Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You'd think, right?

I was always slightly worried about my children and their accents. I am American, N is English. We live in England. I always worried that perhaps my children would be mocked at school or by friends for having a hybrid-accent (which is what I have). Do you think it could go either way? That having a bizarre accent to go with their mixed-race skin tone will make their exoticness seem sort of cool? I hope so. I hate the idea that my kids will feel out of place like I did growing up.

But it doesn't seem (so far) that I should have to worry about accents. Why? Because Elliot doesn't have even a trace of an American accent. It's all English. The one, ONE thing I insisted upon before giving birth to either of my children, is that they would call me 'Mommy' or 'Mom' instead of 'mummy' or 'mum'. Elliot decided to ignore that memo and firmly calls me 'Mummaaaaaaaay' It makes me wonder if I'm not such a big influence on his language as I thought I was. Surely, I am his biggest influence, having stayed at home with him everyday for nearly three years?

Edited to add: I just found this article on the Daily Telegraph that says 'Parents' regional accents may harm children' which explains that toddlers are more responsive to the pitch of the English accent, specifically over the North American accent.


  1. I think they'll develop their own twangs and adapt their language to suit. Children do this.

    I am born a Geordie, my parents and brother have such strong Geordie accents but I don't. I 'lost' mine, or rather I think I wanted to blend in when I left the area at 17. My husband is Scouse and my children have 'Northern' twangs.

    You accent, dialect and language choices add to your identity. Your children will develop language and tones to match their needs.With the social movement around the country, different strands of dialect/accent are beginning to form. People no longer marry from within the same village. It's what makes the English language so very fascinating!

    And I am sure that having an American mom will be seen as cool.

    I love language development. It was part of my PhD before I ditched it all to follow a whim :)


  2. This is so interesting.
    I have a good friend who is British living over here in the states and she insists that her daughter calls her mum. The daughter wants to call her mom and they can really get into arguments over it.

  3. This is such an interesting post. You'll have to keep us updated! I'm hoping my DH and I will be able to move to England for a three-year stint with his job in another few years, and it's possible I might have a kid by then. How weird for them to have a proper British accent when I've got a twangy Southern one and DH has his Midwestern non-accent!

  4. ah they are still young it could all change :) x

  5. I found you through Black Boxes...

    I must say, you have an absolutely beautiful page. I very much like the butterflies!

    Now, I am American, as well, living in the Northern Panhandle of WV. My youngest, who just turned 7 this previous Saturday, called me Mummay for almost two years! I thought it was adorable and was quite sad when he started calling me Mommy. This little bit is just to say that, despite where we live, our children are hardwired uniquely. Show siblings the same picture and they will each remember something different. Your son will always know you are his mother. What he calls you is a reflection of who he is. Love him. Embrace his unique personality quirks.

    On a side note, you have two extremely striking children. Beautiful.


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