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Topic: Accent on the accent  (Read 2266 times)

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Accent on the accent
« on: May 17, 2002, 12:48:09 AM »
If you have children or even if you're thinking of having children one thing you will encounter at some stage is "The Accent Dilemma".

Now, when we moved here our kids spoke little English as we had lived in Holland. My youngest spoke none and my oldest with a very thick Dutch accent. Within three months they were fluent in English, but the issue of accents is an issue to this day. At home they hear it spoken with an American accent, but at school it's a whole different story. Like any child they want to fit in. Anything that draws attention to their differences is something to be quickly disposed of. Children will deal with this in different ways. My son speaks to his friends in a suedo cockney, which I find very irritating, but I understand. At home he speaks with an American accent. My daughter speaks with a gentler accent far closer to the queen's own English, though cockney will creep in. This carries over to the home as well.

The question is what to do with this? In my opinion there's no point in fighting the fact that they are developing and English accent. If they were to move back to the US at time with their English accents they would be fawned over. After all most Americans are anglophiles. To me the difficulty is in teaching them how to pronounce things correctly. By this I mean pronouncing the T at the end of words. Not pronouncing TH as F, and such gems. The trick is to make your children understand that while dropping Ts and replacing F for TH is sloppy and will make them sound uneducated, others who participate in this form of speech are not to be judged. Boy is this a trick after all you are judging those who speak this way. Not sure what the answer is.


Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2002, 02:01:59 AM »
It's not just you.  All my friends hate their kids talking with the  fake cockney accent-mockney or its proper name is estuary english.  When our oldest started secondary school she came home talking like that and it drove my husband NUTS.  He couldn't stop himself from correcting her-which of course made her do it more.  But it seems to have toned down now-or  she probably just doesn't do it when she's home.  They all want to sound like their friends.  
It's funny, but when we go home they switch to an American accent. It still sounds British to people there but I can hear a definate twang.  And then they lose the American accent almost as they step off the plane.  


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2002, 10:12:10 PM »
I actually remeber my mother trying to keep me from using a NY accent. That was easy enough and I never did pick one up. Funny thing is she's originally from the South but I don't ever remember her speaking with a Southern accent.


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2002, 12:27:36 PM »
When my (almost) 14-year-old son comes to visit, he does a mock accent "Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" It gets me laughing. But the girls over here love his American accent, so I don't see him disposing of it anytime soon. I'm hoping he comes to lives with us full time, so this chapter is still being written.

I do notice older folks on TV who have grown up in different countries. I was surprised to hear Gillian Andersen recently interviewed (by Graham Norton)...she grew up in England and when she's here, she explained, she folds back into the English accent, being surrounded by it.

My husband and I run a computer training company. We frequently get students in for a week at a time. I was suprised to discover once, on the last day, that we actually had an American! He moved over here when he was two, but his accent was pure English.

I dunno, I think it would be cool. But the cockney definitely would have to go!
Married to Graham, we run our own open-source computer training company in beautiful Wiltshire out of our 1814 Georgian Regency home (a former lodging house and once featured in Antiques Roadshow)


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2002, 02:01:26 PM »
Funny how kids experience things differently. I have a feeling your son is either REALLY good looking or your just in the right part of england. My son (who is also pretty damn handsome) gets endless hell for his accent. Even when he tries to fit in with a mock-cockney accent they just say he's an American trying to be like them. Poor kid.

I also saw Gillian Andersen on Graham Norton the other night and I have to say I found her accent a bit annoying. To me it's sort of like Madonna who's decided she's English now. Sounds a bit "put on" to me.


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2002, 02:55:15 PM »
My son (almost 14) is a natural ham, and yes, he's quite cute. But in the States he doesn't stand out from the crowd. Here, he does, and in quite "demanding" ways. Last summer I enrolled him in a summer program. I went to pick him up after the first day and the girls were literally all over him. He's always being told "just talk, just say something. oooohhhhhhh" and they melt. One girl he met had to have all her friends meet him.

I guess we just live in an area where there aren't that many American kids. And the residents haven't been tainted by American tourists.  [smiley=laugh.gif]  The school my British stepdaughter went to had an American family's two kids going there and these kids were really popular. (They have since moved.)
Married to Graham, we run our own open-source computer training company in beautiful Wiltshire out of our 1814 Georgian Regency home (a former lodging house and once featured in Antiques Roadshow)


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2002, 03:12:23 PM »
I think it depends on the area, I have an almost 5 year old who now speaks with a British accent. (We've been here 3 years.) I am glad that she does, because I don't want her to be singled out. I've heard a lot of horror stories about the bullying that goes on in schools here in the UK. I make an effort to call things by their British name, such as car park, biscuits, crisps, and so on.

I've noticed the lazy t dropping as well, but it's hard to correct when that's what they here more often than not.  :-/  I don't think there's a lot that can be done.


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2002, 04:47:55 PM »
I am not a parent, so feel a little intimidated about posting on this board  ;), but have to say that everyone has a accent, weather we admit it or not.  Practically everyone I meet thinks I am Irish right off the bat, because of my "accent."  I don't have a Scottish accent yet, but I have picked up the cadence (sp?) of the speech, added to that the fact that most midwesterners don't pronounce their t's properly either.  I am much more likely to say budder, than butter.  

It's sad in Britian that you can still tell a person's class from their accent.  I even find myself comparing accents here in Glasgow, which are very pronounced.  It would never have occured to me to do such a thing in the States.
'Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.' - Emerson


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Re: Accent on the accent
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2002, 04:58:53 PM »
I don't believe for one moment that you're intimidated  ;)

Glad you decide to post here. It helps to get a view of parenting issues from "outsiders". Afterall common sense is common sense.


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