Thursday, May 31, 2007

Accents and Conversations

At work, people have been telling me that they like my unique accent. I was rather surprised when I heard that and since I haven't seen a video or heard a recording of how I speak, so I have no idea how my accent sounds now.

Ever since I got here, my accent has unconsciously changed. It's quite inevitable really, because to in order to communicate effectively, the other party has to understand what I'm saying. So naturally, I changed the way how I say and pronounce certain words in order that other people can understand me easily.

What has changed is that I pronounce my Rs now and I emphasize my end consonants like Ts and Ds. For example in words like "that" and "did". Also, speaking in proper grammatical sentences is something I've found easy to adapt, probably because I always scored well in English back in secondary school.

My co-worker, Mia, who's white, surprisingly asked, "How come you speak such good english?" To which I shrugged and said, "I don't know, learnt it in school?"

She continued, "I like your accent. It sounds unique. I can't seem to place it to a particular country."

I laughed and shrugged, "Well, I guess it's become a weird hybrid now after I got exposed to the accent here."

When I speak with my brother though, we always speak Singlish. It's a pretty cool because over here, it becomes like another language. It's a good way to secretly communicate too.

For example, "Wah piang eh, that person damn smelly sia."

But of course when we're with friends, we'll speak proper English because it's rude to leave others out of the conversation.

Another thing I've gotten used to, is having short conversations with random people. You know, like small talk. Well, you know how western people are,make long enough eye contact with them and they can start talking about you about anything under the sun.

So at first when random people started having short conversations with me, especially at work, I felt awkward. I wasn't used to it. Over time though, I've slowly gotten used to it, and sometimes I even look forward to having those conversations. It's quite fun just talking to someone and getting to know them better. Sometimes with many people the whole conversation can go out of control and we all just burst out laughing.

For sure I'll be writing about those conversations in future entries.

It's time to end this entry though, I've had the flu since Monday and now the damn headache is coming back again.


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Blogger Woof! said...

sounds like a pick-up to me! :D

2:31 PM  
Blogger aar.n said...

The moment I read your dialogue "wah piang......", I started laughing! I am quite proud of Singlish. Makes Singaporeans unique but yea, it is important to know when to speak proper English. :D

10:38 PM  
Blogger Zen|th said...

Woof: Nah. Americans are straight forward like that. Haha.

Aaron: Well, I like it because it's extremely condensed, so you can express something in only a few words.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous A-boy said...

Hi, I'm a Malaysian overseas too, needing to pick up the local accents to fit in with the rest. I guess the adage, when in rome do what the romans do. Yeah ashamed of my former T's and D's or should i say from d's to proper th's. Changing ones tone is harder, still working on it after 7 years in Aus.

I still struggle badly with mixing around with ang mohs tho..sad but true. They are a different bunch of people culturally. Do you often ask if you dont understand? I mean if i were to do that, man it'll be for every single sentence. Not that my English is bad, in fact its very good for people like us from where we come from, but every local English has its own terms and meanings. I really find it hard to raise my confidence to be able to see myself as an equal.

10:49 PM  

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