Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Accents Happen

I confess: I have always adored the Southern Accent. It just seems so sweet and happy. I always wished that I could have been born with a southern accent. (well, not that people are born with accents, but I think ya know what I mean.) One day, I decided to take the matter into my own hands (or mouth) and concluded that I would have an accent.

So I couldn't just decide one minute to start talking with an accent. People would think that was weird. Being weird, when you are in high school, is not usually a good thing. What I needed was a fresh audience for my accent debut. As it turns out, that weekend was an overnight young women hike/camping trip for my area's church group (It was a stake girls camp preparation weekend). The girls that were the same age as me (15 years old) were all getting together at some remote campsite and we were supposed to become campsite certified, or something of that nature. Anyway, on the drive up, I told the other few people in the car that I would officially have a southern accent for the weekend. They agreed not to look surprised or weirded out when I suddenly voiced the charming drawl that I had been repressing all my life.

We got to camp and met up with the other girls and we all introduced ourselves. Immediately, the questions started up: "Oooh, love your accent! Where are you from? Did you just move here? Say something else...your accent is so fun!"

Yes. I was that good. I spent the rest of the weekend oozing my southern dialect and loving every bit. It came very easy for me. So easy, in fact, that it didn't take long before it became second nature and I didn't even have to think about pronouncing my r's like "aahs" and softly twanging my words.

Well, the weekend ended. I could no longer justify my beloved accent at school. I told myself to speak normal. No more southern charm for me. However, I found out it didn't switch back so easily. I tried. I really did. I would talk to someone, they would look at me perplexed and say "Since when did you have a southern accent?" It became embarrassing. I was becoming the weirdo that I had feared. This wasn't cool anymore! To make matters worse, I was asked to read aloud in my chemistry class. Oh no!! I focused so intently that my head hurt. Inside, I was chanting "speak normal, speak normal, speak normal!" but the weekend had ruined me. I only made it a few sentences before I felt every one's eyes on me, my cheeks flushed, my teacher stopped me. He made some snicker of a remark about getting some new found southern hospitality over the weekend, and he let me sit down.

Still to this day, I have a very hard time carrying on with my normal speech patterns if I am in the company of a southern accent. I immediately and lovingly want to switch over. It's the only accent I can imitate better than my husband. He can do the most amazing English, Australian, and Russian accents. He can also impersonate pretty much anybody he is around long enough to catch on to their mannerisms.

Anyway, I've learned that sometimes, accents happen. It's best to just groove with it.


I'm Always Rite said...

You crack me up! I love talking in different accents and I don't care who looks at me funny. :) Sometimes I talk in altogether different languages of my own making. Crazy? Sure. Fun. Absolutely! You can talk in a southern accent to ma all you want.. or english or russian or irish..... ;)

I'm Always Rite said...

I totally didn't mean to type "ma" it was meant to be "me". It's so not a southern thing. ;)

Karen and Matt said...

Shaina you crack me up!!! I can't talk with an accent to save my life. I wish though! Accents are Sweet! I'm with Margarite you can talk southern or whatever to me all you want too. =)

"Hello... It's Me Again..." said...

You are funny! I enjoyed reading this post. I think that accents define who we are. I also think that once you move to your new home, your accent will be more obvious and you won't even have to try. I'm sure you sound delightful... (said in my best Oklahoman accent).