Teaching kids different accents

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

Irene Nam has recently been talking about the challenges of raising children to be multilingual.  I'm actually facing a similar, yet different, challenge -- that of teaching a child a particular accent.

You see, even though ever member of our family was born in a different country, we all speak English.  Yet, my British husband, Marcus, speaks with a distinctly English accent.  I speak with a hybrid Trinidadian/American accent, and Alex ... well, she's only two.  Still, judging from the words she uses and the pronunciations she favours, it's clear that her accent is developing into a considerably Trini one.

Marcus and I were talking the other day, and I remarked at how much he gets away with by having an English accent.  He gets better service in restaurants, people fall over themselves to help him in hotels -- heck, he even talked his way out of a speeding ticket once in Texas, just because the cop "loved the way he spoke."  He just gets the benefit of the doubt, merely because of the way he speaks.  Me?  I get no special treatment.  None.

So, we were thinking -- perhaps, while Alex is young, we should train her to speak with an English accent.  I mean, they're such little sponges at this age, and since her father is English, it's not out of the realm of possibility that she could learn to speak with the accent convincingly.  And this way, if we ever move back to the UK, she'll already blend in -- and if we don't, well, she'll have an advantage over her peers because of the way she speaks.

Thing is, I've never actually heard of someone trying to do this before.  I assume if we speak to her in an English accent all the time, we have a good shot.  And I think there are a couple of children in Alex's school who are British, so that will help.  But, since you guys were so helpful with Irene's predicament, I'm hoping someone out there has tried this with their own children -- is there anything else we should do?

(P.S. -- Happy April Fool's Day!)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.