Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "Why would I want to do that?" => Topic started by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 12:25:09 PM

Title: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 12:25:09 PM
My friend and I were at a restaurant (I think her boyfriend was there as well). We had known each other for almost 4 years, and I had been living in FL/the continental States for 4 yeras as well. For some reason it came up in conversation that I wanted to have an American lifestyle.

And then she said, "if you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?". Keep in mind I do have an accent- and although I am very rarely ever misunderstood, people do ask all the time where I am from.

Why would she say something like this? Was it the alcohol talking that brought it out? Was she tired of my wanting an American boyfriend yet having had bad luck? Was she tired of my being single while she had boyfriend after boyfriend and was implying that if I wanted an American guy, I better get rid of my Purple accent and anything Purple- or else I better stick to Purples? That with my Purple accent, nothing else can be seen about me (talents, quirks, good moral values, etc.) other than my lavenderly lavenderness (or at least purply purpleness in general)?

To add insult to injury, the "cultural expectations" incident happened later that week- and yes, the lab manager, who was from USA's mother country DID suggest as well that getting rid of my accent would be a good idea  :'(

What circumstances merit changing a person's accent? Was what she said offensive (and possibly prejudiced), or should she be given a pass?
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Elfqueen13 on September 29, 2009, 12:31:21 PM
It is an unfortunate fact that people sometimes associate having an accent with a lack of intelligence.  The exception does seem to be British accents, which might explain your boss.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: drebay on September 29, 2009, 12:32:21 PM
Accents most times takes eons to lessen.  I would not give her a pass.  Has this person said anything like this before? What is an American accent anyway?  We have so many.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: sisbam on September 29, 2009, 12:35:18 PM
You should change your accent if your occupation merits it (e.g., broadcast journalism, acting, recording automated phone messages). Otherwise, your friend was out of line. If you're interested you can ask her what she meant by her statement at a calm time not involving alcohol; otherwise, take it with a grain of salt.

FWIW, I think Purmerican accents are nice.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: wheeitsme on September 29, 2009, 12:36:11 PM
Ummmm...What's an "American accent"?  There are at least 12 different "southern" accents.  At least 15 different "northern" accents, (yes, I'm making up numbers, but trust me, the statements are true) and 37 other kinds of accents.

Do they want you to sound like you're from Georgia or Virginia?  New Jersey or North Dakota?  San Fernando, California or Brooklyn, New York?

I learned to talk in Texas, France, and England, and I've had folks asking if I was from Chicago.

Nope, grew up most of my life in the San Joaquin valley of California.

...just shake your head and walk away  ;)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: hobish on September 29, 2009, 12:42:37 PM

For that matter, what is an American lifestyle? I can guarantee you that my lifestyle is nowhere near that of my three cousins' out in Minnesota, which is nothing like our cousin's in Arkansas, which is nothing like the cousin's in Southern California. I don't know what Purple is, but is it so far removed that the US is one big conglomerated lifestyle? I am confused ... and i think you may be, as well.

Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 12:43:28 PM
We lived in northern Florida, where the accent is probably closest to a generic Southern accent. She was from the touristy part of the state.

While the generic American accent they use in broadcasting and acting is the Midwestern one, it MAY be an interesting assumption to assume that is what she meant specifically. Maybe she just meant one that made it sound that English was my first language and that I came from somewhere in the USA, regardless of where, as compared to a foreign accent. I am assuming foreign in general rather than Purple, since only about 60-70% of people can tell my accent is Purple, so I cannot assume Purple specifically. She did say once that I spoke French well, but with a Purple accent.

I can sound like a Valley Girl if I wanted to. Apparently the Southern accent has blended with the Purple one, so many people assume nowadays that I am from Scotland or Ireland since I roll my R's.

Still hurts, though. I do not think my accent is ugly- on the contrary, I have been told it is very melodious. People have stated that I pronounce every letter of every syllable in every word. And others notice that I always use proper English and have a very high language level. So why is this one quirk standing out like a sore thumb to some people so much?
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: audrey1962 on September 29, 2009, 12:43:34 PM
As an American I have no idea what she is talking about.

I do not believe speaking with the same accent as the news anchors on CNN is necessary to "live an American lifestyle" (whatever that means!).
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 12:45:04 PM

For that matter, what is an American lifestyle? I can guarantee you that my lifestyle is nowhere near that of my three cousins' out in Minnesota, which is nothing like our cousin's in Arkansas, which is nothing like the cousin's in Southern California. I don't know what Purple is, but is it so far removed that the US is one big conglomerated lifestyle? I am confused ... and i think you may be, as well.



