Multicultural accents

Posted: 8th February 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

Hmmm…I just talked to my uni best friend about our accents today, so I thought
that I would write a post about an accent
My accent is hybrid, mostly filled with (almost) neutral American and Korean accents, with dibs of Southern (though it’s more of an ‘ghetto’ accent) and probably even European accents
Lots of Americans have pointed out that sometimes I have an Korean accent, because while I still talk (or at least try to) in neutral American accent, but I say ‘z’ words in ‘j’ words a lot
I still have a hard time saying ‘x’, so I always end up saying ‘s’ when I really mean an ‘x’
In fact, when I was forced to talk in English language to one of my friend’s friend during the visit to Korea
over the phone, I was told that I sound like an Korean-American (which is the first time that someone has said that I sound like an American…funny how majority of the Americans think as in an opposite way)…one more funny thing was that he didn’t respond anything out of intimidation while I just said “Hello, Who is this?” in English
Two of my friends have told me that I kind of talk or have few tendencies to talk like a Southern people
(example: the queer way of how I say ‘notice’…I tend to say “naw-tice”, not “noh-tice”)
My uni best friend has concluded that the reason is that I listen to lots of hiphop music
In fact, most (if not, a lot) of the western music that I listen to are hiphop music, which are sung by
blacks with so-called ghetto accent
It was a big shock to me because I had no idea that the taste of the music can even influence
people’s accent
European part…it can be just my assumption…but if it’s true that I have a dip of an European accent,
I’ll have to have someone answer it for me
As for Korean, once a while I catch myself saying words in an American accent, but mostly
I completely change an accent to Korean when I have to say English words in Korean
Some Koreans have told me that they thought that I was from Kyungsangdo, a province located
in southern part of South Korea, which is weird to me because I grew up speaking Korean in
Seoul accent and dialect
Other than that, I have no idea unless Koreans, especially Korean TCKs, can point out how
I speak Korean to me in long details lol
Overall, I am destined to have an hybrid accent because I was 11 or 12 when I truly became
fluent in English, which means that there’s at least 10 years of gap between Korean and English
in my life. Also, I grew up having to switch between two languages depending on the environment
and I had almost 3 years of gap of very limited English usage during my life in Korea

P.S.: My uni best friend is domestic TCK and an immigrant. She also has an hybrid accent, but
she can cover it up to outsiders (the only time that she will reveal those are when she is angry,
which a little bit of an Asian accent will come out and when she talks with me), unlike me.
She told me that with her school (Thailand, her passport country, teach Thais English in British ways)
and her grandpa, who got masters in Europe, she had to learn and use British English
while she had to learn and use an American English with her father.
She also had English teachers from multicultural background in Thailand.

I’m starting to embrace my hybrid accents more and more because it is a solid proof that I
grew up in truly multicultural background and I know that English is one of my two primary languages.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wish I could speak Korean ;p

  2. Anonymous says:

    hi Rachel! i think you’ve raised a rly interesting point! i was in an international school in Singapore, and for some reason adopted the american accent but since it was a british based school system, i used very english words (and put the U’s and use S’s instead of Z’s, lol). im a bit baffled myself, as to why we have accents from places we’v never lived in. media saturation from the states perhaps?
    wen i moved to australia, my british lingo got me through fine, but dey made fun of my american accent, accusing me of trying to b ‘cool’ or labelled it ‘trash american talk’. i now talk with an american accent with a twang of aussie and use british words 😀
    gotta love globalisation 😉