I just got back from England. Three weeks in my native land, and during that time I discovered I’m now a Northwestern man. Nampa, Idaho, is home. It felt like I had undergone a tongue transplant.
The Way We Speak
Over the last nine years, I have adapted to the culture around me. Given that one of my primary roles is communicating ideas through the spoken word, it has been important that I find out how to do so effectively and efficiently.
With that in mind, I have forsaken some of my more prominent Anglicisms and, though my accent is clearly not rooted in local people groups, I can now hold conversation with most people and not get stuck on how I am speaking. Instead, we get to focus on the actual ideas being expressed.
Losing Our Roots?
Some people are sad on my behalf. When something as basic as your accent gets changed, it is perceived as a loss. To some extent, I suppose this is true. But I don’t perceive the loss in my day-to-day life. In my normal routine I am blissfully unaware of how I sound. Until somebody points it out, I am clueless.
This phenomenon is what made the recent trip to the UK so bizarre. I sounded funny to me by virtue of context. With all these Brits around me, I became very alert to my acquiescence, and thus my “transplanted tongue” syndrome. Once I returned to the States, I was for the most part settled again, though words like “rubbish” have found their way back into my vernacular.
You Are Where You Are (somewhat)
My present experience shows me how impacted we are by our cultural environment. We may not even notice the change in ourselves until we are put, once more, in contrast. The important thing to note, whether the change is arbitrary or fundamental, is which things you should fight to retain and which are acceptable morph points. Hold fast to what matters, and let the rest be the root to your present life.