Let’s start with this, shall we? This guy is brilliant. Give it a listen…
Now, I’ll have mentioned on here before that I have an accent. Those of you who know me personally will know damn well I have an accent. What might shock you is that people who’ve known me for years can’t hear it.
How is it possible?
Usually, when I first meet people, I say hello. Promising start, isn’t it? But from that meagre little greeting comes a whole raft of, “Where’s your accent from?” as if I got it in a shop. I understand, of course, people are deliberate with their words because they don’t want to cause offence and lots of people are offended by everything.
I don’t let people guess anymore. Largely, because I know what they’ll come up with:
I once had ‘Cuba’ but even the chap who suggested it had to admit, that was a stretch.
I’m Croydon to my core, but I’m not taking elocution lessons.
There’s a TV personality who looks like she might sue, so I’ll not name names, but she took speech classes and she sounds like a freaking robot. Yeah, you know the one I mean. No one’s inviting a voice like that out to dinner.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound my godmother made when I explained to her on the phone that I have an accent. I had an easier time coming out.
“Are you sure you have an accent? Have you tried not having an accent?
“No, no. What am I saying? Some of the finest people in the land have an accent. Everyone seems to have one these days. Good for you, having an accent.
“I really wouldn’t have guessed.”
As it goes, I love an accent. I don’t care where anyone’s from, an accent suggests a history, perhaps art or danger or both. An accent, as well as the words we speak and the tone of voice we use, tells people who we are, and what we mean.
So long as they can understand us. And if they can’t, maybe they aren’t supposed to.