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The 'Indian' accent

joie de vivre Goldie
joie de vivre
joie de vivre

Joined: 18 January 2007
Posts: 1221

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 4:35pm | IP Logged
I've been in the States for almost a year, and among the various interesting and odd things I've witnessed and experienced, by far the one which throws me the most is when Americans appear astonished when I tell them I'm Indian. I suppose a couple of decades ago, my brown skin would've clued people up to the fact, but as America - and the world in general - becomes increasingly more multiracial and multicultural, skin colour alone doesn't determine where one hails from. 

I haven't done what many Indians do when they move to the West - modify my cadence. I went to school in Bangalore - incidentally, the same one a certain famous Bollywood star attended - but I sound NOTHING like her, nor do I sound like a typical Madrasi, despite being a Tamilian through and through. 

'But you sound SO very European' * is one of the constant things I've grown almost tired of hearing. 'I thought you were from England' is something which I hear less commonly than being told I sound European, but I've heard it a plethora of times nonetheless. 

Which is very, very odd, because to me I sound perfectly Indian. All right, so I pronounce schedule as SHED-JOOL and not SKED-JOOL or SKED-YOOL, and mandatory as MAN-DA-TRI rather than MAN-DA-TORY, and don't pronounce words like produce as PRO-DOOS or news as NOOS, but then again that's how I've ALWAYS pronounced those words. And the thing is, as often as not, when people remark about my accent, I'm NOT using words which have discrepancies in pronunciations. 

Which in turn begs the question - what really IS the Indian accent, or rather, what's the accent most Westerners associate with Indians? There are just SO MANY Indian accents, each inflected with various regional dialectal brogues and lilts and patios that it becomes hard to anoint any particular one as the quintessential Indian one. Hell, in my own family, my Malayali cousins sound nothing like my Gujarati ones, and neither of them certainly sounds like me or my sister. 

*How I wish! How I wish I sounded Scottish or Irish. They are seriously two of the most sexiest accents in the world - especially when the speaker also happens to be a young(ish), super hot male a la James McAvoy Embarrassed

Edited by joie de vivre - 11 November 2012 at 6:35pm

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be-happy-always Goldie

Joined: 15 January 2011
Posts: 1864

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 6:11pm | IP Logged
I like ur post!! 
coz once, I also wanted to write something similar! but didn't know how to put it!

some years back, when I came to the US,
people would say that I don't seem to be from India!! n I was like "what?!!"
They would always say that I have an American accent! (not British though!)

But yes, u r right, I also feel that the British accent is the sexiest!!Big smile

Anyways, coming back to my accent! Well, at that time, I thought people have some kinda misunderstanding that Indians just have one kinda accent...(speaking every word super-clearly as if one is spelling it!!LOL
-don't know a better way to explainTongueBig smile
But this is definitely not right! Everybody has a different accent in India...
n I guess, this goes different from individual to individual(not even regional)...
and also in a country like the States, there are sooo many accents...people from all over the world...from different nations...

Well, u know when I first came here, I was in grade 11, I used to totally go flat on the british accents...I always felt some accents are good n some are bad!! (not true though!)
Some of my friends hated the British accent! One of my friends, she's from Rome, she always says,"I wish I had an American accent!"

And then, I actually decided to talk to people whenever I go for some trip/tour!
Whenever I went to a different state/country, I interviewed many people (old, young, middle-age, children, teens...) n recorded the video -clippings!
n this year (the latest till now) I also went to Canada...n recorded there also...

(You know what it's really funny, I always used to ask them about the place(the city or state where I was then!) They wouldn't have spoken in their real accent if I would have told them about the my accent-project!!!!Approve)

soon, I'll compile n edit all the clippings and will put it on youtube...
Listening to all of them together was sooo FUNNY!!!!

But at the end, I came to this conclusion that NO ACCENT IS GOOD OR BAD, it's just the way one wishes to speak or one can speak!
I pick up the accent of a place really fast...
I like to...

n I think it's good for making the other person comfortable! BUT yes, I CANNOT copy the English accent of Chinese (both living here or newly immigrated) LOL

Obviously, no one needs to copy any accent but for me, I like to pick up the accent almost where-ever I go...

n yes, I speak 'schedule' in a different way everytime! But mostly, 'schedule' is  'SKEJUAL' for me...

But at the end, I must say, I don't like Australian accent...(no comments on it)...(everybody has different likes or dislikes)!

Edited by be-happy-always - 11 November 2012 at 6:30pm
joie de vivre Goldie
joie de vivre
joie de vivre

Joined: 18 January 2007
Posts: 1221

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 6:51pm | IP Logged
Haha, that's funny indeed.

Yeah, I'm just not a big fan of Aus-trayy-lian accents either. No offence to any Aussies round here, but it just doesn't appeal to me. The Australian PM Julia Gillard's accent is hilarious - she pronounces words like hyperbole as hyper-bowl, lol. Then again, I suppose Australians would probably find my accent to be rather terrible as well.

