It keeps people guessing: It drives most people crazy in the process of pidgeon-holing you with some characteristic.
If someone tries to imitate you, take it as a compliment.
You are a mix of your experiences and character. That’s pretty awesome.
You try hard to be understood by 99% of people you talk to. Relax. Positive body language does the work.
Someone out there is either envious of your language abilities, confused or feels inspired to know something outside their comfortable world. Either way, you just rocked someone’s world.
Someone might compliment it and actually like it. Like attracts like… that’s powerful.
You have lived through at least 2 cultures and in the business world that’s a major asset. Your awareness and knowledge pot and adaptability is honey to the bees.
People get jealous of the “other world” sounds you make.
Ergo you shouldn’t worry about appearing to be a foreigner.
An accent is something pretty majestic and evocative of many things in people’s imagination. And you know what? That’s not your worry. Let people interpret all they want.
The backstory to this is –
4 years in Europe – coming back to Australia, a place I was happy to return to – had many people questioning where I was from. To this day. With all my slang!
I have supposedly 4 languages under my belt which means I can speak with people. I have the ability to go through cultural borders. I have knowledge and cultural understanding of the world. This means that I can get around. It also means it expands my tolerance for what’s perceived as unusual, normal, and not acceptable. As practices. Being blessed with this means that a part of me knows that this is actually a gift because not many people are able to be international like me and even though you go through some really hard loops in life, it teaches you a lot of things about yourself. This is invaluable.
As I draw on myself as an example, Russian was my first language – English my second, French a third, German my a fourth and there’s my Italian.
From all that you can get around eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Spain. Not much Greek though because it’s all Latin script! Because of the amount of places I’ve been to, I found thanks to my English, my Russian got reversed.
It’s become an English understanding of the culture. I’m speaking the language but obviously as a foreigner. I’m not part of the culture. I’m doing some textbook Russian, even though I’m fluent in conversation. Then I studied German and that screwed up my English! Because suddenly my words are very clipped, and I’m enunciating everything well. That makes long time Aussies ask me where I’m from. I’m a mix of things.
Then when I studied with Italian students who never went overseas: the ones that did, I didn’t have to try so hard to be understood. These native Italians didn’t understand half of my English so I had to become practically American- sounding when I spoke.
When I was doing my German, even my Russian sounded different. Grandma cracked up (she used to know some) when she told me. Cue Anna wanting to melt into the kitchen wooden floors.
At the end of the day, I just want to put my hands up and say look, this is my story. The minute people see that story, they can understand what’s going on and make jokes on it. So I stopped worrying about my accent. Occasionally I feel weird around the older white Australians who have a very concrete understanding of the world and I am not one of them – which actually, I’m fine to say I’m not. Different times, different minds.
The other side of the coin is that people forget despite that despite having no borders and cheap travel, it does take perseverance and courage and a plan of life to actually get out there and learn something new. I have a few friends who have travelled, but that’s almost because they’ve been brought somewhere. If they are not happy with a situation, they change it. I have very internationally-minded friends. Mum also adores travelling so that’s a big part of my growing up history.
So, what’s your story – would you pay a tutor to change your speech and enunciation? Or do you make epic jokes on your story like me?
Thanks for reading!
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