Accents

There’s a group in FB that I have joined about my hometown. It’s a “If you grew up in XXX you remember…” group. Most of the time I read the original post and skip all comments. But recently there was a post about accents. The original poster finds it strange that people say she has an accent, which she doesn’t think she has one at all. And now there is over 40 comments about accents and whether or not those of us from our hometown actually have one or not.

On one level, I get what they are saying. Those of us from the west coast of Oregon don’t have a strong accent. At least not one where you can immediately identify someone from, like say Texas, New York, Australia or Scotland. And if you are talking to people who have grown up and lived mostly in the same area, they aren’t going to hear any sort of accent because they are talking the exact same way as you are. But come on, people! Everyone has an accent!

I’ve tried to think what sort of accent people from around my hometown have, but I don’t think I can explain it. When I asked Mr Siili if I still have an accent and what my hometown accent is like, he couldn’t give me an answer either. He just said that I use more localized idioms and expressions, especially after talking to my family (who still live there). I know that I don’t completely talk like my hometown area anymore, but I am still easily identifiable as American, except when I speak Finnish and then I have been mistaken for an Estonian (many times*).

These days, when I do go home to visit, some people tell me I have an accent and that I talk differently. Mostly that is because I try to sound different (by using British words instead of the American version) so that they will have something to “find” in me that has changed or is different.  But in all honesty, I do say some things quite differently these days.

What does your accent sound like?

*It has to do with my Finnish being decent, but definitely not native.

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2 thoughts on “Accents

  1. Growing up on the West Coast myself, I’ve had the debate too. My hometown doesn’t have a distinct accent, so much as curious regional vocabulary. We say “ya’ll”, which confuses people to no end. Although when I go for a visit, I can tell that I haven’t lived there in a while. I sound different than others there.

    • Yes, “curious regional vocabulary”, I like that! Mr Siili used to tease me to no end about going “acrost” the street. He’s broken me of that word, but I still think of it every time I need to say something to that effect.
      What are some of your hometown’s “curious regional vocabulary”?

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