Keep in mind I was only 21, but I meant wanting to live the middle class North American suburban lifestyle and have a career that I enjoyed and the sort. I do not know if this is offensive.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Elfqueen13 on September 29, 2009, 12:48:41 PM

For that matter, what is an American lifestyle? I can guarantee you that my lifestyle is nowhere near that of my three cousins' out in Minnesota, which is nothing like our cousin's in Arkansas, which is nothing like the cousin's in Southern California. I don't know what Purple is, but is it so far removed that the US is one big conglomerated lifestyle? I am confused ... and i think you may be, as well.



Keep in mind I was only 21, but I meant wanting to live the middle class North American suburban lifestyle and have a career that I enjoyed and the sort. I do not know if this is offensive.

It's not offensive, just inaccurate.  The majority of 21-year-old American's don't live like that unless they are still living with their parents.  I blame TV.  :D
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 12:53:24 PM
Well, I wanted it like that in the future. Like when I got to my current age (I'll be 32 this Friday).

And no, my accent has not gotten in the way of it. In fact, in my current job/career/field, it is an ASSET, since there are so many Purple speakers around here, so my knowing the language has been beneficial.

Has not been at every job- the lab, working as a teacher in a district with hardly any Purples- but at my current one it is something that aids me every single day.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Shores on September 29, 2009, 12:54:50 PM
I have to say, that at first reading, I didn't understand the problem. I thought she was making an ironic point that it can be difficult for an immigrant to truly achieve the "American lifestyle" in the yes of society. A sad reflection on the state of the world, but still a truth. I am an immigrant in a country where my American accent makes me stick out. It doesn't matter how well I speak the language, my accent remains and the minute some people (and this is SOME people. Some are just lovely) realize I'm not "REAL Dutch", their opinion of me drops and so does their willingness to help. I've had people tell me (and not in to be mean, just to truthful) that I will always be a bit of an outside to Dutch society and I think that that is true in America too. Someone with an accent will never be considered TRULY American. Of course this is wrong and exactly the attitude we want to change, but I think the perception remains alive in many MANY people's minds.

I could be completely off-base and she may just be a twit. But when I read it, I just though she was giving commentary on people's perceptions: that if you want the "American lifestyle", you have to make people forget you're an immigrant.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Sabbyfrog2 on September 29, 2009, 01:15:45 PM
I have to say, that at first reading, I didn't understand the problem. I thought she was making an ironic point that it can be difficult for an immigrant to truly achieve the "American lifestyle" in the yes of society. A sad reflection on the state of the world, but still a truth. I am an immigrant in a country where my American accent makes me stick out. It doesn't matter how well I speak the language, my accent remains and the minute some people (and this is SOME people. Some are just lovely) realize I'm not "REAL Dutch", their opinion of me drops and so does their willingness to help. I've had people tell me (and not in to be mean, just to truthful) that I will always be a bit of an outside to Dutch society and I think that that is true in America too. Someone with an accent will never be considered TRULY American. Of course this is wrong and exactly the attitude we want to change, but I think the perception remains alive in many MANY people's minds.

I could be completely off-base and she may just be a twit. But when I read it, I just though she was giving commentary on people's perceptions: that if you want the "American lifestyle", you have to make people forget you're an immigrant.

Very well said and I agree. Especially the twit part.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: hobish on September 29, 2009, 01:20:54 PM

For that matter, what is an American lifestyle? I can guarantee you that my lifestyle is nowhere near that of my three cousins' out in Minnesota, which is nothing like our cousin's in Arkansas, which is nothing like the cousin's in Southern California. I don't know what Purple is, but is it so far removed that the US is one big conglomerated lifestyle? I am confused ... and i think you may be, as well.



Keep in mind I was only 21, but I meant wanting to live the middle class North American suburban lifestyle and have a career that I enjoyed and the sort. I do not know if this is offensive.

No no no! Not offensive! I hope i didn't sound like it is ... there just isn't really one "American lifestyle" that applies accross the board.

Unfortunately, what Shores said is true. There are people - not all, but some - who will make snap judgements based on an accent and some accents will get you better treatment than others. It isn't right, but it is a fact. I still think your friend was being a little silly. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: wheeitsme on September 29, 2009, 02:06:31 PM
Now my problem is that since I learned to speak in such radically different places*, I pick up the accent of where ever I am.  I can't help it.  I have to really think about it to make it not happen. 

I'm always worried that in the transition, or after, when people find out that I'm not from "there", they'll be offended...




(Like I mentioned before...between ages 1 and 3, when I was learning to talk, I lived in Texas, France, and England - Why yes, I did have to go to a speech therapist as a child  ;) )
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: hobish on September 29, 2009, 02:10:40 PM

Hey, if people understand you and it helps in your job now you are obviously doing something right.

