Accent, or no?

Pop quiz!

Chooi Yen speaks English:

(a) with no accent
(b) in a sing-song manner
(c) with too many “like”s
(d) none of the above
(e) all of the above

Answer? (e)!

Can you imagine!

We were talking about accents the other day, because all of us speak English with such different accents, and when someone mentioned how some of the Chinese have very Chinese-y accents, one of my friends pointed at me and went, “And her? She also has an accent?”

Another person was like, “No, no she doesn’t.”

(I do have a bit of the Malaysian accent, even when I don’t use the “lah”s and “loh”s, but I don’t think anyone here knows about the Malaysian accent to know I have one!)

Anyway, then another person went, “She does kind of! She speaks like she’s singing!”

And would you believe it, some people actually agreed!

Do I speak like I’m singing? Huhhhh?

But anything la. I also realize I’ve been saying “like” a lot. I mean, it’s such an American thing to do, Americans cannot say a sentence without injecting a few “like” in it.

Yeah, like, I couldn’t sleep last night because it was like, SO COLD! And my roommate was like, SNORING!

Okay not all Americans speak like that, just like not all Malaysians go, “Ya lah, last night I cannot sleep, SO COLD LAH! Somemore my roommate also, SNORE so loudly lidat!

But the majority of Americans use “like” a lot. And I’m starting to annoy myself by using it a little too often.

I mean, it doesn’t even mean anything, it’s just a Shit-Word you use to stall time when you’re thinking of the next thing to say.

It’s like (this “like” is perfectly fine to use because it’s not a Shit-Word) when I was doing my Biology Human Awareness presentation for SAM, and I was using the Time-Stalling “ummm” a lot, and I didn’t even realize it!

Seriously loh, I finished my presentation, went back to my seat, and someone went, “Nice presentation! But you “ummm” a lot hor?” And I was like, “WHAT?! I “UMM”-ED??”

Then throughout the day a few more people told me I “umm”-ed a lot, and when I asked how much is “a lot”, I was told it was once every few seconds. How can I “umm” that much and still not realize huh?!

Anyway, yealah.

You know, it’s funny how Americans have this Amercian accent, and yet they think that they don’t have an accent, and everyone who doesn’t speak “American” has accents.

Very what right. Even us Malaysians realize we have Malaysian accents, Indians know they have Indian accents, everyone else knows they have accents, but Americans never realize they do.

Sometimes in discussion-based classes, I get the feeling the Americans think they are Normal, and everyone else who isn’t American is Something (“Colored people”, “Minorities”, “People With Accents”, etc.). Like they think they are the original people, and everyone else is a derivative of them. (That doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but you do understand what I mean right?)

My hall is so quite now. Everyone’s gone home/somewhere for fall break.


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