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 NoTime4Boyz
Joined: 1/19/2013
Msg: 1
copying accentsPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
so just curious on others thoughts/experiences on copying accents. I work with a few people who have strong accents and I caught myself copying their accents when speaking with them. I do have my own accent as I am from the east coast of Canada but have been in Alberta for 16+ years so have also picked up an albertan accent as well, everyone who I speak to says I have a maritimer accent but with a sort of country slang as well. anyways I have never heard anyone mimic my accent. I have however heard a close friend unknowingly copy a korean's accent so at least I know Im not alone on that. So back to my point, do you ever copy accents? have you heard others copy accents? I have heard that this can be a 'symptom' of aspergers but I don't have such. I think it's more of a way of sorta 'relating' to others, perhaps relating might not be the best wording but hopefuly you get what Im trying to say here. sorry this is seeming to drag on. thoughts on the subject......?
 Irish Eyez
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 2
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 7:04:05 PM
I still have my Northern Irish accent and at times, I have people trying to speak like me. They seldom get it right!

I have never, however, heard of it being a 'symptom' of aspergers.

LOL! VV many have tried, many have tried!!
 NoTime4Boyz
Joined: 1/19/2013
Msg: 3
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 7:06:39 PM
Irish Eyez: I would be one of those people trying to speak like you hahaha and getting it wrong :P
 daynadaze
Joined: 2/11/2008
Msg: 4
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copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 7:29:02 PM
I catch myself doing it sometimes and it's embarrassing. I am not doing it on purpose, I'm horrible at doing accents, so it's really silly, it just happens. I'm still mad at Oprah, she repeats what she says...repeats what she says...it drives me nuts, I quit watching her years ago because it bugs me and yet, I picked it up and still do it. I hate it! I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't tell you how stupid I feel when I'm talking to someone with an accent and my mouth makes a total fool of me, I really am not trying to.
 Holly63
Joined: 2/4/2011
Msg: 5
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 7:35:29 PM
This is a delightful topic. Thanks OP.

I live in Australia but born in England. Been here in OZ for 43 years but still have a hint of my English accent.

My Grandparents lived with us and I grew up listening to their broad Northern English accent. (Yorkshire to be precise.) I can mimic that accent very easily and their slang. Love it.

Now, please, I by NO means mean to be rude but I do laugh sometimes when I hear Americans trying to mimic our Aussie accent. "G'day mate". It just doesn't sound right. lol. Too much "twang" and not enough "strine" if you know what I mean.

I wouldn't have a clue how to mimic an Irish accent further than "to be sure, to be sure." :)
 Beckyml27
Joined: 1/12/2013
Msg: 6
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 9:20:14 PM
This is a HUGE thing for me....when I am exposed to other accents I almost always start, to some degree, to pick up other people's accents....doesnt matter what accent, I just do. It can be embarassing when I'm talking with people I don't know. It's not something I do on purpose and I feel like they might think I am making fun of them.

I doubt it would take me long to lose my accent and gain another if I were to move to an area where an accent that was different than mine was prevalant.
 melodyof_k
Joined: 5/2/2012
Msg: 7
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 9:42:32 PM
I am that way too Becky and Dayna..
I pick up on accents unintentionally.
If I tried to copy an accent it wouldnt work. My daughter can purposely copy accents.
but with me...it just happens and its not something I enjoy.
whew...feel better to hear that others do this too.
does anyone know Why this happens to some of us?
 Beckyml27
Joined: 1/12/2013
Msg: 8
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 9:57:53 PM
Good question melody....and I'm glad I'm not the only one too.
 Holly63
Joined: 2/4/2011
Msg: 9
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 10:20:23 PM
I'm wondering if its because some accents appeal to us more than others and therefore we tend to pick it up easily.

On a side note, I find it interesting that there are so many dialects / accents in countries such as America and England. In my experience, especially England, it differs from town to town.

Here in Australia, there's only two really noticable accents. One is what we call Okka ( Steve Irwin - type talk) Our Crocodile hunter ....as in Crikey mate, struth, fairdinkum, etc..........The majority of us don't talk like that. :)
 vnufall
Joined: 3/6/2011
Msg: 10
copying accents
Posted: 4/6/2013 10:29:40 PM
I wish I had an accent, English, Irish or Australian...just sound boring from the midwest....lol.
 Celje
Joined: 6/18/2012
Msg: 11
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 12:26:24 AM
I do a great job disguising my Albertan accent, and i've never owned a cowboy hat.

Some people I know should have been cast member's on Fargo
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 12
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 4:35:04 AM
Although my ex accused me of being autistic (she accused me of everything except federal crimes), I agree with bhawko1. I suspect it's a natural result of trying to get along with people, no different really, from lowering or raising ones voice to whatever level the other person is at.