A neat thing about accents - if you like a place you are more likely to pick up the accent there. Likewise, if you already have an accent and move somewhere you don't like it will take longer to lose your original accent than if you had moved somewhere you want to be.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: ChristiKayAnn on September 29, 2009, 02:55:26 PM
I also want to point out that having a purple accent does not mean that you are not a native born American. About 1/2 the purple children in my afterschool program have purple accents and they are all native born or moved here as infants. They picked up the accent from their families.  The ones who do not have Purple accents are the ones who don't speak purple at home.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Shores on September 29, 2009, 03:05:01 PM
I also want to point out that having a purple accent does not mean that you are not a native born American. About 1/2 the purple children in my afterschool program have purple accents and they are all native born or moved here as infants. They picked up the accent from their families.  The ones who do not have Purple accents are the ones who don't speak purple at home.
Unfortunately, it DOES mean that a great deal of ignorant people will treat you as though you are not and never will be American. Those who do so don't usually care about details, such as, oh actually being born there. :P
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: auntmeegs on September 29, 2009, 06:51:11 PM
I happen to think different accents are interesting and beautiful.  My mom has lived here in the US 3 times as long as she lived in her birth country and her beautiful accent has never lessened - may you never lose yours because it is part of what makes you YOU. 
I think that was a pretty cruddy thing of your friend to say. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Amalthea on September 29, 2009, 07:56:58 PM
That's a ridiculous thing for your friend to say.  I think I would cry if any of my non-American friends moved here and deliberately tried to lose their accents.  Accents are one of those little things that make life more interesting.  :)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 29, 2009, 08:13:06 PM
I also want to point out that having a purple accent does not mean that you are not a native born American. About 1/2 the purple children in my afterschool program have purple accents and they are all native born or moved here as infants. They picked up the accent from their families.  The ones who do not have Purple accents are the ones who don't speak purple at home.


Totally agree. And that goes for the various varieties of Purple as well. Somehow I ended up picking up my father's Grape accent, while my brother and my mother speak with the Lavender accent we were surrounded with.

Quote
may you never lose yours because it is part of what makes you YOU. 
I think that was a pretty cruddy thing of your friend to say.

Too bad it was not just her. Too bad it was also that lab boss holding the "cultural expectations" against me and saying that if I did not fit in, I better go back to Lavenderland. And guys who assume that Purple = hot temper. And customers saying "find me an American/someone who speaks English". It is a part of me- but not the only part of me. It does peeve me when people find out what is behind the accent and forget about anything and everything else about me other than my being Lavender/Purple.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Reika on September 30, 2009, 07:51:35 AM
Working as a customer service rep in a call center, I'd much rather speak with someone who has a cool accent and can speak english intelligently. Sadly I get way too many people who clearly never bothered to learn to work on their communication skills. Think of some of the worst ignorance you hear in tv/movies and triple it.

*hugs Whiterose* All I can say is some people just don't think.


And while I haven't said it, is it okay to tell someone they have a wonderful accent? Because I've had the rare caller who had an accent I couldn't place, but their accent just make their speech incredibly beautiful.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: ShieldMaiden on September 30, 2009, 08:07:31 AM
I happen to think different accents are interesting and beautiful.  My mom has lived here in the US 3 times as long as she lived in her birth country and her beautiful accent has never lessened - may you never lose yours because it is part of what makes you YOU. 
I think that was a pretty cruddy thing of your friend to say. 

POD!

Please don't try to lesson or lose your accent!  Accents are absolutely beautiful and make living in America more interesting.  After all, what is America but a giant melting pot of different people, different cultures, different traditions, different religions, and different accents?  Tell your friend that having a different accent is American  ;D

<---absolutely biased.  I completely love DH's accent and never want it to go away.  I wish that accents were genetic so our children would inherit it.  *sigh*
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: NOVA Lady on September 30, 2009, 08:44:21 AM
Just curious as to why the accent is a "purple" accent to protect the identity of the nationality but the "American" lifestyle and accent are named right out?
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on September 30, 2009, 09:08:59 AM
Because I live in the USA and the situation happened in the USA.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: NOVA Lady on September 30, 2009, 09:22:55 AM
Because I live in the USA and the situation happened in the USA.

Why the need to protect the identity of the country you are from/the accent is from, that is my question.

Also, Americans do not just have 1 life style, we are varied here like in most other countries :)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Lisbeth on September 30, 2009, 09:29:28 AM
I'm an American and don't have an accent.

