Whenever I go home, I am teased mercilessly over whether I have developed a New York or New Jersey accent or not. I am surrounded by people daily who have them, and I absolutely adore those accents. I always make sure to pick out the different vowels and mouth them over and over to myself. If there is one accent I wouldn’t mind developing, it’s that. Not a British or French accent, don’t ask me why.
Unfortunately, I don’t find the way I talk to be any different than it was before. I was a fast talker to begin with, so that hasn’t changed. I still sound like a happy Midwest cheerleader (I get to listen to my voice to transcribe interviews, so yay me).
Although Midwesterners are supposedly without accents, after being here, I beg to differ. People in conversation with me have immediately known I’m from that region. Certain words are a dead giveaway. For example, “caught” sounds like “cot”. And for some reason, I can slide into a Northern Minnesotan accent like nobody’s business. Don’t ask me why, it just happens. (Probably because I’m infatuated with that one as well.)
Words are a different story. The one I seemed to have flawlessly adopted is “soda”. For all of my life, it has been “pop”.
“Do you want a pop? What kind of pop do you want?” It just made sense. A soda was a fancy ice cream treat, not a beverage.
Since arriving, I hear it from everyone. “I’m going to run out and get a soda. What kind of soda do you want – Pepsi or Coke?” It made sense to just exchange the word. Now when I hear the word “pop”, it sounds somewhat funny to me. Not worse, just different.
So of course, when I went down to retrieve the pop-sodas from the pantry during a family dinner in Iowa a couple weeks ago, laughter ensued. “Soda? What – are you kidding me?”
Not ashamed. Fuggedaboutit.