I am from Canada, the part that borders on Quebec, yet I don’t speak fluent French. My husband is Irish and we have been living in Australia for the past three years.
While I have never been mistaken for a French-Canadian, I have been asked if I am from New Zealand, America, England and Ireland. People in Ireland think I’m American. People in Australia have asked if I was all of the above, only sometimes asking me if I am Canadian. Last night at the hair salon, my husband stopped by and the stylist thought he sounded like me – American. Thankfully, most people understand me and all of the exchange students I’ve met since moving to Brisbane have told me quietly they love how easy it is to comprehend what I am saying. It’s nice to know that Scandinavians and South Americans alike can relate to you.
Some days I long for conversations with friends, family or perfect strangers I could meet in Canada that understand me and don’t pause to ask, “are you ______?” Other days I think that by the time I go back to Canada (for a visit or a move) that I will sound different anyways. All of my recent visits have been interrupted with jokes about my new Aussie slang or an Irish turn of phrase. The most popular is my new way of indicating the time, instead of half-past four, I now saw half-four. Thank you Ireland.
We are going traveling in a few months and once we relocate again I can only imagine the future accents I will be associated with. I am learning to embrace this recently mandatory part of my discussions with new acquaintances and am convincing myself it is part of me becoming a worldly person.
One of the nicest compliments I’ve received as of late was from a lovely English man at a friend’s birthday party who told me I spoke “with an intelligent accent”. I will take that any day over all of the above!