My parents are from New York, I learned to speak in the Midwest as a toddler, and grew up in Texas barely able to understand (let alone spell) words spoken in local accents like "oilskin" (I got docked on a spelling test in 4th grade for spelling it "allskin" - which was the way my still Midwestern ears heard my very thick Texas-accented teacher say it!)  A cousin of mine who lives in New York and has a New York accent so thick you could cut it with a knife used to tease me about the way I pronounce the word "ball."  I do not say it like "bawl" the way she does.  It just doesn't come naturally.  (Then again, saying "y'all" comes naturally when I'm back in Texas but since moving to NYC, it doesn't come naturally when I'm at home.)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: wordgirl on September 30, 2009, 09:37:12 AM
whiterose, that really bugs me that you heard that in Florida, of all places. We're one of the most culturally diverse states in the nation, and I for one love listening to all the different accents and trying to guess (to myself) where each person is from.

I don't know where you were originally from, but I'm sure your accent is beautiful. (I'm sitting here listening to my boss's North Carolina drawl against my British-educated Lebanese colleague, and they both sound great. I am generally told I don't have an accent - many native Floridians are every bit as generic as Midwesterners - but I have a little Alabama on tap if I need it.)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Michelle Ravel on October 01, 2009, 08:33:50 AM
American accent? Which one?

"American lifestyle"? What on earth does that mean?
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 01, 2009, 11:45:10 AM
This was 10 years ago, but what I meant is that I felt more comfortable living in the USA than in Lavenderland and felt that I clicked more and had more opportunities. That is what I meant by American lifestyle. I do realize now that there is not one American lifestyle, since we are such a large and diverse nation.

Which leads me to believe that if the USA is so diverse in so many ways, there is no reason for people to think that I stick out like a sore thumb- whether due to my accent or whatever.

I taught a computer class in Purple today. There were several nationalities and several accents.

We had been friends for 4 years. I wonder why it came up all of a sudden.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Cherry on October 05, 2009, 04:45:31 PM
That's absurd. Accents are cool to listen to. I love listening to different accents and never get tired of them. They have nothing to do with intelligence or even lifestyle.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: KittyBass on October 05, 2009, 07:34:40 PM
I AM American but I have only spent a total of 18 months there over the past 9 years. People tell me all the time out here that I 'don't sound American' or 'If you're American, why don't you talk like one then?' I'm like 'Uh, what the heck does that mean? This IS my accent, I am American, hence it's an American accent!' However, if DH and I do move back to the US someday I wouldn't want him to 'change' the way he talks to sound more 'American'.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Venus193 on October 05, 2009, 08:18:40 PM
Is your English grammatical?  Are you easy to understand?  If the answers are "yes" to both questions, you're dealing with a xenophobe.

Interestingly I was in a discussion on another forum last year on the subject of accents and someone there was quite adamant that nobody should attempt to speak a foreign language without his native accent.  His reason?  Because it was deceptive and pretentious.

Of course, this was coming from someone who had no desire whatsoever to learn any other language.  A xenophobe.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 05, 2009, 08:30:22 PM
Is your English grammatical?  Are you easy to understand?  If the answers are "yes" to both questions, you're dealing with a xenophobe.



First question- yes, always. In fact, many people have pointed out that I always speak with proper English and pronounce every syllable of every word.

Second question- usually, unless I am speaking too fast. I have had SLP for that and a couple other things. It may or may not have to do with my accent or English not being my first language. The first principal nitpicked me on that- but the second and third one did not. I guess my tongue tries to keep up with my brain, and I end up talking too fast.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: hobish on October 05, 2009, 08:51:57 PM
Is your English grammatical?  Are you easy to understand?  If the answers are "yes" to both questions, you're dealing with a xenophobe.

Interestingly I was in a discussion on another forum last year on the subject of accents and someone there was quite adamant that nobody should attempt to speak a foreign language without his native accent.  His reason?  Because it was deceptive and pretentious.

Of course, this was coming from someone who had no desire whatsoever to learn any other language.  A xenophobe.

If i understand correctly he means that i should speak German with a New Jersey accent, for instance? That doesn't make a lick of sense.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Venus193 on October 05, 2009, 09:11:43 PM
You understood that correctly and I agree.  It makes no sense at all.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: PaintingPastelPrincess on October 05, 2009, 09:14:15 PM
I like accents :)

My theory on the subject is this: If you're moving to a place where the national language is Gibberish, you should learn at least basic Gibberish. It doesn't have to be profound; you don't need to be able to read Shakesphere in Gibberish.  But you should be capable of going to the store and buying your groceries in Gibberish.  (Note: This does not mean you shouldn't be able to speak your native Gobbleygook at home or with friends.  That is wonderful and perfectly acceptable!  You should not talk about Gibberish speakers in Gobbleygook where the Gibberish speakers can hear you.  That is very rude.)

If you are in a specialized career you should learn the appropriate jargon in Gibberish.  If you are working with the public at all, your Gibberish should be good enough to communicate with your client base.  You should be allowed to have slip ups, without fear of being ridiculed.  Native Gibberish speakers make mistakes, too.  And your Gibberish can be accented, lightly or heavily, so long as it is decipherable.

