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Old 07-19-2012, 08:32 PM
Location: PG County, MD
582 posts, read 777,853 times
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You pick up the local accent. My mom lived in Australia for a while and came back sounding Australian.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:15 AM
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,032,804 times
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Originally Posted by Rob702 View Post
Similar to me, I picked up an American accent. But, I am not a native speaker of English, neither are you. Would you start to speak French like a person from Quebec for example if you moved to Montreal or start to speak like a Belgian/Swiss/you name it? Doubtful. Maybe a few words, but that's it.
I suspect my inflections would change and though I might not sound exactly like a Quebecois or Belgian the cadences and intonations of my speech would be changed quite drastically. Simply because you pick up whatever is around you and you become so accustomed to it it becomes natural . We are bound to be influenced by our environment not only physical but linguistic too.

I have found with languages the best way to pick them up is get an ear for the sound of it and that is done by mimicking that sound. Each language has a very specific rhythm and learning it becomes easier if you get atuned to it.

IMO people often make the mistake when learning languages of simply trying to speak the new language as they would their own purely in terms of sounds. They will read Italian or Czech as they would English and that does not help. You need to listen to a language as well as speak it. In a way a lot of language learning is mimicking and a little "acting".
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:00 AM
811 posts, read 825,197 times
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My wife has a cousin who moved to Australia with her Australian husband. They actually live in Tasmania.

She grew up in the southern United States, and she had a very thick accent. A country drawl and all. After she moved to Australia, it took about two years before she started having a hybrid accent. Today, about five or so years after moving to Australia, she sounds completely Australian. So, yes, it does happen.

I think that people who are more self conscious of their accent when in a "foreign" locale are more likely to pick up the regional accent due to their being more aware of the way they sound. I think this is particularly true amongst women.

Those who are either 1) over the age of 30, 2) self confident and/or proud of the way they talk, and 3) male are less likely to pick up the accent of new places.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:06 AM
Location: Coastal Georgia
37,155 posts, read 45,704,508 times
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Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
I am French and lived three years in the US and I ended up with an American Accent. Then I moved to the UK and now have a British accent to the point where people actually think I am a Brit. It is a not a conscious thing , I think for some people learning languages is about mimicking whatever your current linguistic surroundings are. A lot of Brits who go to the US end up with a Hybrid , a transatlantic drawl so to speak.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people live somewhere for years and still retain their native accents. So many French people in Oxford still sound like "Inspector Clouseau" after decades of living in the UK and it is the same with all other Nationalities.

It is as though their ears don't pick up the local accent which I find personally baffling. Maybe "catching" the local accent is simply a natural "camouflage" technique for some people, a way to blend in , not a conscious decision but simply what comes as natural. It is for me I think. Also maybe because I never really interact with French people I have lost the peculiar French staccato and cadences.
I was from Mass and then the midwest and now the south, and I quickly picked up some ways of saying things in the place I lived at the moment.
I know what you mean about some people never adapting. I detest a Hispanic accent when I know it is not a recent immigrant speaking. I fail to see why people who were born in this country still speak as if they just got off the boat. I suppose this happens when cultural groups live with others like themselves instead of in the mainstream.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:28 AM
Location: NC/IL/MI
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I see this more common with children. I knew a girl from East Africa who had a THICK accent. It only took her about three months over the summer and she had a typical AAVE accent.

Some people might never change though. I've met some new yorkers in North Carlina who have been here for a real long time but still sound like there from Brooklyn.

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Old 07-22-2012, 11:47 AM
Location: Indiana
48 posts, read 59,060 times
Reputation: 47
Accents vary from region to region within any country of significant size
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:54 AM
Location: Between Heaven And Hell.
11,240 posts, read 7,520,189 times
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Fair dinkum mate.
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