Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Do You Have an Accent?

I grew up in a house of strong New York accents. My mom has an especially thick accent. It was so much different than the standard American English I heard on TV, or how my teachers and classmates sounded in rural Pennsylvania.

My grandmother, the modern woman, spoke without an accent. She had a perfectly manicured way of speaking. Clear and proper, especially when she used her phone voice. Something in my childhood brain told me that I should sound like that. I trained my ear to recognize accents and I trained my mouth to avoid them.

I became righteous and inwardly judged people for speaking with accents. I would think "How sloppy and uneducated! Why should I listen to your mispronounced words?!". Looking back, I see how foolish I was.

When people speak they are showing you parts of themselves. They are sharing what they think or believe an they are also showing you the places they've been. People show you a map of their life when they speak. My neighbor, a military man, has been stationed all over the US. When he speaks there are y'alls mixed in with his Minnesotan accent.

Accents are beautiful.

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