"Accent"

I get very shy and uncomfortable everytime people compliment me for my accent.

I don’t think I have an accent, and thus, I tend to not know how to react or respond to these compliments simply because they don’t feel right.

Obviously if let’s say, I’m warm and friendly in real life and you say, “You’re so cold like an ice queen!” I’d know how to reply back because it’s clear that you’re mocking me. Or, I can gracefully say thank you if people ackowledge this fact as a positive thing.

But, when it comes to the way I speak, it’s neither good nor bad, because it’s really not actually an anything. And so, getting comments about it makes me feel awkward, I never know how to take it.

Of course, the subject itself is really not a big deal, so why even think about it? Because of a few reasons.

I met a couple of new friends the other day, I didn’t even get the chance to really talk much with each of them because it was a big group. At one point, one of them exclaimed, “Hey! I really like your accent!” Another friend replied in agreement and my friend said, “Yes! I like it too!” They smiled their wide grins at me and the only thing I could say was, “eh..thank you” shyly. I suddenly was at loss of words.

I only met these girls maybe, one time before that night. Later, another friend joined in. I’ve never known her before, and just as we were about to depart and call it a night, she said so about my accent too. Correction, my so-called accent, because I don’t even know I have one.

They continued to discuss it as if I wasn’t there, saying I sound white. “Her english is totally white-english. Like hearing a white person talk!”

It got me thinking whether it’s that obvious that I sound a certain way. My supervisor in the company I worked in before thought I studied in America after just 5 minutes of brief conversation in the pantry. Random strangers, taxi drivers, people in clubs said so a lot too.

I don’t agree that I do speak like white, because another time some people thought I sound Philipino, a mix between Indian and Philipino, and other random countries you can think of. It’s weird.

My english teacher for many years taught me british english because she had british accent. I watched a lot of american television and movies. My sister has a crisp, clear, sophisticated american accent. My dad has indonesian-english all the way, but he spoke fluent japanese when he was young. I wonder, when exactly did I develop a certain habit of pronouncing words, of sounding a certain way, or having what we call accent.

In this age, can we still change the way we speak? Can we still be influenced by our surroundings and people around us? Or have we become the finished product in our designs that nothing else can really change our dispositions? At least, not much?

Yes, we can learn new words and develop new habits (like, now I call people ‘dude’ and say ‘you know’ an awful lot, and I don’t remember doing that years ago), but I never paid that much attention to the way I speak that I don’t really know if we can teach ourselves to sound another way, especially when we’re already adults.

I guess I should just take it as a thing, anyway I can’t really change it, so if people acknowledge it, well, then let it just be an acknowledgement. Like, having a small nose, and chubby cheek. It’s just the way it is.

What about you? Have people ever commented on your accent? If so, what do they think about it?

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