It's okay to go through a learning phase.  Just make sure you are trying to be helpful and communicative, rather than sullen that the Gibberish speaker doesn't automatically know Gobbleygook.

My only other suggestion for "assimilation" (which generally only needs to be minimal anyway) is that if you move somewhere where the dress is more conservative, you are more conservative in public; if you move somewhere less conservative, you should still dress to your level of comfort.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: AmethystAnne on October 06, 2009, 12:23:29 PM
Good luck changing to an 'American' accent. I'd like to know what that is.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, went to school and college there. My kids were born there, and we moved to Kentucky 21 years ago when they were 10, 6, 6, and 5.5 months. We still get looked at by other people and they tell us, "You're not from around here, are you."   ::)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Valentines Mommy on October 06, 2009, 12:37:28 PM
My Papa had a glorious accent and he was an born and raised in the US.  I would give just about anything to hear him speak again.

The person who made that comment was rude.

Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 06, 2009, 12:58:25 PM
The person who made that comment was rude.



One was drunk.

The other one had a stick up a certain cavity and may have been xenophobic.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Jariten on October 07, 2009, 07:46:28 PM
If you're moving to a place where the national language is Gibberish, you should learn at least basic Gibberish.

It's okay to go through a learning phase.  Just make sure you are trying to be helpful and communicative, rather than sullen that the Gibberish speaker doesn't automatically know Gobbleygook.
Completely agree.  The second part is so important, but often seems to get overlooked in discussions about living in a new country and relating to people who are not native speakers.  Getting people to recognize it has become a minor soapbox issue since I returned from Japan.  Living with a new language is hard.  Someone being quiet or not responding to you quite correctly doesn't necessarily mean they didn't understand you -- it may mean they do, but they don't really know how to respond.

For the OP, your friend was ridiculous.  I assure you that I had a pretty "Japanese lifestyle," and I definitely do not speak the local dialect, try as I might.  :P
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 07, 2009, 09:20:08 PM
Quote
For the OP, your friend was ridiculous.  I assure you that I had a pretty "Japanese lifestyle," and I definitely do not speak the local dialect, try as I might.

Now I cannot help but wonder if the alcohol brought out her true feelings. If she was thinking that I was shattering one too many stereotypes by trying too hard to identify as an American and having all kinds of multicultural friends based on interests instead of sticking to identifying as and hanging out with the Lavenders/Purples. OK, so this may be getting into touchy territory, but even my mother admits that I am not (colloquial term for Lavender).
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: sparksals on October 08, 2009, 01:48:26 PM
Born and raised Canadian with Alberta accent now living in the US.  My mom's parents were Scottish immigrants with very thick accents.  Mom, despite being first generation Canadian, has a twinge of Scottish accent when she speaks.  I am constantly asked if I am from Scotland or Ireland when I speak.  I must have a bit of the Scottish dialect that was present in my household. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Mahdoumi on October 20, 2009, 10:46:06 AM
Which American accent is being suggested you mimic?  I suggest you watch every movie starring Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Joe Pesce, and Danny DeVito and go Brooklyn on everyone.   >:D
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 20, 2009, 07:52:52 PM
Which American accent is being suggested you mimic?  I suggest you watch every movie starring Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Joe Pesce, and Danny DeVito and go Brooklyn on everyone.   >:D

As I stated previously, I cannot quite assume that she meant the neutral Midwestern accent that newscasters use. However, I can assume that she meant one of the many accents that suggest a person was born and raised in the USA and that English is his or her first language. Hence a Brooklyn accent could count...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

For real, the kind of accents that people tend to guess the most that I have (especially younger people) would be Irish or Scottish, since I roll my R's quite well. But I have gotten all kinds of esoteric guesses.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: LadyPekoe on October 20, 2009, 08:01:57 PM
I think I must not have a typical American accent (although I'm born and raised in the US) because people are CONSTANTLY asking me where I'm from, even when I'm in home state.  And they always seem disappointed when I answer "Iowa" :)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Mahdoumi on October 20, 2009, 09:14:28 PM
As I stated previously, I cannot quite assume that she meant the neutral Midwestern accent that newscasters use. However, I can assume that she meant one of the many accents that suggest a person was born and raised in the USA and that English is his or her first language. Hence a Brooklyn accent could count...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

For real, the kind of accents that people tend to guess the most that I have (especially younger people) would be Irish or Scottish, since I roll my R's quite well. But I have gotten all kinds of esoteric guesses.

