Diary of a Russian Wife

9/03/2006

Russian Accent

Have you read news about a ring tone that only young people can hear?

This explained a lot to me: that’s why I can’t get rid of my Russian accent while my daughter, who didn’t know a word in English when she came to the US, now speaks English without any accent. She was 9 when we moved to America. A year later, you couldn’t guess that she was born in another country. So, dear ladies, if you think about getting married to an American man, but have concerns about your children, this is the last thing you have to worry about. Children absorb new language and new culture much faster than we can. Moreover, they go further – they turn into 100% Americans while we can only blend in and become Americanized Russians.

I realize that I’ve changed a lot, but some things will never change. And my accent is one of them. For example, in Russian language, there is only one sound of [i]. In English, you have a handful. “Ship” and “sheep” sound differently for you, Americans, but not for me. Just like in the example with the ring tone, my “old” years are not able to catch the difference – so, how could I reproduce something that I don’t hear?

That’s why at work I diligently avoid using the word “spreadsheet”, because people think that I curse when I say it. :)

- Say "hamburger", - asked me my husband after watching "The Pink Panther". "Your accent is disappearing", - he added with satisfaction. Probably, I did better than Inspector Clouseau.

Get the American Point of View

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