November 29, 2022

Tumbler Ridge News

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Linguistic assimilation: This phenomenon where you imitate the pronunciation of your interlocutor?

photo credit, Good pictures

It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what kind of Spanish you speak. If I talk for more than ten minutes, it’s inevitable: my Portino accent from nearly three decades in London will fade further, and in the blink of an eye, I’ll sound like you.

Sorry, I found that intolerable. I found this intolerable. It’s not easy to pick up the accent of a country you don’t know when your interlocutor looks at you with the slightest suspicion that you’re making fun of him, listening to his way of speaking.

But over time, I realized that there was nothing I could do to hold on to the “correct” way of speaking, and I gave up on conversing with Andean tones, coastal accents, and Spanish zettas where they shouldn’t be.