I’ve made fun of my own accent in Spanish. Honestly, it isn’t very hard to do. I sound like a chick from the US trying to speak Spanish. Occasionally, I have gotten comments in other parts of Latin America about my Argentine accent, which is a shhh sound for the ll instead of the y-like sound used outside of Argentina and Uruguay. So calle sounds like ca-shh-e. This was problematic in taxis in Colombia too many times, so now most of the time I say ca-y-e.
In English, I have no real accent. I grew up on the east coast, so I definitely talk quickly but there’s nothing else notable about my twang when I chatter away. I remember as a child, I wished for the clipped tones of a British accent, always thinking it much sexier and interesting. I think it even was what made me love Simon LeBon. But I digress.
I’m not alone in my love for the tarty tone of the Brits. Even here in Argentina, people learn British English and it is always pretty funny to hear an Argentine switch into English and sound like Hugh Grant or Elizabeth Hurley.
This has made me realize a sad fact – a US accent just isn’t sexy or interesting. It’s just a plain ‘ol American accent. The kind from the movies or TV, I am told. In fact, I recall when I first started traveling around Latin America I hung out with a couple of Asian chicks. I was always the spokeswoman for the group; mostly because I knew some Spanish and if not, my English was the kind of English that almost anyone could understand. Useful, yes. Sultry and exotic, no.
Sigh. Oh, the plight of the first world white girl traveling the world!
My spirits were lifted about this sad syllabic state by my Spanish tutor when she told me recently that when I travel to Spain, my Argentine-ish accent will be seen as sexy by some Spaniards, like a British accent to my North American ear. For this, I was stoked. Finally, FINALLY, someone may develop a crush on me because of my accent!!
Eat your heart out, Keira Knightly! As I am sure that’s why all those boys love her.
Enough self-deprecation. For a girl from Ft Lauderdale, you are plenty sultry and exotic.
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