Brooklyn with rolling R's would be very cool, I think!  lol
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: nonesuch4 on October 22, 2009, 08:39:22 AM
I think accents are fascinating to listen to.  This summer I waited on some young women whose native tongue was Verdigris.  But when they spoke English, it was with an undeniable Maine accent. 

And I've had a co-worker who said she and her best buddy, while in high school, spent hours with a reel to reel tape recorder trying to rid themselves of the same.  They had decided their lives would take them out into a big, diverse world. They didn't want the first thing a new acquaintance said to them to be, "Oh.  You're from Maine."
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 22, 2009, 11:48:21 AM
I think accents are fascinating to listen to.  This summer I waited on some young women whose native tongue was Verdigris.  But when they spoke English, it was with an undeniable Maine accent. 

And I've had a co-worker who said she and her best buddy, while in high school, spent hours with a reel to reel tape recorder trying to rid themselves of the same.  They had decided their lives would take them out into a big, diverse world. They didn't want the first thing a new acquaintance said to them to be, "Oh.  You're from Maine."

You see, since I have such an accent that makes it undeniable that English is not my first language, people ask me where I am from. I try to beandip with saying I moved to Guavatown from the northern part of the state (true), then they keep pestering. Then I have to say I am from Lavenderland. Then they cannot see anything else about me other than the fact that I am from Lavenderland. Sometimes they point out that my accent is not Lavender (and at times that it does not even sound Purple), but then they still typecast/pigeonhole/stereotype. Bye bye hobbies/interests/goals/quirks/talents/qualities- all they can see about me is my hometown and ethnic background.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: sparksals on October 22, 2009, 02:31:04 PM
I don't think people are trying to be offensive when they ask where your accent is from.  I think they are showing interest. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 22, 2009, 06:58:13 PM
Oh I am pretty sure most are. It is a benign question in most cases after all.

It is those few that hold it against me that ruin it for the great humongous majority who think it is cool or neutral.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: sparksals on October 22, 2009, 11:55:50 PM
Ohhh... I didn't understand that from your post.  So people actually judge and hold against you your nationality? 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Sophia on October 23, 2009, 12:09:50 AM
I remember in college watching several people work hard to drop their whatever accent, eventually got a generic newscaster accent, then after about 3 months switched to a thicker accent than the start of school because the accent made them more attractive to the opposite sex.  Don't know what Purple really is, but a vast majority of the accents are attractive to Americans. 

I moved to Texas at 8, I would loooovve a Texas accent.  Nope.  Darn parents and their Minnesota accent. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on October 23, 2009, 08:10:12 AM
Ohhh... I didn't understand that from your post.  So people actually judge and hold against you your nationality? 

Not exactly nationality, since I am an American. But the hometown/ethnic background, yes at times. Most people do not, but there are always those few who ruin the whole experience.

Quote
I remember in college watching several people work hard to drop their whatever accent, eventually got a generic newscaster accent, then after about 3 months switched to a thicker accent than the start of school because the accent made them more attractive to the opposite sex.  Don't know what Purple really is, but a vast majority of the accents are attractive to Americans. 

Some people like mine, some people don't, some are cool with the accent per se but have a problem with what's behind the accent. One guy originally thought it was Russian...and eventually found himself holding my hometown/ethnic background against me, saying he had never met a Lavender woman who had a long fuse  :'( He had a very strong preference for Orange women- he ended up marrying one. I asked him why- and one of the reasons was because he thought they had beautiful accents when they were learning English (now Orange is another broad group, and not all languages in the Orange part of the world are related to each other, but whatever floats his boat). He also said he liked the culture (again, not all Orange cultures are related to each other and it is mainly proximity) and that he found the physical features attractive (there ARE distinctive Orange features, while Purple is a linguistic/cultural umbrella). I was relieved- part of me was afraid that he would bring up an Orange women stereotype that Purple women do not share  :( but I am glad he did not.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Sophia on October 23, 2009, 09:19:59 AM
Years ago I was chatting with my boss at the time.  We only saw each other once a year when we manned a convention booth together.  So, we had lots of time to talk.  He was a great guy, so this came as a shock.  When I told him I wished I had a Texas accent he said, "But then people will think you are dumb".  He might have used uneducated instead of dumb.  I responded it "Only idiots would think that, and having an accent would be a good way of identifying them." 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: CG on October 31, 2009, 10:11:21 AM
Years ago I was chatting with my boss at the time.  We only saw each other once a year when we manned a convention booth together.  So, we had lots of time to talk.  He was a great guy, so this came as a shock.  When I told him I wished I had a Texas accent he said, "But then people will think you are dumb".  He might have used uneducated instead of dumb.  I responded it "Only idiots would think that, and having an accent would be a good way of identifying them." 

