When do children develop an accent?

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  • When do children develop an accent?
  • Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Naturally, being RP, I don’t have an accent*, but Mrs North is a Northernist and so is Toddler North.

    Lil Miss North is 2.5 years old, and her words are starting to take certain shapes. Most notably words Like “duck”. I’d say “dahk”; Mrs North says “dook”. Missy says “durk”. Like she’s from Stoke. Or possibly related to Inspector Clouseau.

    How soon before I can train it out of her or have her adopted?

    *RP is clearly an accent. And I’m not especially RP these days, what with living in the outer reaches of civilisation.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
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    Mrs S and I are from SE England and therefore do not have accents. We now live in Scotland and all of our kids have lived here their whole lives.

    Eldest speaks with either english or scottish accent, depending on circumstances. She is bilingual and turns it on and off as she likes
    Middle child is very scottish, not a hint of english accent, (nice scottish)
    Youngest, who is a boy mainly just shouts and whinges so quite hard to tell but probably more english sounding that scottish.

    Not sure what that all means.

    patriotpro
    Member

    “RP” ❓

    Premier Icon miketually
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    A colleague wife is French and they’re bring up their kids bilingually. I think they had French accents even as babies: they gurgled differently to our kids.

    Being from the North East, I speak proper. I’m worried that my kids might sound a bit posh though, as they call my wife mum instead of mam. Though, not as posh as OMITN sounds.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    @franksinatra – went to a friend’s wedding in the summer. She’s from aberdeen and has an accent to match. Her sister’s accent is even stronger.

    Both their parents are English and very RP. I found it most disconcerting!

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Being from the North East, I speak proper.

    Howayhinneymanpet!

    torsoinalake
    Member

    I remember reading somewhere that speech is formed in different parts of the brain in children and adults, which is why you can’t learn a different language without having an accent as an adult.

    Not sure when the switchover is, but you better get cracking.

    bokonon
    Member

    We left Essex when the eldest was 7 middle one was 5, and they both had (tame) Essex type accents, mum and Dad both RP type accents – we are now in the midlands, and they have been shifting their accents slightly (in the last 6 months!) – so they are pretty malleable at that age.

    Premier Icon miketually
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    Howayhinneymanpet!

    Whay ner a’hm no’ a Geordie like.

    Premier Icon miketually
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    My brother seems to pick up accents as he moves around, but they add together. When he lived in Newquay he sounded Australian. Apparently, it’s gone very odd now that he’s living in Canada.

    Premier Icon dknwhy
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    Kids tend to adapt to their environment. My step daughter moved down south when she was 2 1/2 and at 12 still has the slightest accent. She pronounces almost everything the same as a Laahdoner(bath, grass etc).
    When she stays with her dad in the holidays she develops a slight accent but it’s probably more to fit in, similar to a “telephone voice”.
    I think if you’re careful to weed out the foreign words such as “meither” instead of “bother”, “roll” instead of “balm cake” then the accent will fade over time without resorting to beating. Obviously, living in London she is still able to support United so we’ve not had an issue with that.

    Premier Icon binners
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    Going to school in Manchester, I’m constantly disappointed that neither of my daughters sound like Shaun Ryder

    Premier Icon mintimperial
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    Based on my son and his friends their accents can be quite clear right from when they start speaking, but it can change noticeably over time and even depending on who they’re speaking to. Presumably it’s still quite fluid when they’re young and it gets more fixed the older they are.

    I have a Yorkshire accent, but my wife speaks proper, and my son is forever switching between saying “grass” and “grarse”, “bath” and “barth” and suchlike. I’m hopeful that he’ll settle down and stop talking like a ridiculous southern pansy now he’s started school in the north full time though…

    richpips
    Member

    My MIL said the other day, my 10yo daughter sounds common.

    I said you mean like everyone else in our village. 😉

    hilldodger
    Member

    There’s only one thing worse than speaking like a witless yokel and that is phoenticising your uncouth dialect when writing……

    I’ve an RP accent (strange seeing as supposedly only 3% of the population have it, yet almost the entirety of STW, must be like being and above average driver).

    I grew up in Wales though and left aged 11, friends who stayed untill they were 18 have really strong accents so I’d go with puberty.

    growinglad
    Member

    My kids are doomed.

    Wife speaks Greek to em….err hxello peeps!! I instruct them to talk proper like…one of the boys, 2 and a bit, said to me “alright mate” the other day…so proud!!
    They go to a Swiss German Kindergrippe and I’ve been told are speaking the local lingo…not that I would notice…it’s all foreign to me.

