To my fellow Kababayan: If you're reading this, that means you've found my blog like others did! I'm glad that my blog is serving some purpose to connect fellow Filipinos in Charlotte and nearby! Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any question. Know more of me and how to connect with me via my other blog : Zen Ventures. Or join Toasty Brown Online Forum by clicking on the brown box on the right and let your voice be heard! Salamat!!! - Maricris

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Accent what?


"your voice sounds different from the first time I've spoken to you"... said my "penpal" of 20+ some years. Yes, I have a penpal (I was lucky to experience the olden ways of connecting to someone via snail mail} but that's another story to be told. She came to honor me with an after-christmas visit after a few years of respite of not seeing each other. Last time was when my daughter, who is now 4 years old, was born.

Odd too was that now I understand her better. She has the typical southern drawl that to a "virgin" ear, would sound more like nothing but gibberish! Not that it's a bad thing, but to me at that time, it was! Before you'd hear me asking quite a few times this : "say that again" - like a broken record! - it was frustrating at times! So what changed?

I have always spoken english even when I was in the Philippines. It was more of an obligation to, especially when I worked for a Top 500 company that caters to executives, foreign investors and moreso, Government delegates. Speaking it on regular basis has honed my fluency of the language but never considered the fact that it would one day change my "accent" as well.

I'm in the US for 5 years now. Unknowingly, my way of speaking has evolved to something of a different character. My immersion to the different accents and ways it is spoken around me on a daily basis has trained my brain to comprehend words better. I have not spoken my own language on a regular basis for all these 5 years. What's my tongue to do? It adapted itself to what it speaks on daily basis! - English.

There's 170 spoken languages in the Philippines and they've all got their own respective accents, that even when one is speaking our universal language "tagalog", it's easy to define that one is from this region and speaks this dialect. I akin this to the regional accents spoken in the US. The trick to identifying it and adapting to it is all about exposure and immersion.

Even my long time friends back in the Philippines, has noticed this change. Although, I can't say whether it shocked them or awed them. Native speakers here could not tell the difference. Most of them think I was born here, grew up here or has lived in the US before I decided to settle here for good. To give you a definitive idea, my tonal inflictions resembles that of from someone in Main state New York or Florida which to me has no accent at all. Plain and simply spoken english. But, my fluency and way of speaking it has earned respect from fellow Filipinos. Some pure admiration...to me, it's the reward of adapting and learning...

It makes a whole lot of difference just being able to wade through life in a vast culture and come out unscathed. Just like a chameleon...to survive, you blend in with your surroundings...

I speak 3 Filipino dialects, English and a bit of Arabic. I believe, I'm blessed.

How about you? Have you been struggling with transitioning from your "native" accent to that which is "acceptable" where you live right now?

10 comments:

Lynda said...

Hi there! I admire you for knowing and speaking another language fluently!

I just read an article that talks about listeners adapting to a foreign language. You might be interested in it: http://www.springerlink.com/content/222p620k6r283511/

I also just posted on it in my blog: http://lyndastucky.wordpress.com/

It appears that you have been able to adapt and comprehend the English language with repeated exposure to it. And the fact that you have been speaking English for so long has improved your own speech so that your penpal perceived you differently, too.

I, too, react slowly when I first hear a regional or foreign accent but then I feel that I get used to it (if isn't too heavy). If the accent is really heavy, I have a hard time deciphering it at all and that could be with a foreign accent or a regional accent.

Twerlyn said...

Hi Maricris!You are really blessed to have the ability to speak english fluently and with a right accent. Me?nah! I'm struggling for many years. I don't know how to improve myself. =(

Btw, thanks for the invite on Docode wednesday but I can't find it in the link you provided. It's my pleasure to join though.

Brian Barker said...

As the "International Year of Languages" comes to an end on 21st February, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008. http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38420&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&URL_SECTION=201.html

The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September.
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7vD9kChBA&feature=related or http://www.lernu.net

LadyFi said...

Good for you speaking so many different languages - it is indeed a blessing.

Although I've lived in Sweden for 12 yrs now, I still speak Swedish with an English accent...

iceah said...

maybe it's a gift a lot of Filipinos have. That is why we are admired mostly for our being flexible not only in spoken languages but also in blending with other countries culture c: I for one have been from Luzon to Mindanao I can say I can adapt too not only in Languages, dialect and culture as well c:

Juls said...

Wow, came over from SITS, glad I did..... Have a great weekend.

Keith said...

Magandang hapon, maayong hapon, selamat sore, gutentag, and good afternoon Maricris.

Whereas I only speak enlish and am mildly conversant in Spanish, I do love knowing greetings in many languages, so piece by piece, I may not have the language facility of the more traveled pinoy.

I do have a fine instructor working hard to make me conversant in Bahasa Indonesia. Wish me luck

Keith said...

Magandang hapon, maayong hapon, selamat sore, gutentag, and good afternoon Maricris.

Whereas I only speak enlish and am mildly conversant in Spanish, I do love knowing greetings in many languages, so piece by piece, I may not have the language facility of the more traveled pinoy.

I do have a fine instructor working hard to make me conversant in Bahasa Indonesia. Wish me luck

Superchef said...

im totally with you on this..i somehow feel that any language that you start speaking when you are a kid..even if it is not your native tongue, you tend to pick it up without an accent!

Superchef said...

here is the link to a recipe of egg biryani that i followed and loved..try it and let me know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPBxl9gFqNY