Have You Ever Had an Accent Incident?

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Accents are unique to our cultures as anything and even in the U.S. accents can vary strongly depending on which region of the Country you live in.  I never actually thought about needing accent training in my life until I moved to Arizona from New York about 16 years ago.  My accent and speaking style were so fast that when I first arrived many people would ask me to slow down or repeat what I was saying.

In my corporate career during my first few years my speaking style actually came up in my performance reviews where one of my action items was to speak slower during conference calls.  After living in Arizona for 16 years my speaking pace slowed down a bit and my accent grew less thick with time but I still occasionally call into a phone line like I did a few months ago and am instantly recognized as having a NY Accent.

imageI even called into a support line and had an operator ask me immediately if I was a “Goomba” right off the bat before I even gave him my name.

For those who don’t know, Goomba is a slang term for an Italian American, and only an Italian America, and generally is from either NY, NJ, PA…etc.

I swear, I felt like people thought I should have went to some ESL in NJ courses before moving to the west just to drop my accent sometimes.

So my question for readers who stumble across this article is this:

Have you ever had an incident where your accent caused you embarrassment, confusion or have you been in a situation where you were interacting with someone and their accent caused a communication situation?  It can be something funny, something that may have lead to problems or even frustration.

Share your story here my fellow Goomba’s.

-Justin Germino

Updated: August 26, 2011 — 2:23 pm