27 January 2011


I have come to the sincere conclusion that someone would need to really try hard if they wanted to develop a new accent.

I've had a couple of friends literally beg me to come home with a Scottish accent. I've never been one for accents. Seriously -- I aim for Spanish and somehow always get Italian. And to top it all off, I can only do an Italian accent if I'm imitating Luigi from Mario Kart. (I'm-ah Luigi, and I'm-ah gunna win!)

Now, despite my own feeble attempts at imitation, there are others here that permanently slip right into it. I have one question: HOW? You've presumably spent the last 23+ years speaking in your normal American accent, and yet you were able to ditch it in just a couple months? How is that even possible? Sure, I'll give you the different phrases, like how they say queue instead of line and 'zed' instead of 'z'. I will not, however, accept that you have a new accent and that you somehow caught it the moment you landed. Maybe if you were living here for years. But months? No way.

My rant against fake accents aside, I've had 2 general reactions to my own.

1.) For those not normally exposed to English, I have been told that my Midwestern accent is much easier to understand than others. I once read that many TV reporters take elocution lessons to perfect the Midwest accent. Apparently, it is the most neutral of the American accents and not as easily identified with a specific region. I kind of thought this was silly, until I was actually told by a girl from Germany that I was easier to understand than my friend from Scotland.

2.) For those with a preconceived notion of what the American accent actually is, my own is labelled as weird. From endless years of watching Hollywood movies and American television, most Americans are assumed to have one of the following accents: Southern, New York, Boston, or California Valley Girl/Surfer Dude. My own Chicago accent with a twinge of Wisconsin really throws people off. As one of my Scottish pals told me, my accent unsettles them more than my friend from Texas.

Strange how both scenarios have been encountered numerous times.

Now let the countdowns begin:
Kari: 7 Days
Munich: 15 Days
Brussels: 20 Days

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