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Is your English changing?

(25 Posts)
SSSandy Thu 18-May-06 21:23:21

I wrote English to keep the title short. If you're living in a country where the main language is not your mother-tongue, have you noticed your accent changing or do you find yourself transferring grammar forms from another language onto your mother-tongue?

Last time I was in the UK, a man I chatted to said he'd thought I was Scandinavian. Think I will have to tape myself and see what I sound like this days!

What sort of accent do your children have in English? Is it similar to your own? I know some British families here whose children have a fairly American accent, although it is a bit mixed. They attend international schools and many of their teachers learnt American English.

Rhubarb Thu 18-May-06 21:27:09

I get accused of being Irish, but then that happened in England too - more often than I care to mention!
Dd speaks English at times with French grammar and it does rub off on us a bit. I forget simple English words at time and in my head when I think back over past conversations in English they come out in French!

I teach English and I can only hope that my students now speak English with a Northern accent (or maybe it is Irish?)

LIZS Thu 18-May-06 21:31:46

ds picked up a lot of Americanisms at International school but they seem to have largely disappeared now we're back in UK . His accent remained very English though and his friend born and living in CH but to Scottish parents developed a Scottish accent so think home has more influence. However I've known children who have become bilingual apply their second language word order to their mother tongue.

Albert Thu 18-May-06 21:55:46

DS has a very British accent although he has never lived there and my accent hasn't changed at all even though I've been out of the country for about 15 years.

admylin Fri 19-May-06 20:24:29

My kids only hear english in the house buttheir dad is indian so he has an indian acent and when ds was 2 and talking quite alot he had his dads accent in alotof things he said! Now both speak perfect cumbrian with my accent! What I notice is when I haven't been to UK for a long time, say for a year I quickly notice the new words that are always arriving in every day language like at chritmas I heard "bling" for the first time, must be from america but even my mum was using it. Or the good old milkshake turned into a smoothie, 10 years ago no one said smoothie!

sprout Mon 22-May-06 12:21:39

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

UglySister Mon 22-May-06 18:46:53

What is this bling exactly and what is a chav? Been wondering for ages!

Californifrau Tue 23-May-06 04:16:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

eidsvold Tue 23-May-06 05:37:51

my pronunciation of words changed although I don't think I have an accent. People in Aus commented that my accent had changed and that I sounded more english than my english husband. However I probably spoke a 'posher' aus than the ocker accent anyway and so it wasn't really a change.

eidsvold Tue 23-May-06 05:38:25

however dh says now I am back in Australia when I get angry I get very ocker and my inflection rises at the end of my sentences...

SSSandy Tue 23-May-06 08:46:12

For those of us a bit out of touch with the UK, this is the Wikipedia definition of "chav". Seems very detailed...

"The stereotypical chav is someone who:

- wears particular clothing, such as:
*Brand name athletic clothing and shoes*. Stereotypically, this might include white trainers and tracksuits.
*Fake designer clothing and accessories*, in particular the distinctive tartan of Burberry, similar to (and perhaps derived from) the casuals of football supporters.
"Bling": that is, gaudy gold or platinum jewellery — in particular conspicuous earrings and trinkets on chains for women, and gold sovereign rings for men.
*Sports caps and hoodies*. Often both are worn, the hood pulled up over the baseball cap, thus obscuring the wearer's face.
Sports or jogging trousers, often tucked into white (or in fact any colour of) sports socks. These are also referred to as "tracky Bs", "trackies" or "tracky bottoms".
- if female, wears thickly applied make-up, makes heavy use of fake tan, large hoop-earrings and has a hairstyle in which the hair is pulled back into a tight bun or ponytail (called a *"Croydon facelift"* or "council-house facelift").
- is associated with crass, drunken behaviour and minor criminal activities. This includes unprovoked attacks on members of the public (see happy slapping), vandalism, verbal abuse, and drug abuse. This delinquency may be carried out under the influence of cheap alcohol, often after the pubs have closed.
- lives on housing estates and other low-income neighbourhoods, often supported by the "dole".
- owns a tastelessly modified car, usually with a basic original specification, but decorated in a gaudy style. The Vauxhall Nova is one of the many small hatchbacks associated with this stereotype
- Aspires to the latest mobile phone and other mobile gadgetry. Typically these include the Motorola RAZR series phone and iPod Shuffle music player
- congregates and loiters in areas such as shopping centres and fast food restaurants.
- pronounces English in a style that is seen to be unsophisticated and characterised by slack diction — for example, the pronunciation of "thing" as "fink", or the addition of the suffix "-ige" or the word "Buh" to the end of sentences."

