This proves it, I have zero influence over my children

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Phone Have you ever spoken to your children over the phone? I did this recently while I was in Paris, and it was a real eye opener. It turns out the little girls on the other end of the phone have English accents — middle class, home county ones to be exact. 

How did that happen? They certainly didn't get it from me — even after living here a gazillion years, I still sound like Caroline from Bay Watch. Hubby talks with a Scottish brogue.

We've had Mexican maids, Brazilian nannies, and Polish housecleaners and it makes me feel slightly better that they obviously didn't have any influence either.

Do your children sound like you?

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40 Comments

  1. 03/12/2009 / 15:59

    On the phone, my grown-up 12 year old has a little high baby voice. My 9 year old speaks so incomprehensibly and quietly that I just have to say “oh really?” every time it goes silent and hope for the best. And my 5 year old just giggles, while I hear her father’s voice in the background “Speak to Mummy, speak to Mummy”.
    And no, they don’t sound like me at all. Which, for all my protestations about how any accent is fine, does bother me a little.

  2. 22/11/2009 / 22:15

    Miniminx once had an Aussie teacher. She came home saying s-f-eee-yah. Couldn’t for the life of me work out what it was until I spoke to the teacher. Sphere. Yes. Sphere.

  3. 22/11/2009 / 20:06

    There are five of us in our family – four Kiwis and one poor Englishman. I think we are all starting to soften our Kiwi accents now we’ve been here for about 18 months. My own accent is not a real fush n chups Kiwi accent – more middle Pacific with a little colonial Fiji, Aussie and Kiwi private school thrown in. I was interested to see that a study puts the Kiwi accent as most popular English (but ex-Britain) accent http://bit.ly/8IhNXz

  4. 22/11/2009 / 12:57

    Mine don’t sound like me – but they do sound like each other! They get really offended when I can’t tell them apart on the phone. I now have to chat for a minute or two before I’ve worked out who’s who! Shocking I know!

  5. 22/11/2009 / 00:02

    i hope not. mine just grunts!

  6. 21/11/2009 / 08:56

    only when they talk to me. because i say ‘talk properly’, which, of course, means like me. when they are with their friends they sound nothing like me, which is probably as well or they’d have no street cred at all.

  7. 19/11/2009 / 16:25

    I live in part of the States where people speak with what I perceive as a dreadful accent. I have threatened to pop my children on a plane to their grandparents on the opposite end of the country should they display this affliction. I work tirelessly to try to purge it from their diction. At times I may feel like Henry Higgins, but it is worth it to me.

  8. 19/11/2009 / 14:27

    I’m Yorkshire born and bred (as is the husband). I had a brief sojourn in Cambridge in the ’90’s and picked up a slight southern twang which still slips out on occasion.
    Ethan (aged 3) drifts somewhere between Yorkshire, BBC English and Cockney (with the occasional smattering of Scottish for good measure).
    I am confused to say the least!
    I read somewhere that children speak more like their parents until they go to school, then they will pick up whatever accent prevails there.

  9. 19/11/2009 / 13:04

    I did the West Midlands, London and Hampshire as a child – my accent baffles everyone, especially me!

  10. 19/11/2009 / 12:31

    Not really sure about our LO yet, but I suspect it will be quite English as he’s already saying ‘Oh dear’ with an English accent.

  11. 19/11/2009 / 07:50

    Ceclia — yes, we are a product of a global world. Looking forward to your post…

  12. 19/11/2009 / 07:44

    See – it’s the consequence of living in a global world, isn’t it! My daugther is Swedish/Dutch, was born in Belgium, has a name that was carefully selected to ‘work’ in English, Swedish, French and English (thus sounds slightly odd in all countries concerned). Perfectly bilingual by now, to my relief, and when she speaks Swedish, she has the accent of…. Pippi Longstocking šŸ˜‰ . Interesting topic, feel inspired to blog about it myself on http://www.mummymug.com

  13. 19/11/2009 / 07:35

    Natalie — they do!
    Jennifer — I don’t mind it either
    Expat — cheeky — I bet mine do the same
    Clarey — EVEYONE has an accent
    Jacqui — My guess is English
    geeky — that is HILARIOUS! when we came back to the US from CA a few years ago, they brought the “potty” terminology with them.

  14. 19/11/2009 / 06:29

    Hah, no. I sound like Bridget Jones or some other vaguely posh Brit with just a hint of American, and my daughter at aged three is full on Californian. She confused her grandmother thoroughly by telling her “I wanna go pah-ty (meaning potty). my poor mum thought she wanted to go to a party (we were actually going to a party that evening to add to the confusion) and kept telling her “you can go at 5 o clock” which had my daughter rather worried that she would have to hold her pee all afternoon!

  15. 19/11/2009 / 06:21

    My daughter has an English accent. My mother (Texas) always says, “I can’t believe my granddaughter speaks with an English accent.” Though I think she secretly likes it. I do!

