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Does anyones accents change speaking to strangers?

(42 Posts)
Whitlandcarm Mon 17-Jul-17 23:35:53

More often or not, if I speak to a stranger out of the house my accent changes. Say I bump into someone and say "sorry! My fault" or speak to a train conductor etc, my accent becomes ridiculously strong. It happens at my work place too where some have a stronger normal accent than me but others a weaker.

When I say accent I mean regional accent- otherwise I have a pretty standard non regional accent.

I'm not sure if I'm odd or have been lying to myself all these years and this is my true accentgrin

Whitlandcarm Mon 17-Jul-17 23:36:28

Good god!! That thread title was horrific sorry !

nancy75 Mon 17-Jul-17 23:38:12

I get posher when I answer the phone at work, probably a good thing as in normal life I sound a bit like a common version of Barbara windsor!

mylittlephoney Mon 17-Jul-17 23:43:54

Absolutely when having had a couple I revert to the deepest darkest Devon accent I can muster my lover 😉

Smeaton Mon 17-Jul-17 23:52:58

I find that other peoples accents rub off on me.

I'm from the midlands and worked in a factory. A big Scottish guy started there and I found I couldn't talk to him for long with out me starting to mimic his accent completely unconsciously.
It got to the point where he accused me of taking the piss.. Luckily he was a decent and jovial fellow and only threatened to punch me in the heed. He had fists like a railroad workers hammer.

FerretsAreFeminists Mon 17-Jul-17 23:55:20

I don't do this but one thing I do find myself doing is mimicking someone else's accent if I'm speaking to someone with a different accent.

It's completely unintentional but I'm always worried people will think I'm mocking them blush

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Tue 18-Jul-17 00:18:30

I don't know if my accent changes necessarily, but I definitely have a "work voice"! It's more high pitched than my usual one.

But then I think it's pretty common for people to have a "work voice"?

IloveBanff Tue 18-Jul-17 00:29:23

I discovered many years ago that I unknowingly 'tune in' to accents. I have no idea this has happened until I speak. For example, I had a long conversation with a local in Florida and when I left I said "Thanks for the advaaahse*" in a strong Southern accent, when I thought I was saying "Thanks for the advice" blush. I couldn't believe I'd done that, but I believe it's not unusual to unconsciously tune in to accents in that way.

zzzzz Tue 18-Jul-17 00:34:41

I catch accents too. It's hideously embarrassing and I CAN NOT help it. blush. If I talk to a group with a range of accents I flip from one to the other like some hideous human kaleidoscope.

Why?

sobeyondthehills Tue 18-Jul-17 00:35:48

both myself and my sister do this, my accent seems to change alot, I have been known to have a full on conversation with a Yorkshire accent. (I am from the south east England)

My sister was at Uni, in Wales and so as a few Welsh friends, her best friend is Scottish, it was amusing to watch her chat to her friends, at her wedding and her accent change depending on who she was talking to.

Patriciathestripper1 Tue 18-Jul-17 00:36:38

Usually I have s Manchester accent, but can revert to middle /upper class English at the drop of a hat due to election lessons when I was younger

sobeyondthehills Tue 18-Jul-17 00:37:40

And I am not sure it is me, but I can't tell where someone is from just by their accent, for example I had a lovely conversation with a Dad at DS' nursery, and told DP about the lovely man, who I thought was from Canada, he looked really puzzled till I manage to point him out, turns out the family is Irish

Graphista Tue 18-Jul-17 00:46:51

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_accommodation_theory

Most common in people who move around a lot eg children of serving military, refugees who have moved a lot

ExplodedCloud Tue 18-Jul-17 00:48:06

I have a generic SE English accent. I revert to a stereotypical version of my regional accent when talking to anyone from that area, but I do it slowly so I soumd like I'm taking the piss blush
I also modulate my vowels as a mirror to other accents which confuses people no end!

ExplodedCloud Tue 18-Jul-17 00:51:27

*I am not from the SE but spent one part of my life therebut I revert to my native accent. That wasn't clear!

I pick up accents stupidly quickly.

I moved from North Wales to South Wales less than three months ago. I spoke on the radio today and my family took the piss out of me for how South Welsh I sound already grin

CaoNiMartacus Tue 18-Jul-17 07:34:05

God, yes.

My accent is all over the place - Scouser father, posh mother, lived in various countries/"expat" communities.

Talking to taxi drivers, I sound like someone from Brookside. Talking to colleagues I sound like some braying toff.

Oblomov17 Tue 18-Jul-17 08:07:27

I do a bit too. Not intentionally. I think it's because I don't have a very strong accent myself.

MaidOfStars Tue 18-Jul-17 08:14:22

I have a non-descript, hard to pin down, accent, well spoken.

I mimic a handful of accents, notably Australian. I can't help it blush

I respond completely differently when speaking to Americans, speaking in an accent that would make Mary Poppins look common.

I am generally shit at 'doing accents' with no one to copy. Irish mother, can't do an Irish accent. Mancunian father and I now live in/near Manchester, can't do a Manc accent. I can, however, perfectly do a Bristol-area buzz.

MaidOfStars Tue 18-Jul-17 08:17:16

As a side question, does anyone change their syntax when talking with people who are speaking English but with their native language's structure?

I find myself saying 'the house of my sister' with French people, and so on.

MissTakesOurMaid Tue 18-Jul-17 08:21:11

YES. There's a name for it but I can't think at the moment. I'm terrible for it - sometimes I say that I don't really know what my own accent is because I change it so much!

I have a work voice and a phone voice. I talk differently when I'm with my friends - more high pitched. At home in my own habitat it's more low. I also catch accents, but only if the other person has a string obvious accent. I can still remember talking to a Canadian lady a few years ago and replying back in a Canadian accent - she looked puzzled - most excruciatingly embarrassing five minutes of my life.

lalaloopyhead Tue 18-Jul-17 08:22:17

I tend to copy peoples accents too, totally unintentionally. My worst is probably when I speak to well spoken folk and I start saying glarss and grarss etc and actually cringe when I catch myself.

My DD says I take on a strange shrill voice when I speak to people in shops - maybe I just get nervous talking!

RedStripeIassie Tue 18-Jul-17 08:23:07

I do this as well blush. Australians think I'm Australian when I talk to them!

kingfishergreen Tue 18-Jul-17 08:27:47

*As a side question, does anyone change their syntax when talking with people who are speaking English but with their native language's structure?

Yes, yes, I lived in Malaysia for a few years and when speaking to people from the region still slip into Malaysian rhythm and syntax. I use the term 'Malaysian' as they could be native Malay, Chinese, Thai or Indonesian speakers.

I speak with pretty clear RP, I don't hear it in myself until I hear my voice recorded (envy not jealousy). But I, mortifyingly, drop my accent a bit with black cab drivers (people who drive black cabs, not black people who drive cabs). I've no idea why, I try not to, but it happens every time.

LittleCandle Tue 18-Jul-17 08:27:57

I am Scottish and lived for far too many years in a part of Scotland that I was not native to. I never picked up the local accent, but whenever I have been 'home', my native accent comes singing back. It happens if I meet someone at work (I work in retail) who comes from my area. A former colleague used to find it really disconcerting.

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