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
"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?