I guess I speak with a southern accent, which I grew up with, but I haven’t deliberately tried to retain it; although I lived in the north of England for most of my life after I was eighteen, I never seemed to pick up a northern accent – it wasn’t deliberate, it just didn’t happen. Maybe some of my intonation, some of the words and structures I use have changed, but as far as I can  tell I speak as I always have. My two children were born and brought up in the north – my son speaks as I do, my daughter had a local accent… I have no idea why. Later we moved to the southwest; my son’s accent remained as it always had been, my daughter picked up the local accent from her friends, all traces of her northern speech disappeared… Why? I don’t know! However when she moved to northern Ireland to go to University, although I expected her to come home with an Irish accent, no… she still had her usual way of speaking. She had a year in the USA, did she pick up an American way of speaking? No… apart from picking up some vocabulary, gas for petrol, purse for handbag, sidewalk for path…

My husband… born in London but living in Cornwall from being a baby, moving to Surrey when he was about seven, and then like me, moving north when he was older…. he is like an accent chameleon… when he reminisces about Cornwall he slips into a Cornish accent, talking about our life in Lancashire he has a northern twang, going on holiday to Ireland… yes he has an Irish accent… He doesn’t do it deliberately, it just happens, and in fact he never realised he did it at all until I pointed it out to him! If the phone rings I can often tell who is on the other end… a Liverpool accent, he’s speaking to a cousin who lives there… a London accent, a friend from ‘the great wen’, a Cambridgeshire accent… yes, cousins from east Anglia…  And when he came home from a month in Australia? Yes, he was an Aussie! Definitely an accent chameleon!

3 thoughts on “How do you say it?

  1. It took me years to get rid of my Detroit accent after coming back home to Sault Ste. Marie but there are still traces of it when I sing some of the old Motown songs.

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  2. Sault Ste. Marie has a large Italian community that came here to build the locks and to labor at the steel works. A large French and Finnish presence that worked mainly in the forest and lumber mills and of course us English. When I was a kid delivering papers some of my customers could barely speak English so I used a sort of pidgen slang in order to be understood. Nowadays only the French Canadians speak there mother language at home. I think that we don’t have an accent at all anymore and could be understood anywhere but certain remote areas of rural Cornwall or Devon. When I visited England a few times most people took me for a Yank.When I explained to one smart-ass in a pub that I was a Canadian he asked me where my axe was.

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