My mother and I had this conversation many years ago when I was looking at colleges. Mom was raised in South Dakota, Kansas, and New Mexico. I was born and raised in Texas. I have a Texas accent, drawl and all. I was looking at schools up north, and after telling me I'd freeze to death (I told her I would learn to wear a coat after the first few bouts of hypothermia), she told me they'd make fun of my accent. I told her that some guys LIKE a southern accent. Her reply? "Yeah, but you don't have the southern belle accent. You have the Texas trash one." I didn't seem to have any problems in NJ.

Oh, and by the way - it IS possible to drawl in German. And French. And Russian. It will, however, make your native-Russian-speaking prof look at you like you've just grown another head.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Sophia on October 31, 2009, 12:23:47 PM
He He He.  I am trying to imagine a German drawl and my brain just does a comedy routine.  A precise drawl. 
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: bopper on December 01, 2009, 11:17:46 AM
I am in Germany and there is a guy at our international church who is from Brazil but has a U.S.A Southern Accent mixed with his Brazilian Accent...it was so interesting we had to go ask where he got those accents!
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: mannerscount on February 02, 2010, 12:19:16 PM
To answer your question, why would she say this, I can tell you there may be several reasons. However, that does not matter. What should be of consideration is that her statement shows that she has little understanding of the purpose of manners.
Manner are: to make others comfortable in your presence.  I guess either she doesn't know that or doesn't care. Her comment was rude. Partially for what she said and partially because she offered an opinion without being asked.

I think an appropriate response would be "What accent? I don't have an accent. You do."

Eliminate this rude person from your life.

Criticism only counts when it comes from people you respect...and who respect you.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Lady Snowdon on February 12, 2010, 04:10:15 PM
Born and raised in America (Utah and Colorado, to be precise).  My family is at least four generations from immigrant status.  I shouldn't have much of an accent, if any at all.  One of my first jobs in a call center, I had a person accuse me of lying to them about where I was located, because "You sound like one of those *expletive* Indians!", referring to the call center we had in India.  There is no way I had one of the awesome British-flavored accents of our India reps.

Nowadays, when some people learn I live in Minnesota, they're very disappointed to learn that nobody I know talks like the people in "Fargo".

People will believe and say what they want to believe, and that may not have much, if anything, to do with reality.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on February 13, 2010, 10:35:19 AM
Born and raised in America (Utah and Colorado, to be precise).  My family is at least four generations from immigrant status.  I shouldn't have much of an accent, if any at all.  One of my first jobs in a call center, I had a person accuse me of lying to them about where I was located, because "You sound like one of those *expletive* Indians!", referring to the call center we had in India.  There is no way I had one of the awesome British-flavored accents of our India reps.

Nowadays, when some people learn I live in Minnesota, they're very disappointed to learn that nobody I know talks like the people in "Fargo".

People will believe and say what they want to believe, and that may not have much, if anything, to do with reality.

I have asked telemarketers/customer service representatives if they are located in the USA or in India, but that has nothing to do with accent and everything to do with time zone differences and familiarity with location.

And if it were an issue of my not being understood by customers, I would understand. BUT this had nothing to do with business transactions. I do not even think she had THAT much alcohol in her system- guess it only took a bit to bring out her true feelings. Maybe she was just trying to clue by four me by indirectly saying "your accent- or more accurately, what's behind it- is a major turn off to North American/Northern European guys. If you want to marry one of them and to be a true American girl, start sounding as if English were your first language".
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: wyliefool on July 09, 2010, 03:01:40 PM
I know this is kinda old, but I just wanted to say that the way the demographics are going, a Spanish accent will be the 'American' accent in a decade or two. So you may well end up having the last laugh, if your background is what I suspect. And I think some of the hostility you've felt might be the current majority fighting against losing its status.

Slightly OT, but my mom is friends w/ an Italian woman (just got her citizenship), A, and a Chinese girl, B. A taught B some phrases in Italian. The salumeria (Italian grocery) workers were blown away at this Chinese girl speaking Italian w/ a Calabrian accent!  ;D
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on July 10, 2010, 04:28:13 PM
I know this is kinda old, but I just wanted to say that the way the demographics are going, a Spanish accent will be the 'American' accent in a decade or two. So you may well end up having the last laugh, if your background is what I suspect. And I think some of the hostility you've felt might be the current majority fighting against losing its status.

Slightly OT, but my mom is friends w/ an Italian woman (just got her citizenship), A, and a Chinese girl, B. A taught B some phrases in Italian. The salumeria (Italian grocery) workers were blown away at this Chinese girl speaking Italian w/ a Calabrian accent!  ;D

It is a Spanish accent indeed.

Sadly, some people jump several steps ahead of time and reach strange conclusions about it, from "not aware of how things are done in America", to "will always be late and will care more about parties than working" to, of course, "will have a hot temper". Hence my wondering whether the friend thought it would be a turn-off to the kind of men I am attracted to.

