My voice screamed out my class status and everything I was trying to leave behind, I thought. Now I want it all back.
The farther you are from home, the more likely people will notice your way of speaking is different than theirs. Which of course leaves you more likely to pick up on the quirks and cadences of their voices, even if they claim to have “no accent.” (As if there’s such a thing.)
These accents, noticed or not, can signal things we’re eager to share or hide, celebrate or play down. If anything, speaking differently than those around you is a sign of bravery and adventure—of a story that sits beneath subtle variations in pronunciation and word choice. We’ve gathered some of these stories here, from the plight of losing your accent to the mismatch between voice-activated technology and non-American voices. Read on to explore how our ways of speaking can connect, reveal, and betray us.
Image by Serhii Vakulenchyk / Getty Images
It’s super funny that Alexa can’t understand my mom—until we need Alexa to use the web, drive a car, and do pretty much anything else.
We often imitate styles of speech we hear—what’s known as ‘linguistic convergence.’ But a researcher wanted to see if we alter our speech based on the mere expectation of how someone will sound.
What is it that makes individuals suffering from FAS sound like foreign speakers of their native language?