It had to happen, right? Spending twelve years in London was bound to leave some marks.
Today, I was near my home town, in Toulon, speaking at a conference (see the details here: paperdotcon). It was good to be back. You see, I love everything about Provence: the light, my childhood friends, the food, and the Mediterranean of course. But today, I was told (half jokingly, but still) that I had a British accent.
Me, a British accent?
This couldn’t be possible. Because I don’t have a British accent in French. Granted, I have a strong French accent in English (Always have. Always will). But I am still French. Let me correct this: I still feel very French. Repeat after me: I am so French it hurts (and if you are not convinced, just read this post: http://frenchyummymummy.com/allez-les-bleus/)
Maybe it’s the story of my life: I am a French woman in London and a British one in France. Where the hell do I belong? Probably somewhere in between.
What can I say? I have probably caught a bug. It’s called the ‘flexible tongue tip’. That’s what gives me a British accent. How come I didn’t see it coming? Damn it, I am officially British!
I am starting to wonder whether accents might have something to do with perception. Let me clarify this new theory of mine: if I had said that I was coming from Germany, I think that I would have been told that I had a German accent. It’s because we French (see, I include myself: I told you, I am French) like to second-guess things. If we are told that someone lives in New York, we are going to hear an American accent. It’s an auto-suggestion mechanism. In London, I have been told countless times that my French was excellent, because of course my French compatriots thought that I was British (which I am too, but let’s keep things simple, shall we?). We hear what we expect to hear.
In short, I don’t believe that I had a British accent. Maybe they just wanted to hear one. Or maybe they were just pulling my leg. I will never know.
But this much I know: French or British, I am, well, my own specialty. Warts and all. British accent or French accent. And frankly, why is it so difficult to see?