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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
 
Date: 04-Jun-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Accents as We Age    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (04-Jun-2013)
  2. Re: Accents as We Age    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (04-Jun-2013)

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