I never thought I had an accent. I thought that Wisconsinites were the neutrals as far as pronouncing things went. We didn’t sound Northeastern nor Canadian and especially not Southern. We were just in the middle. That was until I moved down to the South. I was constantly teased about how I pronounced certain words, especially words that had “ag” or “eg” next to each other in the word. For example: flag. I have always pronounced it with a long A as in “made” instead of the Southern way in which the A sounds short like in the word”tack”.
My friends tried to teach me how to talk like a Southerner, but I liked the way I pronounced things. My accent was neutral. I didn’t want to change it. My friends told me that I sounded Canadian but I was pretty sure they didn’t know what Canadians sounded like. I mostly ignored the comments and continued to believe that Wisconsinites didn’t have an accent.
That was until today. I was listening to myself in a video from a month ago and was shocked. I heard my accent. I really did sound Canadian. I’ve heard myself in videos before and never noticed my accent. So why was I noticing it now?
My only explanation is that after living in the South for three years I have adapted to hearing the Southern accent and that has become my normal. The honey sweet tones are digging themselves into my brain and changing the way I hear things. But for some reason they have decided to leave my Canadian accent alone. We’ll see how long that lasts. And who knows, maybe I will always have a Northern accent and will be endlessly teased for it, or maybe just as my hearing tuned to the Southern accent, my voice will also. Whatever the case, I realized that everyone has an accent, it just depends on where you go.