The first time I ever travelled abroad, I was 17 and went to see relatives in the US and Canada and spent almost a month there. When I came back home, they said I sounded like I picked up a bit of an accent, but it went away soon after.
The same thing happened during my trip when I was 21. I spent 5 weeks in Canada, came home with a little bit of a Canadian tongue that also faded as soon as I came back home.
This time, it’s the first time ever that I lived aborad for a long time. When I arrived, I wondered if I would ever pick up their local accent. But I am much older now, at 31, and I seem to have frozen my tongue. After 10 long months of being here, I still sound like myself. So many strangers have correctly guessed that I am Filipino just based on my accent. Those not familiar with it mistake me for an American though. Perhaps I won’t be picking up accents as much as when I was younger.
Probably there are several factors.
- I spend lots of time with Filipino friends and relatives who speak straight Tagalog.
- I live in Sydney, and it is a very diverse mix of people from different backgrounds, everyone speaking their own way.
- Even at work, everyone comes from a different background and speaks a different way.
- Maybe I’m too old to be picking up accents that easily.
The true test is when I come back for a visit. I wonder if I’ll sound any different.