    Any my sister who swapped her nationality and has been living in Leeds/Sheffield for donkies speaks all NM.

    After a few days at Christmas and spending time with Auntie I caught one of em saying saying something in Northern.

    Actually not sure how many others have witnessed young bilingual kids…really quite impressive.

    globalti
    Member

    I’ve never been quite sure if RP is neutral English or posh English. By posh I mean very upper class and the way people spoke up to the fifties and sixties – you can hear it in black & white movies. A few people including my Mum still speak that way.

    We kids had to learn Geordie pretty damn fast when we moved from rural Oxfordshire to Tyneside when I was 15. Whyaye.

    nickhart
    Member

    int womb tha nose
    i love accents and think that it’d be a crime if they were lost but then i dont want my kids sounding like chavs either! funny old me.

    hjghg5
    Member

    I was brought up in the midlands but my parents are from Yorkshire and Lancashire. I always got comments at school that I sounded really “northern” but now I live in Leeds I think I sound pretty southern. Once at a party I was speaking to someone who correctly identified (without ever having met me before) that I was brought up in Warwickshire. I wasn’t aware that there *was* a Warwickshire accent, let alone that I had it, and my vowels are very different to those of my school friends.

    My sister on the other hand went to a different school, closer into Birmingham and spent her teens talking like a proper brummie. That disappeared when we moved to Yorkshire, and has gone through various phases. She’s now settled in Lancashire and picking up that accent, as is her 3 year old son who sounds like he’s going to end up properly Lancastrian. They seem to be encouraging him in his northernness, as he also spends a lot of time wearing a flat cap…

    Premier Icon firestarter
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    My mates Mrs is German and they met when we were over there in the army , she couldn’t speak English so learnt it from him and despite never having been to Newcastle she spoke with ac really strong geordie accent like his. It was quite comical

    Premier Icon Smudger666
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    My brother in law and his wife are both native scots and moved to wolverhampton 4 yrs ago.

    They had twin lads 1 year later.

    Since the boys started speaking, they have had a broad brummie accent courtesy of their childcare providers.

    The best bit is hearing them using scotch words with their accent!! It cracks me up everytime I hear them.

    Mini-DBW #1 is 3. From about 2.5 he developed the best West Yorkshire accent I’ve ever heard.

    “Ah dernt nerrr” (equals “One does not understand what you mean, whatwhatwhat” in case you southerners were having problems decrypting that)

    Proud dad. #2 should be here any day now too so I can be proud dad x2.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Mrs North’s father is very bothered about Toddler North developing a “local” accent (a challenge – we’re twixt Wigan and Liverpool).

    Ironic, given that he’s never shaken his Sunderland tones and his wife is distinctly “local” sounding, in spite of a career in teaching (or, perhaps, because of a career teaching in Wigan).

    That said, I did draw the line at my daughter pronouncing “fairy” as “furry”.

    edlong
    Member

    Children start developing an accent when they start speaking. Not wanting to sound overly patronising, but isn’t that bleedin’ obvious?

    I remember reading somewhere that speech is formed in different parts of the brain in children and adults, which is why you can’t learn a different language without having an accent as an adult.

    The language acquisition bit of the brain largely degrades from the age of 12ish, which is why kids younger than this can pick up new languages without much effort, but it is increasingly difficult as you get older. As I recall (undergrad level linguistics but, er, some years ago) they’d established this effect but I’m not sure they’d pinpointed it to specific areas of the brain. More research may have been done since then however, so what I just said could quite easily be utterly wrong. Glad I could help.

    On accents, one thing that is interesting is the way some accents seem to cling on harder than others – I know some northern Englishers who moved to London and sounded like extras from Eastenders within months, but a Glaswegian who’d lived there for twenty odd years still sounded very, very Glaswegian.

    edlong
    Member

    Children start developing an accent when they start speaking. Not wanting to sound overly patronising, but isn’t that bleedin’ obvious?

    I remember reading somewhere that speech is formed in different parts of the brain in children and adults, which is why you can’t learn a different language without having an accent as an adult.

    The language acquisition bit of the brain largely degrades from the age of 12ish, which is why kids younger than this can pick up new languages without much effort, but it is increasingly difficult as you get older. As I recall (undergrad level linguistics but, er, some years ago) they’d established this effect but I’m not sure they’d pinpointed it to specific areas of the brain. More research may have been done since then however, so what I just said could quite easily be utterly wrong. Glad I could help.

