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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Accents as We Age|
|Question:||It seems that as I'm getting older I'm noticing my accent is becoming more pronounced. I'm originally from SC, moved throughout the south to VA where I settled at around the age of 12. I've been living in VA since, but over the last few years, I'm now 42, it seems my accent is more noticeable, or I notice it more, or its just really different from my peers. Am I imagining this? I work with someone who is from Poland originally but moved here in his 30s, and he is now 50, but it seems like I'm noticing his accent is getting more exaggerated and is harder for me to understand. Several of my coworkers and I were discussing this and we all agreed it seems his accent is more noticeable. Is there any truth to this? Does one's accent change as we get older? Thank you! Chris Williams|
|Reply:||I have never heard of any general effect of age on spoken accent, and I doubt that such exists. What is well established is that accents are affected by the individual speaker's sense of identity. So conceivably your, or your Polish friend's, accents might grow "stronger" if you have come to identify yourselves more closely with your places of origin and feel less attached to where you are now living. But I surmise that it is equally likely that you might be imagining changes that haven't objectively occurred; these things are quite hard to judge impressionistically. Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|