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Faking Bad English..

211 posts in this topic

Posted

Oh man, I just watched one of her videos. And somebody pointed out her "accent" and she kept arguing about language attrition.

So, I left my home country at 4, then lived in a mixed-language household, where my mother spoke the language of my father really well, whereas he merely communicated adequately in hers. So we sort of converged on his language at home and it was the language at school/ their work/everywhere.

At 10, I moved with them to a third country where the language at school/everywhere else was English. Both my parents are proficient in English, but at home we still mostly speak my dad's language. Very little of my mother's language is spoken.

I def. went through a phase of hardship in my very first language around the age of 10 when acquiring English became dominant. However, as soon as I switched to more communication in my first language, my accent disappeared and my grammar is now practically fully correct. I only struggle with certain forms that belong to the highest register, which is just something you don't learn at home and cannot easily access through film/books etc. (i.e. I'd have to actually practice some more :)). Another aspect is the writing, where I'm probably around 90% proficient, but still make mistakes that would be classified as spelling or homophony mistakes in English. In my second language (my dad's language), in which I started school, I'm proficient in spelling and the only part where I show weaknesses is, again, the highest register, to which you don't get in grade 4 :)

But in both languages, I have no accent. I haven't lived with my parents in years, all my friends speak English or French. Yet I still switch back.

 

Now all of that might be one of those "case by case" differences. And I understand that there are people who lose some of their linguistic ability, but these are mostly subtle differences, and they usually concern people who left their countries at a very young age and had almost no exposure to their native language. None of that applies to Mira.

What applies to people who leave in their 20s might be lexical retrieval difficulties (heck, that applies to us speaking English on a daily basis when we're tired ;) ).

And the last thing is a small observation, based on the 5 minutes I managed to watch of her before clicking away: She is very clearly putting her accent on, because there are things that she cannot control. She still kept her Canadian pronunciation of "about" and "out", etc. As a North American speaker of non-Canadian accent, it is very easy to pronounce "about" both the New York and the Canada way. Yet many Canadians naturally do it "their" way. So does Mira. 

Apparently, it's not quite as easy to fake an accent well consistently. :)  These slip ups happen to actors sometimes. 

 

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