SSSandy Tue 23-May-06 08:57:18

Copied and pasted, sorry about that such a L O N G text!

Another thing I've noticed is my whole conversational behaviour is changing. For one thing , I speak a lot louder. This is thanks to Germany. When I first came, at least twice a day someone would say "ich habe Sie akustisch nicht verstanden". Boy did that drive me nuts, they couldn't understand me "acoustically", i.e. I was too quiet. I was taught not to raise my voice so it really went against the grain, especially in a foreign language and when I felt shy, to speak extra loudly. I do now though.

Another thing that has changed is that I now interrupt people (!). I used to raise my eyebrows, open my mouth, perhaps slightly raise a hand in gentle indication that I also had something to say, now I just interrupt!

UglySister Tue 23-May-06 12:23:23

Hi Sandy, so a chav is basically a working class person, or how some people see him/her. Sounds really awful!

I had though bling was more positive than in the definition you found. Isn´t it? Or is it a chav thing?!

SSSandy Tue 23-May-06 12:33:31

I'm assuming bling is big gaudy looking jewellery. Maybe something like what hip hop rappers wear?

sprout Tue 23-May-06 13:27:51

SSandy - had to laugh when I read your comment about "ich habe Sie akustisch nicht verstanden". Dh is German, and I lived in Germany for 5 years before moving to Belgium. I got that the whole time! Really drove me up the wall when I thought I was speaking normally.
On the other hand, have you ever noticed in a room full of people speaking different languages (e.g. a typical Brussels bar!) that it's always the Germans you can hear above the others?!

UglySister Tue 23-May-06 13:36:49

Sprout, I always hear the Americans! Always!

Ssandy, I´m sure i read about bling in a fashionable women´s magazine (me..fashionable? maybe not!) hence my confusion. Thought it was a desirable thing.. Also read about it in conjunction with huge rise in purchases of diamond juwelery.

moondog Tue 23-May-06 13:40:59

No,never,in years and years of living abroad (and despite the fact that we were/are speaking Welsh 50% of the time.)

Sign of a weak character if you too readily adopt the accent of your temporary domicile.

SSSandy Tue 23-May-06 13:46:17

sprout Spanish can get up an impressive volume too I've noticed

US I'm onto it, I've asked the experts in chat. Anything with real diamonds in it has to be good though, doesn't it?

suzywong Tue 23-May-06 13:46:58

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
there's fighting talk

but you have an ear which may be more trained than the rest of us MD, don't you, eh? Mate, Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite, yiiiiah. Eh, Sheila.

moondog Tue 23-May-06 13:49:57

Bloody ripper SW!!
(Can give brill Strine after years living amongst em.)

SSSandy Tue 23-May-06 13:51:18

US , I tried to post a link. Not sure if it'll work but check out the picture, don't know how anyone could consider that jewellery tasteless:

\link{http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk?rn=16644&topicid=1375&threadid=176072&redir=16644}

eidsvold Tue 23-May-06 13:54:02

see now this aussie does not say bloody ripper ( too posh to use colloquialisms ) hence easy for me to change my speech when in the UK as I was almost there anyway.

moondog Tue 23-May-06 13:54:35


I mixed with a very rough and ready PNG crowd Eids....

UglySister Tue 23-May-06 13:57:25

Oh my god... Bling includes medallion man of old then.. Remember him?

SSSandy Wed 24-May-06 11:17:03

No, who was medaillon man then?

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