I’m not a native Tagalog (or should I say Filipino?) speaker, being born and raised in the East Coast of Samar. This did not matter at all to me until I reached college when my accent became the brunt of a lot of jokes. The jokes got so bad that I became so self-conscious I had to practice what I had to say in my head first before uttering them out loud. My other Bisaya friends decided to take an entirely different route and soon got the upper hand: they decided to ditch Tagalog altogether and speak only in English with non-Bisaya speakers.
And so the picture above got me thinking along “nature versus nurture” lines – how and why do we develop accents? Are some people, for instance, genetically predisposed to mangle their i’s and e’s? Or is it due to a common staple in one’s diet (e.g., salty foods harden the mouth and tongue muscles the same way they harden our arteries)?
I have since managed to shed my Waray accent except for a few forgivable lapses every now and then. I guess it took about four years. But if your accent is getting in your way and you need to get rid of it fast, then it might be time to undergo an accent reduction therapy.
Here’s a very funny clip of Michael V., aka Bitoy, as an American Accent Trainer giving some pointers on the do’s and don’ts of putting a call center’s clients in their “linguistic comfort zone.” (Source: Youtube)