I Stand Out But They Don’t Know Why

In my travels, I find it very interesting that when I meet new people, they often have a difficult time guessing my nationality. They usually can tell that I’m not from where they are from, but they typically have a hard time guessing where exactly that is.

Apparently, I talk funny and my features are nondescript.

Which, I don’t think so but, when I am traveling about, most people have not the slightest clue that I’m American unless I talk to them for an extended period of time. I think that it’s because I have this problem with accent mimicking. I tend to pick up on those around me and try to copy how they speak, sometimes intentionally, other times totally out of my control.

Now, I sort of make it a game. I have people guess where they think I’m from, before I will actually tell them. The answers typically vary based on the guesser’s native language, although, when English is their first language, it confuses me when they can’t guess correctly, but alas, here’s a list of some of the guesses that I’ve gotten. Some, I can see, others, not so much:

Dutch: This is funny, because I’ve been trying to learn Dutch, but it is one of those languages with a ton of sounds that I have never had to make in English, also known as, impossible.

Danish: The dude straight up asked if I had come to France from Denmark.

French: I said a few things in French to a French guy and after I told him that I was American, he was shocked. I said that I spoke French with a perfect accent. I was really excited about that.

Canadian: I get this from Americans a lot. I guess that I say the word “sorry” like a Canadian now.

English: I got English a lot from native Italian speakers. Which, I ain’t complaining, English is my goal accent.

Brazil/Spanish speaking country: So, this is funny, because one of my best friend’s in London is a fiery Latina diva who busts out Spanish randomly, and I used to mimic it, and now, whenever I get a few drinks in me, I pretend that I can speak Spanish or fall into the fake accent that I made up. She says that it sounds nothing like her, but I beg to differ with all of the people who guess that I’m Spanish.

African: This has been my favorite guess, but I guess it goes hand in hand with Dutch, since South Africa was a colony of the Netherlands and some of the inhabitants still carry Dutch features.

That’s just a few of the one’s that I’ve gotten. I never thought that I looked or sounded differently than every other American, but it’s a lot of fun to know that I could pretend to not know English when the situation arises that I would prefer not to.

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