I grew up in the Southwest of England and had what I consider a normal accent until I went to university in Sheffield and acquired something like a Brummie accent. Since moving to Thailand, I’ve completely lost my voice.
After listening to my voice on a Dictaphone, I think I speak with a kind of muddled American-Australian-British twang with an emphasis on the American. I hate it. People don’t even believe I’m British, or a UK national or whatever we’re supposed to call ourselves these days.
I attribute this change in my accent to having very few British friends, but those I do meet, some of whom have lived in Thailand longer than me, still have their voices in tact.
I did a bit of research and came across this:
Accents are not fixed. Our accents change over time as our needs change and as our sense of who we are changes and develops. Usually this happens naturally, and often unconsciously. Accents can be expected to change until we are in our early twenties. This is usually the time we come to some sort of decision about who we are. But even after that, if you want (and need) to change your accent, you can.
Could my accent changing be part of me deciding who I am? Perhaps on a subconscious level I’ve been trying to find my place in the world and altering my voice accordingly. But what does this all mean? Do I not want to be British or am I trying to fit in with my surroundings?
I also came across this:
Sometimes it is other people's prejudice that you are responding to.
The only thing I can think of is that some time ago I convinced myself that Thais could better understand an American accent than a British one. I even say “chips” instead of “crisps”. When I go back to the UK I’m going to be heckled in bars and glared at in shops.
Changing a person’s accent is something that people actually study in order to force their voices to change. I’m considering holding speech-therapy classes for Thais who want to internationalize their accents.
Anyone else lost their voice?