Every once in awhile, my daughter will spit out something with a distinct Southern drawl. Mind you, she’s spent all three years of her life in upstate New York, but my little Yankee has a rebel Daddy influencing her muddled patois.
So where does the Scottish accent come from? And where did my four-year-old cousin in Philly get the Boston pronunciation of his vowels? Definitely not from his New York-born parents.
Most kids develop speech patterns akin to their parents, and they adjust as they get older to those of their surroundings. My aunt in North Carolina still sounds like a born and bred New Yorker. Her kids sound like they were raised in the South – which they were.
I, on the other hand, have an accent formed by a childhood with a mother from North Jersey and a father from upstate New York and an adulthood with a husband from down South. When I people started questioning my sudden acceptance of country music after years of complaining about the twang, I had to admit I’d become immune. I live with the twang. And that twang, in a sea of fast-talking New Yorkers, is all it takes for our daughter. She calls one of my best friends – who has her own Long Island-ese, by the way – her aunt Taaayeruh, a distinctly Southernized version of Tara.
I’m stumped, however, on the Scottish and British words that pop out of her mouth – the insistence that her toys stop being “nawty” in a voice reminiscent of the SuperNanny (which we don’t watch, or at least, not with her awake). And that Bah-ston accent of my little cousin? He can pahk that cah in his toybox, but it’s not leaving Pennsylvania.
Is this just another weird thing in my family, or do your kids spit out strange accents?