    On accents, one thing that is interesting is the way some accents seem to cling on harder than others – I know some northern Englishers who moved to London and sounded like extras from Eastenders within months, but a Glaswegian who’d lived there for twenty odd years still sounded very, very Glaswegian.

    djglover
    Member

    Moved 12 weeks ago from London to West Yorkshire, kids are 4. Me and the Mrs are both from N Yorkshire, but accent dumbed down by spending 12 years in London in corporate middle management

    Twin 1 – not much change in accent so far, no detectable regional accent
    Twin 2 – several words have Yorkshire ending, but twin 2 probably had more of an estuary accent going on before the move.

    So sample size of 2 very different results, to be honest I think this reflects their personalities too, twin no 2 is most likely to mimic trends set by other children and twin 1 is more independently minded.

    Its like being trapped in my own Robert Winston experiment

    ocrider
    Member

    Actually not sure how many others have witnessed young bilingual kids…really quite impressive.

    Isn’t it just! Children brought up in that environment treat language and accents as toys. After spending the christmas break in Ireland, our 4YO came back to France sounding as if she had spent her life in Co Mayo and the following day just switched back to her usual little french girl accent (although to her mum’s delight she is now definately mam)

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    after 6 months, for sure – we got our edest out of birmingham by then

    My sister-in-law moved to california when her kids were 9 and 12 – both started to fake a local accent almost immediately and were fixed “in” it pretty soon. 10 years later and their “english” accent is very much dick van dyke

    (used to know a couple who were very cosmoplitan indeed – French Arab and Middle Europe somewhere. Their kids had 5 languages: parents spoke english and each grandparent spoke a different other language to them. They were pretty much fluent in all of them aged about 5 but couldn’t speak the “wrong” language at all to any of the grandparents)

    Premier Icon fatmax
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    I’m from Sunderland originally, so Howayhinneymanpet and Mam instead of mum made me laugh.

    Currently living in Edinburgh and wor lass is Scottish. Both of the kids started to get a more Scottish accent when they got to about 4, and at six my wee boy has quite a strong but nice accent. Especially compared to my sister’s kids who live near Stansted…I couldn’t be doing with all the cor blimey guvnor chat, I’d have to move rather than inflict that on my kids!

    Premier Icon miketually
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    in spite of a career in teaching (or, perhaps, because of a career teaching in Wigan).

    I still remember a coursemate from Derby on my primary education course being told off by a lecturer because she described a candle as having a “dint int’ bottom” instead of saying there was an “indentation in the base”.

    My wife did supply at a ‘posh’ primary near us. She was doing a lesson on rhyming words: the words didn’t rhyme when she said them but did when the kids said them.

    Local accents are now on the list of things that Ofsted look for now, I believe.

    jota180
    Member

    Actually not sure how many others have witnessed young bilingual kids…really quite impressive.

    Indeed

    I remember when mine were younger and we were staying at the in-laws in Naples.
    Me and the kids sitting having an ice cream at a pavement cafe when some argument started after a moped rider hit a ped.
    Anyway, the kids sat there and took it all in, the oldest one [9] just kept saying to me “you really don’t want to know what they’re saying dad”

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Children start developing an accent when they start speaking. Not wanting to sound overly patronising, but isn’t that bleedin’ obvious?

    This was intended to be a fairly lighthearted thread. But, yes, you’re right, it is obvious (hence the fact that so many people posting have different accents from either or both of their parents).

    The only thing for it is to lock her away from her mother, and any other northerners, until she’s at least 16. In that time she should only listen to Charlotte Green reading the news on repeat.

    thomthumb
    Member

    my GF was born in yorkshire and had a thick yorkshire accent (parents both cockneys though) her and her brother quickly dropped the yorkshire accent at school and picked up a posh southern accent.

    Funny when we go north and she drops back into it, without realising, cos it looks like shes taking the piss!

    Edukator
    Member

    Very young. Junior called his mum Bwabwa when a todler, then Baa and now Baab, but has remained incapable of pronouncing her name. So much for our RP. English relatives say he sounds French though he sounds normal to me apart from those Rs. 😕

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
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    RP = right posh 😉

    Mr bh from Wigan, had strong Lancs accent as a child, now speaks with a soft Mancunian accent.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
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    Mr bh from Wigan, had strong Lancs accent as a child, now speaks with a soft Mancunian accent.

    You need to stop beating him. It’s getting cruel 😉

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
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    If only, I’ve been tied to the kitchen sink for the last week.

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