Ya’ll Talk Funny!
I love accents. If you don’t, you can’t possibly have a sense of humor IMHO :=).
Trying to speak in a different accent, whether you know the language or not, is not only great fun — I think — but seems to me a natural way to learn a new language.
I’m not exactly sure why or how this works — yet. Maybe it’s a part of the fake it til you make it approach to life that many believe in (I do).
Maybe it’s the act of doing the accent in front of native speakers — speakers who “get” the accent joke and as a result open up to you and encourage you to actually learn their language (by regularly sharing vocabulary and phrases with you).
It’s important to say — I am not talking about doing accents with a victim. The Indians-at-Dunkin-Donuts-accent? My younger, untraveled self laughed at it.
But with the Indian ex-wife and many years of world travels and newfound (ahem) maturity — I can only find the Indian accent funny when done by an Indian (krpaya saath un veediyo bhej!).
I’m talking about doing accents when we are ALL in on the joke. Let’s face it — we ALL talk “funny” in our own way — in every country and region.
Students in my ESL classes and individual tutoring in Philadelphia even imitate my accent occasionally. And I love it!
In the language business, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard my Chinese, Colombian and Vietnamese students (and friends) pick up on my white-trash / Philadelphia / Northeast Region / college-educated mixed accent.
I encourage them to imitate me as much as they want. Not just for the silliness but for the welcome break from the challenge of learning English.
The video above of people pretending to speak German gives you a glimpse into such silliness. Almost every person laughs — or least smiles — when doing the German accent.