I do it too, and occasionally have to apologize for seeming to be making fun of someone. I also do try to mimic accents, just for fun, and for personal education (I have ideas about how each accent came into being, which are fun to ponder).

But when I'm doing it accidentally and unknowingly, it feels a little like getting on a carnival ride with someone. This is especially true because of the way that different accents place emphasis on different syllables than others, and the way that different accents have alternate points where the voice rises and falls in tonality as each word is spoken.

One of my brothers invented a little trick thing back in college, as a way to both illustrate something like this physically, and for the silly fun of it.

When he and certain other people wanted to have a brief private conversation in public, they would all start hopping up and down in unison. No one around them could follow what was going on, due to the distracting activity, but anyone who joined into the hopping, immediately discovered that they were all in a world of their own, and had no trouble interacting. Just running out of breath after a while.
 PittsburghVixen
Joined: 12/9/2012
Msg: 13
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 8:01:47 AM
I will start to do a little drawl if I'm around a lot of folks from the southern US, but that's natural for a hillbilly like me

People don't usually copy my accent but there's a helpful site for those who would:
w w w dot pittsburghese dot com

Having lived elsewhere for 25+ years, I can obliterate a lot of it when needed, but it's still apparent that I'm proudly from the Burgh.
 TooShadows
Joined: 9/26/2008
Msg: 14
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 8:37:51 AM
What the Hell does an Alberta accent sound like?

It's curious. I'm Canadian born and raised,lived my whole life within 25 miles of where I was born in Manitoba,and yet people tell me I have an American accent. Not Southern or anything,just American. Complete strangers often ask me what part of the States I was born in.
 shine1274
Joined: 2/12/2013
Msg: 15
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 10:07:14 AM
I have what I call a "contemporary American" accent. It is difficult to tell where I am from. My mother had the Maine accent, my father has the metro "tri-state" NY,NJ, CT accent. When learning to talk, I heard both, and sometimes they even fought with each other on how something was pronounced. I noticed on TV things were more consistent, so I mimicked TV, mainly the news. There are still a few regional identifiers that pop up occasionally. When I say "aunt", I don't say "ant", like a bug. I say it so it rhymes with "want".

It is stuck now and I am not influenced by others, but I do have a good ear for accents and can mimic them if I am around them. Usually it seems to be more tone and how you move your tongue. If you get the movements right, you hardly have to try to sound right. But I can do a decent Maine accent, which is something you never seen done right in movies or TV.
 4ms4me
Joined: 4/24/2010
Msg: 16
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 10:23:11 AM
I've done that, and been surprised as all heck when I heard myself speak. Its not something I can think about and do, it seems to be an unconscious process. I've usually done it when speaking with customers or visitors, so I suspect it has something to do with wanting them to feel comfortable. The people I've done this with haven't seemed to notice, though, perhaps I just sound "normal" to them? Sometimes, too, people have asked me if I came from Britain as they've detected a British accent. I'm third generation Canadian, but my grandmother had a definite accent so perhaps I sometimes mimic her without realizing it.
 vlad dracul
Joined: 4/30/2009
Msg: 17
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 10:55:29 AM
Ah irish

Cue storm clouds over ulster ian paisley type accent or
a soft lilting top of the morning (not that ive ever heard
anyone irish say top of the morning)

Course being scottish i get plenty och aye the noo's and
braw moonlicht nicht the nichts

Working in london we had two scottish kennys. East coast
and west coast. So we asked for kenny ken or by the way kenny
this made life simple.

Working with irish lads was a laugh as there was a lad from strabane
and another from the far west coast. The only words we could make
out were hilti gun. We asked the irish lads and they were as stumped
as we were.

I love accents (except for birmingham a truly atrocious accent) long may
the meddlesome ones be kept from destroying them
 HelenBackAgain
Joined: 1/7/2013
Msg: 18
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 1:13:13 PM
I think most of us pick up accents pretty easily, especially when immersed.

If it happens when you're talking to just one person, though, I'd wonder if maybe you have a talent for picking up languages. Using the ear unconsciously like that seems to me like it might be an indicator of innate ability.

I once spent six weeks in Florida, during my formative years, and returned to New England with a Southern accent, according to those around me. I couldn't even hear it!

