Sunday, June 08, 2008

My New Accent

Time does pass and one finds oneself living in the US of A for a good part of a year. There have been many observations and insights which have been made during this time. One intends to eventually document them but this post is not about one of them -- it is about my English. Americana has had numerous effects on me, the most notable being my spoken English.

Apart from imbibing the idiomatic idiosyncrasies of the American version of the English language, I find myself picking up the accent too. It is a strange conundrum. I have all my life spoken my English with a thickish Bengali accent. For that matter, I have spoken all languages with the thickish Bengali accent. I now speak with a thickish Bengali accent coupled with an American modulation. The resultant effect, I think, is a Cambodian accent. I make such a preposterous claim since I have been suspected of being Cambodian in two independent situations. This has not bothered me. I really do not mind a Cambodian aspect to my personality. It is the closest I can get to becoming an international man of mystery. This status-quo however has been very short lived. Things have, since then taken a sinister turn.

It happened at Starbucks today. I went up to the counter, and asked the dispenser-of-wholesome-caffeine for something. What I eventually got was very refreshing and cool. The reader is however urged to note the fact that I do not, till now, know as to what I had asked for. As I was gratefully sucking away at the concoction of crushed ice and caffeine, the shocking realization hit me -- I, myself cannot comprehend my accent anymore. It is a sad and disconcerting revelation.