We have no accent

accent-rAs I have traveled to different places in the world, I am always amused when people claim, “We have no accent.” It’s true — if they have never lived anywhere else. But my contention is that we all have accents.

I admit that there are standard accents. In England, there is the BBC broadcaster’s accent, which is a kind of measuring stick. The American equivalent would be what one can hear on the national nightly news. In Kenya, national radio broadcasts are spoken in a standard baseline Swahili that is most easily understood by the largest majority of the listening population. But those are still accents!

Another factor is saturation. If we are used to hearing a particular voice on a long-term basis, we put their voice into our accent-less category. In high school, my friend Bryan’s mom was from Quebec. She had a wonderful French-Canadian lilt. He thought she had no accent. My dad grew up in Texas. Bryan claimed he had a southern accent. I thought he had none.

The lovely model for today’s photo is my daughter Rachel.

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3 Replies to “We have no accent”

    1. Hey Bob, how’re y’all?

      I always thought I had no accent till I left Washington DC’s suburbs for Boston at about age 12. Even then, I thought it was THEM that had the accent. (And I still do!)

  1. I always thought it would be cool–if we had time–to do Bible translations in dialects of American English. Really, there are tons and tons of dialects around the world, but we focus on languages instead, because of lack of time and resources and practicality.

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