Or if I wonder if it simply annoyed her. If she thought it would go away after my being 4 years here. If what bothered her was the accent per se or what was behind it. Or if she simply thought I was trying too hard to be an "american girl" without doing the most important thing to really be one.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: hobish on July 14, 2010, 04:05:58 AM

I'm still stuck on what an American accent might be. Are we all supposed to sound like Elvis or John Wayne or Ice-T?

I'm so curious.

Some of the people in my office have an accent, and sometimes i have to ask them to repeat themselves for me to catch what they're saying. Some of them can't understand an Arkansas accent and some of them are so slow at catching a clipped NYC and Northeastern accent that people have hung up on them.

It really makes me wonder what an American accent sounds like.

Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: magdalena on July 14, 2010, 04:58:14 AM
It is a Spanish accent indeed.

Sadly, some people jump several steps ahead of time and reach strange conclusions about it, from "not aware of how things are done in America", to "will always be late and will care more about parties than working" to, of course, "will have a hot temper". Hence my wondering whether the friend thought it would be a turn-off to the kind of men I am attracted to.

Bolding mine

If she did, then she was quite silly.

As you know, I live in a country that is not my native and where my native language is not spoken. I no longer have a noticeable accent - people will wonder just where I'm from, but many think it's just another area of this country, not abroad.

My friends - and my husband - have admitted to having been a bit sad when I lost my accent, as they all found it endearing and cute. I'm glad I cannot be "recognized" by my accent anymore, but I never had any man ever tell me that my foreign accent was a turn-off. Quite the opposite  >:D

...and mine comes with many stereotypes as well.
I'm supposed to be shy, melancholic and a drunk. Oh, and in many countries people think that I am, by virtue of my nationality, "easy".

You are an "American girl" of course you are. Don't worry too much about a few idiot who might think differently. You are a talented, beautiful and independant woman. And when the right guy comes along, he won't mind your accent at all, I promise you that.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: JonGirl on July 14, 2010, 06:11:59 AM


My sister is Australian and lives in Cleveland, I couldn't imagine her speaking with an American accent.
But I wouldn't hold it against her.  >:D  :)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: NOVA Lady on July 14, 2010, 07:23:50 AM

I'm still stuck on what an American accent might be. Are we all supposed to sound like Elvis or John Wayne or Ice-T?

I'm so curious.





I am still curious as to what an American lifestyle is exactly!
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: whiterose on July 14, 2010, 12:16:27 PM
Most people do tend to like my accent. Or at least tolerate it. She had never said anything negative about it before. Closest would be saying that I spoke French with a Spanish accent. So I wonder if the alcohol was bringing out her true feelings.

I still am amazed at how diverse this country is- both in accents and lifestyles. I do have the life I want for the most part. My accent per se has not gotten in the way of most things. Granted, I did have a mean boss (from another country!) have a problem with it. And there have been the random rude customers. But it has not been an issue at my job. Has not prevented my making friends otherwise. And my living in the suburbs and having a professional career is certainly not what every.single.American does- just what I wanted back then, still want now, and what I meant.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: aventurine on October 03, 2010, 02:59:28 PM
The best thing I ever heard on this subject, and I can't remember where it comes from, is "Never look down on someone who speaks accented English.  It just means they know more than one language."

Sounds about right to me.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: Everlee on October 03, 2010, 07:54:15 PM
The best thing I ever heard on this subject, and I can't remember where it comes from, is "Never look down on someone who speaks accented English.  It just means they know more than one language."

Sounds about right to me.

Exactly!  My town is big on Chinese and Mexican foods so we have several of each in it.  People around here ALWAYS make fun of the way they speak English.  It's so rude.  I always ask them to speak Chinese in an American accent and see if they think they sound silly.
Then they realize that they can only speak one language.

I heard a joke once about his.
What do you call someone who can speak three languages?
Trilingual.
What do you call someone who can speak two languages?
Bilingual.
What do you call someone who can speak one language?
American.
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: kareng57 on October 03, 2010, 08:10:52 PM
The best thing I ever heard on this subject, and I can't remember where it comes from, is "Never look down on someone who speaks accented English.  It just means they know more than one language."

Sounds about right to me.


That's exactly what I told my kids.  "Anyone who speaks English with an accent knows at least one language more than you".

That shut them up pretty quickly....
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: kckgirl on October 03, 2010, 08:48:28 PM
What do you call someone who can speak one language?
American.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  ;)
Title: Re: "If you want an American lifestyle, how about getting an American accent?"
Post by: M-theory on October 03, 2010, 08:48:46 PM
What do you call someone who can speak one language?
American.

What a charming generalization.