People seem to respond one of two ways when they hear me talk for the first time. Either they don’t hear my accent or choose not to draw attention to it and go about their business or they zero in on the fact that I sound different and ask where I’m from.
Note: when we run into other Americans, they all want to know exactly where we are from and proceed to identify someone else they know who lives in that area. It’s expected.
Quite often we get told by people that they like our accents. I usually find this hilarious because, of course, in my mind I don’t have an accent. And when I lived in Wisconsin or Minnesota or Iowa, I didn’t have an accent that was noticeably different from the majority of people around me. Or maybe I did. I’m sure some people, and I guess I can think of a few students, who commented on my accent.
This weekend we stopped at the local bakery for coffee and a croissant and the girl behind the counter noted that she liked our accents. Dan indicated that he liked hers. Her response? “Do I have an accent??” The grimace that accompanied that question was surprising. “Do I sound really bogan?” she continued. (Bogan would by synonymous with lower class).
Just like me, in her mind she doesn’t have an accent. She believes she sounds like everyone around her. And if we point out her accent then we must be commenting on how she’s different from the standard, in this case bogan.
But really Aussie accents are wonderful. Even though the longer we are here the less we actually hear them.