In 2002 we spent a year in England with Dave's job. Abby started her first schooling ever in England, and wore a cute little uniform and mary jane's to school. After a month or so, we were sitting in the kitchen eating dinner and a funny thing happened.
Abby was chatting away to Dave, and kept saying things like "stehs" (as in the things that take you up and down in a house). They carried on their conversation for several minutes when suddenly Abby stopped and looked at Dave.
"Dah-dee", she said, "Why am I tahking like this?"
Sadly we only have one little video of her as a fully integrated little English girl, but it strikes me as an interesting (accidental) experiment on what we can or will become given our environment.
For Abby, once she realized that an English accent was something strange to Americans (as she experienced on a trip home that summer), she realized she didn't like being different. Around Americans she would speak like an American, and at school she was "Ah-bby" again.
It made us sad that she was conscious of the difference, because it so darling-and also interesting for us as parents to listen to her talk.These days my kids can do a hilarious version of a Francophone speaking english (the word Peanut butter is especially funny), and also a very good English accent as most of the anglophones around here are from England.
I have a friend from Italy who speaks English and sometimes when I'm with the kids I try to imitate her accent for fun. I am sometimes embarrassed about my American accent when I speak French, but my friends all say "No! It's so cute! Don't try and get rid of it!" Do you have an accent when you speak English? Do you wish you did?
(p.s. I don't recall purposefully trying to speak with an accent in this video, but I know Dave was. He wanted her to say the word "apparatus" because that's what they called the playground equipment).
p.p.s I'm on antibiotics and feeling much, much better.