Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Changing Accent

4 of the Ninth Month 5768

I don't really care for those quizzes floating around the Internet. But this one about American accents caught my attention on Treppenwitz.

What does it have to do with aliyah?

After being in Israel for 10 years, I have lost my Southern Californian accent. Well, according to all of the New Yorkers, Midwesterners, New Englanders, and Texans I know in Israel, I haven't. Americans I meet for the first time can tell that I am "not from New York." That's the best guess they can make as t where I am from. They cannot usually say with 100 percent confidence that I am from California, let alone Southern California. (There's more one than one Californian accent, folks!)

This "for entertainment purposes only" quiz, which I took twice with the same results, seems to confirm my suspicions.

What American accent do you have?
(Best version so far)


You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you're just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don't really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com

I suppose that it's all YOUR faults. When I do speak English, which has been quite a bit the last couple of years, it's with New Yorker, Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, everyone except Californians. I am in periodic contact with only one Californian. He hasn't lost his yet. But mine seems to be beyond the point of no return. When I bumped into a fellow Southern Californian seven years ago, he and I immediately fell into heavy accents peppered with regional lingo, so much so that the guy from the East Coast listening to us had no clue as to what we were talking about.

No more. Last year when college friends of mine from Los Angeles came to Israel in celebration of their son's bar-misswah, they told me that my changed accent was the first thing they noticed about me. Apparently, they weren't going to say anything about it. I was the one to bring it up, asking them to confirm my suspicions. It wasn't anything positive or negative, just something that was immediately apparent to them.

Fortunately, these friends speak Hebrew, so I did not have to monitor my word choice constantly. Like many immigrants in Israel, my native tongue is no longer "pure," having been infiltrated with a great deal of Hebrew. But that's another post for another time.

Of course, my accent isn't the only thing which has changed. I mention it solely as one of the many marks of change I happened to have noticed in myself. Living in Israel, making a home in Israel has been, and continues to be, a transformative experience.

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