<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Vocal Chameleon

I had myself worried for a while there. See, I've known since I was young that the way I talk changes depending on who I'm around. When I'm in the States, I don't say "eh" quite as much as I do around here. When I'm visiting friends in Florida, within a few days I notice that I've begun to speak more slowly, and that I can recognize in my own voice something almost like a drawl. If I watch Coronation Street for too long ... well, you get the idea.

Which is why I started to worry about my accent. It's a Sumner-Smith accent; really there's no other description for it, and each one of my immediate family members has their own version, dependent on various factors. For example, my brother's accent is closer to a "normal" Southern Ontario accent than mine is. And though the accent is slightly odd, and draws comments on occasions, it's mine. And reinforced by association with my family.

Yet the person I speak to most often these days is Carly, seeing as we live in the same apartment and all. And Carly does not have a Sumner-Smith accent at all. So vocal chameleon that I am, I realized that my various vocal quirks were most likely becoming slowly erased. And this most definitely seemed like a bad thing.

I mean, could I really have lost my really long hair and my uniquely lovely accent? Would the scars go next? My inability to see in the dark? All the other odd and quirky (and not necessarily positive yet still loved) aspects that I've used to define myself? Surely not.

Then today, as I was getting my lunch from the fridge, one of my co-workers said to me, "I've been meaning to ask you ... are you British?"

"No," I said happily, pulling out my sandwhich. "But my father used to be."

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 6:16 PM


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