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Whose Accent is it anyway?

I was loitering around a shop yesterday looking for something I could pick up, nothing specific in mind. Just then two girls, may be around 20, came and stood behind me. Both of them kept talking non-stop, without the slightest care that there was someone standing within audible range. I tried not to listen, but failed. All other things aside, what did strike as amusing to me was the accent they were talking in.  
It was the unmistakable ‘made-up’ accent we find common amongst most teenagers and call-centre people these days. Strained, deliberate and trying-too-hard-to-sound-right type. The use of correct words and grammar didn’t really seem to bother them a lot, but their ‘accent’ never slipped. Someone sure did a clean job! Kudos!
With the increasing influence of the west on our youth and our culture(and call centres mushrooming in every nook and corner of metros) a new breed of people is coming up slowly and steadily, the ones that are confused and pathetically caught between the two. These are the ones who would go to any lengths to be a part of the ‘hep-n-happening’ crowd. So to begin with, this ‘fake’ accent is a reliable style-mantra. It’s hilarious seeing these people rattle something that’s not easy for them to understand.
This whole ‘accented’ speaking is not new to us Indians though. If we travel the length and breadth of India we’ll find a new culture and a new language every few hours. Every state has a different language, a different tone, a different dialect that identifies every person belonging to that region.  That’s why we’d never confuse a Bengali with a South-Indian or a Gujrati with a North-Indian. It is what we can call the ‘gift of the land’.
Let’s ask ourselves this: is it necessary to have an accent? Well, I don’t think so. I feel an accent is not learnt, it is acquired. The language that we’ve been speaking since childhood sure has a strong imprint on us, and it does come out even when we’re talking in some other language.
As far as British and American accents are concerned, the way English is used and taught in these countries is very different from us. The rolling of tongue, the pronunciation, the stressing on words is different. Hence to acquire it is quite an exercise for us.
Personally, I’m proud of the fact that I don’t have an accent. If I want, I can learn any language and use it like I’m born with it. Nothing can give me away. This I feel is better than the ‘fake’ accents people pick up and revel on. Are they so fixated not to understand that people can see through them?
It is not just about the way of speaking; our roots, our education, our individuality make us the person we are.  All these put together certainly can give us the confidence and poise that nothing else can. Hence accent or no accent, what really matters is our belief in us. We shouldn’t feel the need to portray ourselves as someone we’re not or even try to hide what we are.
Finally, whether accents are good/essential/stylish or not is a debatable issue, and I’d leave it to others to decide. To each his own!

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  1. There are some places where in the accent matters when you are at job at a call centre but that too, not always. Other than that, i too fail to understand the acquired or to-be accent of the modern youth. I never get how an accent is related to your being in the front. Good for them if they need it, but personally, i feel, there are a majority who think and opine that it is an unnecessary show off and nothing else. An accent is no excuse for the lack of belief or the wanna be in you to hide.

  2. Ahh you rightly mentioned that it is quickly workable and reliable style mantra to get in the 'happening' gang 😉 We of course never did went after the accent and going forward I'm sure we are not going to run after it 🙂

  3. Excellent post, yes, we are trying to ape something that is not ours, and not in the right way. Beyond the accent even the writing language, especially in popular networking sites has come down a lot. P.S I have posted a post on this too under the title Mind your Language….

  4. Great points Varsha :DIn a country like Australia with a multicultural population aping accents from the people of European decent often produces hilarious outcomes.I agree your workplace might demand you to behave or present in a certain way, but being yourself is the safest and the best way to go.Keep up the good work :DCheers!!

  5. @Garf: Exactly…in the process of portraying themselves as someone they're not our youth get confused with their own identity and are caught up in between…@Nu: Yes we never went after it and we never will..isn't the 'fake' thing difficult to hide at the first place? @Analyst: True…written English needs one to have some level of expertise…spoken English no matter how wrong or polluted it is can be passed on as 'modern lingo'@CB: That's exactly what I wanted to bring out..the demands of your workplace can be understood…but once you're out you need to be yourself!

  6. today's youth is caught between east and west….Language doesn't matter to them but the style does!!people like different style and accent of our's but they don't seem to have any rule or terms to define rightly said abt the craze of being "hep n happening" person

  7. To each his own…but agreed!!!and, nice couplet below the "Post a Comment"!

  8. Yup! Yup!this is what exactly comes to my mind when i think of accents…!like the post…:)

  9. Hey,Thanks for submitting this blogpost for the Best blog post contest- is a good blogpost..interesting observations and was a good read.All the best.

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