There are two types of people in this world: those who have ‘an accent’, and those who have one but believe that they don’t. If you fall into the first category, my friend, there are a few things you’ll definitely know. Such as…
1. Within the first two minutes of meeting someone, they will pause the conversation and try and guess where you’re from. “Is that a Dutch accent with a hint of Liverpudlian and… Canadian, I hear?”
No, no it isn’t.
2. If they have been to where you’re from, they will tell you about it.
3. If their sister/brother/mum/dad/distant cousin/friend/their barista has been to where you’re from – they will tell you about it.
4. They will attempt to mimic your accent and use a stereotypical phrase that no one from your country or region actually uses. You will pretend to find this funny because it’s easier than explaining why they’re wrong.
5. They will ask if you like it here, and gesture towards the sky, like you’re in a new and mysterious universe. Mate, it’s Swindon.
6. You will control your urge to say: “No, that’s why I live here. Because I hate it.”
7. They’ll ask you to pronounce specific words. For a brief moment in time, your life will actually be like a scene from Love Actually, but (probably) with few super hot American girls. Treasure this moment.
8. Whenever you say the wrong word, pronounce something differently or misplace the emphasis on something, your friends will laugh and repeat what you said a million times until you learn to never do it again. ‘Bath’. ‘Butty’. ‘Fries’. ‘Wee’. The memories still haunt you.
9. If you hear someone with an accent like yours, they’ll immediately feel like a long-lost friend – even if you just walked past them talking on the street.
10. Tbh, you’ll even get excited when you hear accents that aren’t the same as yours, but you know are from somewhere nearby.
11. People will get into long conversations about whether or not you have a strong accent. 50% of people will think you do, 50% will think you don’t. You will have zero opinions on this.
12. When you go home, 50% of people will say you sound the same and 50% will say you sound completely different. You will have zero opinions on this, too.
13. You will wonder why anyone cares about your accent. Surely it isn’t the most interesting thing about you. You can roller skate. You can sing the alphabet backwards. You know the monarchy’s entire family tree!
14. But the minute you meet someone with an accent you don’t recognise, you tilt your head to the side and ask, “Oh, is that an Icelandic accent I hear?”.