On Accents and Dialects

A couple of years ago, I was in a Banana Republic with the idea of getting a much needed wool coat. Because I’m useless when it comes to shopping, I asked one of the sales associates for her opinion on the jacket I was trying on. As we were discussing the merits of how I looked in a small versus a medium, she asked me where I was from. I never know how to answer this so I asked her if she meant ‘ethnically’ or ‘where I was raised’. She clarified – she wanted to know where I grew up. When I said the Bay Area, she was surprised because she thought I was from New York since I had a ‘swagger’ (her word, not mine) to me that hailed from that part of the country. Some time after that, someone else asked if I was from New York.

So I was wondering: Do I actually sound like I’m from New York??

No, no I don’t.

I could have known the above merely from all the TV I watch. However, I started looking into accents recently. I thought it’d be fun (actually, present tense, I “think” it would be fun) to be able to do a bunch of different accents. I got a book about accents and dialects accompanied by CDs and started the process passively. I say passively because I have yet to do any actual reading but have listened to a few of the CDs in the car.

ANYways, I got to the New York dialect CD the other day and listened the person going over the signature sounds of these people and just as I suspected, I don’t infuse any of the sounds that are characteristic of New Yorkers into my own speech.

I’m just Bushra from California. And so that’s that.

By the way, I’m going to go ahead and apologize in advance to my friends if I try to practice any new found accents in front of you all. I only have a few of you, dear friends, so please don’t leave me.

Thanks!

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