Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Accentuation Transformation

*Looks at the blog alert for Keith.. can't believe that he's writing about Americ@n Id0l.. will read that AFTER i've watched the show*

After answering the A to Z Meme, I started to think about my accent.
I had wanted to elaborate my answer to that question, but I noticed that most people answered briefly and I always had this tendency to ramble on, so I decided not to..
Anyways, I wanna tell you about my accent, which could also be put under 'Unsual Talents'.

I have this weird tendency to mimick the way another person is talking to me.
Sometimes I can't help it and I am always afraid if the other person would think that I'm making fun of them and get offended by it.
In my mother tongue (read: Bahasa Malaysia), often times I have found that when I am with people who speak mostly the Kelantanese dialect, my accent/dialect would automatically change to Kelantanese. If I'm with a person who speaks Kedah-an, I'll defenitely say 'ayag' and not 'ayer'. When I'm with people from Trengganu.. well, you get the picture.
I don't know why I do that. Perhaps because subconciously my mind wants to make the other person more comfortable in communicating with me, or perhaps I think that they'll understand me better when I 'speak their language'.
The same goes for English. I noticed that when I'm talking to Ilham's teacher, i start sounding like Emma Thompson.. even her intonations..
When I go to the grocery store and talk to the Pakistani guy behind the counter I found myself rolling my Rs and also my head a bit..

So when I went to the U.S. to study, of course I picked up the accent and started saying 'gress' instead of 'gruss' when I'm referring to them green things growing out of the ground. I didnt pick it up straight away of course, it took me about a year. I thought I spoke pretty decent english when I first got there, but there was one time my roomates were playing pranks on one of their male friends who was living in the boy's dorm across ours and Kathy asked me to shout something at him so that he didnt know it was them but Amelia said "No, he'll recognize her accent!". I was like, "huh? I have an accent?".. I never knew I had an accent.

When I came home, some people had trouble understanding my English coz they said it didnt sound so right.
I remember running into a lady who worked in my office at the lobby of our building and I asked her "Are you waiting for someone?" or rather "Arr yew waiding for sum'one?" and she went "Huh?" and I had to change to "Weiting fo sambodi ah??" (Waiting for somebody uh?) before she comprehended and said "Ahh.. yalor!!" (which basically means Yes in Malaysian English).

I found out that after 10 years working for that company, my English had deteriorated and I was speaking just like that woman...

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