As for Americans' I really, really, really LOVE the way older Americans tend to speak. It's just lovely to hear old men and women rabbit on about something or other on buses, trains etc. I do, however, pretty fu(king LOATHE the valley girl and valley boy accent in which most young Americans tend to speak. I don't know whether that's a generational thing or only a California thing (I live in San Francisco), but MOST young Americans are inarticulate as sh!te and have this shrill, jarring accents where every sentence ends on a high note. It's just terrible.

I must say, I do love - and at times fetishise - European accents. The RP accent is of course lovely to hear, but Southern English accents are pretty lovely as well. I even love a good Northern accent, though I must admit that I do have a LOT of trouble understanding Geordie and Cockney accents. Scottish and Irish accents, like I've already mentioned are par-fecking-ticularly sexy, and Welsh ones are pretty nice as well. God, sometimes I so wish I were living in Britain and not America. I just think the English and Scottish are culturally and linguistically streets ahead of the Americans. And the men there dress a LOT better than straight men in America tend to. Again, it could be a California thing. I've heard that people in the East Coast dress a lot more meticulously than the CA lot. Lol, I even love the way the French speak English, even when they do it poorly. The English spoken by the Germans, Swiss and Austrains is, however, a lot less symphonic than that of the French. Russian English is pretty unglamourous as well, though hot Russian women are hot, whatever they say or don't say, hehe. 

Chinese English is quite hard to understand, I'm afraid. As often as not, it sounds as if they are speaking Chinese and not English, even when they are speaking English. 

As for Indian English - I actually quite like the way I speak and like I said, I haven't modified my accent after coming to the States. Though there's little to be said about SOME Indian accents - I once had a chemistry teacher who used to pronounce air as 'year'. He was Assamese. Though I'm an ethnically Tamilian Bangalorean, I don't go a bundle on either the Kannadiga English or the Tamilian one, though I do hold a soft spot for the way my maternal grandparents speak it. It's kinda rubbish, but I love them dearly, so I find they way the speak endearing.  I do quite like the Malayali English though, but then again I just think Malayalam is one of the most beautiful sounding languages around. 

Edited by joie de vivre - 11 November 2012 at 7:04pm

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be-happy-always Goldie

Joined: 15 January 2011
Posts: 1864

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 7:26pm | IP Logged
I'm learning Spanish these days! 
no comments on others but there's an Afro-American girl...
her accent is super-awesome!!

Hey, just in case, u r interested, I love this singer from London, (his accent is awesome!)
His English songs are sooo good n the music is awesome! n he has also made remixes of some hindi songs...though he doesn't sing in hindi!

I also heard many of his interviews - love his accentEmbarrassedBig smileLOL
Arjun: Do check out his channel(if u like it...)

be-happy-always Goldie

Joined: 15 January 2011
Posts: 1864

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 7:29pm | IP Logged
And here's something said by Russel Peters about 'ACCENTS':
(I'm not a very big fan of Russel though): it's so damn funny! Do see both videos if u didn't see it earlier!

Edited by be-happy-always - 11 November 2012 at 7:47pm
thegameison IF-Sizzlerz

Jedi of CC
Joined: 01 July 2010
Posts: 22814

Posted: 11 November 2012 at 8:40pm | IP Logged
Indians have a touch of their respective mother tongues in their command over English. So our accents aren't to be tagged as one but actually an integrated variation of English language. For instance, I have grown up in a household where we speak an amusing combination of Hindi and Punjabi. So I tend to sound like a Punjabi to people at times when I am speaking in English.

Other times they tell me however I did manage to have this polished and utterly 'foreign' accent. For crying out loud, I haven't even been around India properly, let alone somewhere overseas. But then I owe my pronunciation of words like say, schedule and produce to the so very many lifestyle shows and cookery shows and English TV shows I watch. I also listen mostly only to English music. Some are American, others British and a few Australian even. Since I spend so much time listening to all these, I tend to incorporate parts of em in the way I speak. But rest assured, I am far from being that chick who has a fake British accent or something. LOL

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return_to_hades IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 18 January 2006
Posts: 24263

Posted: 12 November 2012 at 7:17am | IP Logged

Savage is right. There really is no such thing as Indian accent. Accents are pronunciations and phonetics of the native tongue carried over to English and other languages. Since Indians have so many different languages, the accents are varied. But I think that certain pronunciations and styles are common with all Indians.

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Forever-KA IF-Rockerz

Joined: 01 April 2009
Posts: 5411

Posted: 12 November 2012 at 9:04am | IP Logged

Each language has its right and wrong when it comes to accents. I am a native Urdu speaker and there was a time when I disliked people who did not speak Urdu in proper manner (eg. saying jaalim and not zaalim). With time I snapped when a thought came to my mind lol. I thought okay these people have a different mother tongue and yet they can speak my language while I cannot speak theirs. lol. Since then I dont mind accents much though I make corrections.

Same applies to English. i dont care about accents and sexy accents lol. Important thing is one should be able to communicate their point - this much effort is needed since English is most important medium of communication.

Here is US educated and learned encourage you a lot and they keep reminding me your English and accent is fine. So overall a positive experience here.

Edited by King-Anu - 12 November 2012 at 9:04am

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