AIBU to be offended by my colleague's bluntness?(51 Posts)
A bit of a background - I'm Polish, have been living in Germany with my English DP for the last 12 years. We speak English at home. I'm fluent in German but I'm unfortunately unable to get rid of my accent. I have just started a new job where I met a woman with whom I had this conversation today:
She: "So where do you originally come from?"
Me: Poland, but I've been living here for the last 12 years..
She ( eyes wide open): Really? So long? And you still have such a strong accent? Does your family speak German?
Me: Nope, I speak English at home with my DP.
She: I could tell straight away.. Strange. I had a roommate once who was
Polish and after just three
years you couldn't tell she
was a foreigner.
What do you think? AIBU to be offended by her choice of words? I really make an effort to learn German, my grammar is good, I just have the bloody accent. My DP found it amusing, I am still ... I mean she really did not have to rub it in with this remark about her genius roommate..
I haven't lived in my home country for ten years. I still have my original accent, in fact I don't really udnerstand how some people can change their accent so easily. Is it a conscious decision?
No, not in my case, it isn't conscious at all. I think some people just pick up more easily on other people's accents. I don't know why, but it's nothing to do with being a genius and it isnt the result of hard work either. It can be quite embarrassing actually.
I know that I'm very good at picking up accents in foreign languages because I'm often mistaken for a native speaker on the phone. However, I do it English as well. If I'm with someone with a strong accent for long enough (regional or foreign!) I start to mirror it. It isn't deliberate, and sometimes I have to concentrate really hard so as not to do it, in case they think I'm taking the piss.
I went out with a French person once - I can nearly remember how to say 'oh yeah, fuck jesus, oh fuck, shit, god yes, that is brilliant, I am right inside you right inside you and YESSSSSS!' I didn't know he was french until er the appropriate moment!
"i like my accent, just the other day your husband was saying how sexy it is"
Nothing to do with this really but I was in Amsterdam and met a Dutch man who spoke English very well with a Scottish accent - it was lovely and such a good Scottish accent
Just wanted to say
wow.. mirroring.. that might be why after a pause in a conversation with a (Eire) Irish person I felt self conscious and said 'dat'll be roight, to be sure'.
The silence didn't get any more comfortable!
You should see what the Dutch are like! Are you in North Germany? Austrian friends tell me that the farther north you go the less sense of humour or tact there is
Accents are cool . Be proud of yours.
Tell the rude lady that you may not have learnt to speak without an accent but that you have learnt to speak without being rude.
I had never lived in my dad's home town. I haven't even lived in the same house as dad for 15 years. But people can still spot his accent in mine, strongly enough to ask me if I come from dad's home town.
Yep, agree with the others. It's just her being German. They are blunt like that (have lived in Hamburg - very north!)
Thanks for your replies. I'm feeling much better now - I guess I was a bit angry with myself as well for not being able to come back at her with a witty, suitably stingy comment - now I have plenty of those to choose from
Yohed, you may joke, but I honestly struggle with this! It doesn't help that my DH has quite a strong accent and I spend quite a lot of time with him and other people from his country. I have to consciously remind myself not to speak to them in "their" accent, and I do sometimes forget.
Years ago, I spent a lot of time with a close friend from Australia, and everyone thought I was australian for a while.
I have a Polish colleague, and I could listen to him for hours. He has the most perfect English, and I love his accent.
I am Irish, and honestly we don't all say things like faith and begorrah, and top o the mornin' as I sometimes
often see suggested here. FWIW, I know I have the accent of my own particular county, and people do comment on it. I am proud of my county, and I don't mind when people comment on it. I will never try to change it. IMHO there is nothing worse than contrived accents.
Getting back to the OP, I am in awe that you have at least three languages. I mean that in an admiring way. Take no notice of your colleague.
s'alright, I do this a bit too .. I had a conversation with a posh bloke and a londoner (east end) once and my accent shifted as to whose point I was answering - they thought I was crazy! Bjork does it too - but with her it is whether her head is in the country - if she tells a story about clubbing in london, its in a london accent, if she is talking about iceland, her accent is icelandic and if about america, then american - this can happen in the same conversation with her!
I don't think she sounded rude at all, although I'm forever being told by my DP that I'm very blunt and I need him to tell me when I'm being rude otherwise I wont realise, so maybe my opinion isn't the best here. But don't feel bad about having an accent, it gives you character, and being able to speak 3 languages fluently is incredibly impressive!
I'm an accent whore
I only have to spend a week in Spain on holiday and I come home speaking broken English??
I lose all the connectives and simple sentences like, "Would you like salad with your dinner?"
Turns into, "You want salad with dinner?"
Whenever I am in France people say "You sound just like Jane Birkin" - i.e. I speak French with an English accent (doh!) - it's a slightly nicer way of being told though!
Sorry, I would probably have said what she said.
I love accents and it wouldn't occur to me someone might think I was trying to be rude, though of course I see it when you put it like that.
Unless she's a wee bit unthinking, she can't seriously think if you speak English at home and are first-language Polish, that you will have huge amounts of spare time to perfect your German accent too.
There are very few people who manage to lose their native accent, especially if from a different country, but even regional ones (Cheryl Cole couldn't adapt to US accent at all and they couldn't understand her) and to an extent social UK ones too. it's impossible to erase it altogether unless possibly you've done some serious drama training.
Even then, people who can do away with their original accent, really slip when stressed or emotional, as it has to be controlled. You also may be good at changing accents, if you have exceptional musical ear and sing well (not Cheryl then ).
It's amazing how some people can praise you for your great English and understand easily, while others keep asking to repeat. I find that most Kent people struggle with understanding foreigners who speak good English with accents, maybe because their own is quite strong.
Sounds very German. DH is German, I've lived there, I don't have much else to say but .. sounds very German. Don't take it too personally.
My father still has a slight dutch accent even though English has been his primary language for over 20 years.
And apparently I have a dutch accent when I speak German even though I haven't spoken dutch fluently since I was 5
Accents are wonderful, they're part of our identity. Be proud of your accent and even prouder that you speak so many languages fluently
sorry, 'most' Kent people was the wrong thing to say, I meant quite a few.
She's German. They're blunt. Lived here over a decade myself.
And what allaflutter said. I have very little obvious accent day to day but it shows through when I am stressed or tired. And my Rs still let me down. I can only manage a German R when singing, funnily enough.
I'd be annoyed at what she said too, but maybe it was just a genuine mistake and it was a foot-in-mouth moment (we all have then!)
My parents are from Liverpool but haven't lived there for 13 years, they still have the accent - I still pick it up when I visit! It's just how people are! Be proud of your accent, who cares if you have your polish accent, you are Polish! I met a friend who was from Italy and has been living over here for about 6 years, she is in Liverpool and although she speaks perfect English she still has her Italian accent, I think it makes her voice sound really pretty.
Soverylucky... No use quoting Cilla Black. She's supposed to come from Liverpool and doesn't sound remotely like anyone I've ever heard! I've lived in Liverpool for thirty plus years and have never heard her accent! Nor have I ever heard a Scouser use the words 'chuck' or 'lorra, lorra'... She's a fraud!
OP: I don't think she meant any offence but it was a bit gauche... Don't worry about your accent or try to change it...it's part of what makes you you and more interesting
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