It is amazing that depending on where you were raised or who you were raised with, you have a specific accent. That the place we grow up in can influence the whirl of our tongue, the intonation of our words, and how grave vowels sound is completely fascinating.
I love accents. On a personal note, when I’m walking somewhere or when I meet someone new I always listen closely to the sound of their words. You can tell a lot by what letters are left out from certain words, how much of a sing song voice they have, or if they leave their Rs riding on their tongue for much too long. Although you might not be able to tell where people might be from sometimes you can tell where they have been lately.
Nevertheless, it’s not very polite to make assumptions. Your guesses might just be wrong. This is why I especially liked the following article by Ross Kenneth Urken titled “What My Nanny Left Me: How A Jewish Boy From New Jersey Ended Up With A Jamaican Accent.” Urken may have learned many things from his nanny, and that Jamaican accent that stuck is just one of them. I wonder how many times people have tilted their heads and said “where are you from exactly?” After they got an answer, perplexity was most likely the next reaction. This is why you should never make any assumptions.
There are all sorts of accents, sometimes not only determined by country but even by city or region: New York, Boston, the South (US), Northern Mexico, Southern Mexico, Coastal region of Ecuador, the Sierra region of Ecuador, etc.
In Ecuador, it would seem like each region has its own accent. People from the Coastal region are known for talking in Spanish too quickly and leaving out the S from certain words and inserting the J where it shouldn’t. For example, “Las aulas” can sometimes be heard as “La-jaula”. Of course, most Ecuadorians from the coast would never admit this, just like those from the Sierra won’t admit to placing a long R in places where it most definitely doesn’t belong.
Since an accent may imply lack of clear pronunciation, words and phrases may come out just plain old wrong. But I think that’s the beauty of accents. They might be a threat to good pronuncitation (and even grammar), but they sound so fun and alien that you can’t help but love them…and imitate them.
Here are some “translations” of certain accents:
-Ah, howiyas! What’s da starry? Are ya well? Ah dah’s grand, so it is!
-Ah, how are you all? What’s up? Are you alright? Ah that’s good!
- Pahk the cah in Havahd Yahd.
- Park the car in Harvard Yard.
-Tawk the wawk, wawk the wawk. Smmatuhr wit yu?
-Talk the talk, walk the walk. What’s the matter with you?