Friday, May 17, 2013

Hung Up On Accents

It’s funny how a language, any language, can be spoken in so many different ways. Take for instance, my mother tongue Thamizh. It has so many variations ranging from the robust Chennai slang to the melodious Coimbatore one, the sing-song Thirunelveli Thamizh and the rustic Madurai one. The same goes with Hindi, with various parts of India contributing to it with their own slang and accents. Likewise with English. My most favourite accent in the world is the British one but it so interesting to observe all the other accents and my! How many of them! Scottish, Irish, Cockney, Australian, Yankee, the Southern drawl etc, etc. While I cannot imitate any accent I am fascinated by the way an inflection here and a clip there adds so much layer to a language.

But one thing that definitely does not catch my fancy is the fake accent that many Indians seems to adopt after only a few years of living abroad. I can understand if someone with Indian origins but was born and brought up abroad or has grown up abroad speaks like an American (or British). Sure, I love listening to Hugh Grant or James Bond. But if you start rolling your r’s literally as soon as your foot touches foreign soil, I’m sorry buddy, but you ain’t fooling no one!

I fail to fathom the thinking behind putting up a fake accent. Can’t these people hear themselves speak? I mean, the accent is so fake that anybody can see through it. I cringe visibly whenever I hear it and just feel like screaming, "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!". Most people who suddenly seem to be speaking “American” cannot do it consistently. So half of their words sound American while the rest sounds quite desi and the amalgamation of this frankly sounds rather embarrassing. What is so wrong in speaking with an Indian accent anyway? As long as you pronounce words as they are supposed to be pronounced – as in Zero instead of Jero as I’ve heard some people say - and you are able to communicate smoothly, is it really so bad to speak the Indian way?

In fact, I’m not too sure with what accent I speak English but if I do have one that would probably be a Thamizh accent – which is natural as I come from Tamil Nadu. When I met with some clients in the US a few days after I moved there for work, an American lady told me that I speak English very well. As long as people are able to understand you easily isn’t that enough? Do people who speak with these fake accents think that it is beneath them to speak normally? Do they feel that they are somehow superior if they can speak in the American way? If so, well here’s news for you – you don’t. You simply sound ridiculous. So, I beg you, for the love of God, cut it out. My ears are aching. Enough is enough.


  1. nice post. Even Russell Peters, stand up comedian too makes fun of such people. Actually our English accent is really good. But as you know no one is happy with that they have and think American or other countries accent is the best. If they dont, so they fake it. it surely irritates me too.

  2. I know! When will these people learn?

    1. these people wont learn for sure because they are so bent upon having another accent. Its people like us who will get irritated looking at them and never would like to have a fake accent. But on the lighter note, its fun to watch them.lets enjoy it.


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