  16. 18/11/2009 / 23:37

    I’m can’t wait to find out what accent my little girl will end up with – I’m from New Zealand, my partner is from Devon, and we live in London. As long as she doesn’t start saying ‘innit’ I don’t really mind…

  17. 18/11/2009 / 22:46

    I’m from Wales, husband’s from Bristol, but the children are becoming more Suffolk year on year, dropping their Ts left, right and centre šŸ˜€ x

  18. 18/11/2009 / 22:17

    My (American) kids all had very English accents till they were about five. They were a lot posher than me too because we had southern English au pairs and a South African one. They then went through a strange phase where words like “party” swapped the “t” for a “d”, and now they’re all twanging away like the Yanks they are. They even have the nerve to imitate me from time to time.

  19. 18/11/2009 / 21:20

    I’m one of those people without an accent, and my son seems to have inherited it!

  20. 18/11/2009 / 19:48

    I don’t babble much, so no – my babies don’t sound much like me. That said, someone recently accused my 3 yr old of saying “horse” in a ‘posh accent’. I have no idea how you say “horse” in a post accent, but I do admit to being terribly terribly Home Counties, so he may have picked this up from me. Yah.

  21. 18/11/2009 / 19:26

    I think my daughter does sound like me, especially when she stamps her foot and announces she is not doing something. I have been known to do exactly the same.

  22. 18/11/2009 / 18:28

    My 2 year old sounds nothing like either one of us. I have a mix of Dublin accent meets slight Wolves accent. The boyf has a boarding school accent and some say he sounds slightly American. I don’t know what accent she has – I guess it’s a Surrey one. I bet your US relatives love their accents!

  23. 18/11/2009 / 17:30

    Too many — that could be really useful…
    Mwa — intriguing, so you have little influence as well?

  24. 18/11/2009 / 17:14

    I don’t get that either. All children seem to pick up the “outside” language, from school or shops or whatever. My nephew spends easily 95% of his time with Scottish people but he lives in England and he sounds SO English.

  25. 18/11/2009 / 14:56

    Insanely so, in fact when I answer the phone daughter’s friends think it is her and start right into a conversation with her until I break in and say, this is Rebecca’s mom – LOL – they get really embarrassed by that.

  26. 18/11/2009 / 14:40

    Nappy — yes, not long now. Have they started using “like” every other sentence (like I do?)

  27. 18/11/2009 / 14:30

    The Littleboys are definitely starting to sound more American. For the most part they sound English but they have started to say things like ‘super-fast’ and “I’m mad with you” and they pronounce ‘water’ as ‘wadda’. It won’t be long….

  28. 18/11/2009 / 13:48

    SPD — I said sounds like her, not look like her…
    Vic — interesting… where are you from?
    Mad House — I wish mine sounded like me…
    Brit in Bosnia – oh dear
    Jen — hubby does that too but I still can’t sau it right…
    Potty — yeessss…

  29. 18/11/2009 / 12:31

    Nope, mine sound 100% local, eg Midlands English, not too Brummy though.
    And I am Scottish, so no influence, other than forcing them to say locccccchhhhhhhh not lock.

  30. 18/11/2009 / 11:15

    The boy definitely sounds English, whereas my mixed accent often gets me called American, South African or Australian (none of which I actually am). That said, he talks in the same was as his father, just without the Brasilian accent.

  31. 18/11/2009 / 10:24

    The boys sound mostly like me (no Dutch accents in evidence), although I have to admit I often correct Boy #1 (not necessary – yet – with his brother, for some reason). ‘But’ is often ‘bit’, ‘I’m going to’ is I’m gunna’ etc – but I suppose that really I need to bite the bullet and accept that as he gets older he’ll speak how he damn’ well likes!

  32. 18/11/2009 / 09:42

    Our two actually do sound like us, really strange through hearing them!!

  33. 18/11/2009 / 08:36

    Mine are starting to talk English with a Balkan accent, and the occasional American twang causing me to have to say ‘wa-T-er, boys, the word is wa-T-er, it has a ‘T’ in it, NOT a ‘D” which obviously went straight over their heads as we haven’t got to T in the alphabet yet.

  34. 18/11/2009 / 08:34

    So are you saying if I close my eyes I’ll imagine Yasmin Bleeth? Can you call me please? šŸ˜‰

  35. 18/11/2009 / 08:23

    Heather — that will be interesting…
    Alice — ha!

  36. 18/11/2009 / 08:18

    LOL. We have just moved up North (but we parents are Southerners) and just the other day my 21/2 year old said ‘Dancing’ with the a of alpha rather than the a of arm … we were like “NO!!!!!!! STOP!!!!! it’s daaaaaaancing!” Oh well, I guess we have to accept that if we move her to Yorkshire this is going to happen šŸ™‚ Although I’m hoping she will end up with a less broad accent šŸ˜‰

  37. 18/11/2009 / 08:08

    Oh Goodness no. although i’m not sure they sound exactly Finnish either. Some sort of Finnish English hybrid at the moment although I am sure it will come out as true Finnish when they start school.

  38. 18/11/2009 / 07:45

    The Man of the House seems to have the most influence on that score – he has a New Zealand accent.