally from Mumbai (Sindhi) and her husband is from Newfoundland. Anyone familiar with a ‘Newfie’ accent knows its distinctive nuances. As for the wife, after 40+ years in Canada she has adapted to her style of speaking and accent melded into a predominantly Canadian one.
What amuses my family to no end is that when we get together, that familiar sing-song lilt of an Indian accent, the shift in pronouncing Ds and Rs just happens. She can’t help it and neither can I. We have India in common… and our accents reflect this when we speak – especially when we get animated about something.
For my part, I’m aware my accent unconsciously shifts. When I’m around people with a more international or North American accent, it will naturally gravitate to a stronger Canadian accent. However back in India or even here in Indonesia with my Indonesian colleagues, it firmly reflects the flavour of my adopted home India. Some think its ‘cute’ and some that it is ‘affected.’ It is tough to consciously control.
Anyone else have a blended accent that shifts with your environment?