Lo these many years later, it still comes out a little on the occasional occasion when I knock back a few...
 aysana
Joined: 10/8/2007
Msg: 19
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 1:37:42 PM
I can pick up accents particularly if the person has a strong one and a distinctive personalty.That means you can recognise the person as well . I am from Shropshire so that accent is pretty hard to place .I can do Brummie , French and Italian English.My hairdresser is Italian who has lived in the UK for 30 years so his English is very Brummie English with an Italian accent and he has a massive personality,so I can copy that. Also Ontario Canadian English as I have friends from there.BC English as I have family here .Its easy to recognise British regional accents for me but difficult to copy them consistantly.
My most favourite accent is the Irish accent and the Texan and Southern (USA) The British accent that I really have problems with is the Scottish accent.I find it most beautiful but really difficult to understand and in my job of work , thats who we deal with the most.Think Lorraine Kelly and multiply by 10 !
 Beckyml27
Joined: 1/12/2013
Msg: 20
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 2:12:48 PM

If it happens when you're talking to just one person, though, I'd wonder if maybe you have a talent for picking up languages. Using the ear unconsciously like that seems to me like it might be an indicator of innate ability.


I guess I would be the wrong person to ask as I've never learned any other languages.
Although I'd love it....I guess maybe I missed my calling?
 Irish Eyez
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 21
copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 2:56:02 PM
Vlad: never an Ian Paisley accent! I am soft spoken and have the Irish lilt and yes, never in Ireland does any true Irish person quip,"Top O' the mornin' to ya." That's an American movie line! ( As you probably well know! )
 Ed Bear
Joined: 5/19/2007
Msg: 22
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copying accents
Posted: 4/7/2013 9:44:51 PM
Indeed a new and interesting topic! I hadn't thought of it since about 1973, when my college sweetheart was an Honors Linguistics student and head of the Linguistics Society back at McGill. (Hey, I got to meet Chomsky!)

One of her colleagues devised a research paper on the subject. She theorized that, as Montrealers were always exposed to different languages and mostly liked to get along (it was a long time ago), we would be more likely to "pick up accents" than others who spent all their time in a mono-accented environment. We held a party at her residence and invited along a British girl, and the researcher and my sweetie slunk around trying to judge how much people adapted their language (in terms of accent - people to make lots of other adjustments in idiom and tone) in conversing with different people. As the residence ladies were from all over, it proved rather difficult, what with all the accents flying around, but it was a fun party. Eventually, everyone was too drunk to care and we all had a fine old time, and I didn't have to drive home because, of course, it was a residence.

It wasn't a very successful study, but we talked a lot about it afterward with the Linguistics crew and other residence denizens, and we mostly concluded that it was both an attempt to "tune in" for maximum comprehension - as people narrow their tonal range and move it upward when speaking on phones - and as an unconscious courtesy. I have never thought about being offended by it since, even when in Texans and having to repeat things for locals having a harder time with fast-talking, clipped-vowel northerners.
ED BEAR
 vlad dracul
Joined: 4/30/2009
Msg: 23
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copying accents
Posted: 4/8/2013 4:34:44 AM
Aw here talking about mastering accents lol
how good is sean connery at accents?

Hunt for red october, the untouchables lol they all
sound the same.

I worked in an american wummins hoose here in edinburgh.
She was a professor of linguistics at edinburgh uni and asked
if i wanted a soda. Its never called soda here in edinburgh. Tis
juice. Then its a bottle of orange, red cola, irn bru or whatever.

In glasgow which is only 40 miles away they ask for a bottle of ginger.
Then its orange, red cola etc.

But she showed me how the linguistics thing works and very
interesting it was.

Regional accents in the uk are many and long may it continue
 HelenBackAgain
Joined: 1/7/2013
Msg: 24
copying accents
Posted: 4/8/2013 8:06:52 AM

I guess I would be the wrong person to ask as I've never learned any other languages.
Although I'd love it....I guess maybe I missed my calling?

It is truly never too late, with that. We're a little slower with it after childhood, is all.

The only problem is, finding opportunities to USE that language! I've lost almost all my Spanish because I just didn't know anyone who spoke it in the Boston area. Now I'm in New Mexico, I could really use it, but I'll have to take a refresher!
 aysana
Joined: 10/8/2007
Msg: 25
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copying accents
Posted: 4/8/2013 12:38:45 PM

I'd wonder if maybe you have a talent for picking up languages. Using the ear unconsciously like that seems to me like it might be an indicator of innate ability.

I think if you speak more than one language ,or of immigrant parents then you tend to have more of a chance of picking up other languages as well.Otherwise you learn quickly as a child.I am bi-lingual and fluent in both plus I can get by in 4 others.My father can speak 4 languages fluently and my mother speaks 2 fluently . I think it makes you more receptive to people of other cultures and languages in the sense of understanding what they are saying even if they are struggling.
I can understand Polish speakers English faster than my friends who only speak the one language,English, themselves.
You are kind of tuned into to different sounds,words and languages.I have a Spanish sister-in-law and Spanish friends so thats another language I am hearing often.I like the sound.Its like music.

@HelenbackAgain
I know a German lady who has lived in Britain since the war so she wasn't using German on a daily basis but she never lost the language or the accent.We would go and bring her German language books and mags at her request so its never too late to polish up the Spanish.
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