Studying your letter actually resonated with me. Not as a result of I’m Asian-Australian myself, however as a result of I undeniably have what I name a “Jewish-Australian” accent.

Like my mother and father, I used to be born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. However 9 out of ten instances that I converse to somebody new, they inevitably ask me “So what a part of America are you from?” or “Is that an American accent I detect?” Initially reluctant to announce my Jewish id (a symptom of minority mentality, as you talked about in your letter), I used to depend on the excuse that I used to be introduced up on plenty of TV, often accompanied with an ungainly snigger that begged them to just accept this reply.

Though this excuse has a component of fact to it (as a child, I watched plenty of Nickelodeon and used phrases like “trip” and “soda” consequently) it by no means appeared to fulfill individuals, who would query me additional in disbelief. Ultimately, I’d additionally admit to the truth that I’m Jewish and that every one my Jewish mates appear to have the identical accent, and perhaps that has one thing to do with it. That is often when individuals’s eyes get actually large they usually begin nodding their heads in additional confusion, too awkward to query me additional.

Whereas I used to get embarrassed when requested about my accent, I’ve lately come to embrace the reality and have began to easily reply, “Oh I’m not American, I’m simply Jewish.” Principally as a result of it ends the dialog shortly. However I additionally assume that it’s necessary that folks perceive that completely different cultural and spiritual demographics have completely different Australian accents and dialects, however that doesn’t make us any much less Australian. Answering actually seems like an affirmation of my Jewish-Australian id — one thing that I can’t disguise even when I attempted, evidently due to my Jewish-Australian accent.

— Talia Slonim

Having lived in Hong Kong for a couple of decade and a half and being a reasonably proficient Cantonese speaker, I can hear the accent you describe and have a idea for it.

Whereas the Asian-Australian accent is nothing so pronounced because the native Hong Kong-English accent, my speculation is that there’s something within the cultural Chinese language linguistics that give rise to the accent you describe. First, as you recognize, Chinese language has only a few connecting phrases (i.e. the verb “to go” is a single character, so there isn’t any “to” equal) and Chinese language is wealthy in single characters (or restricted character phrases) that carry broad meanings. Subsequently, I’m questioning if the heritage of minimal-language-for-vast-meaning isn’t enjoying out in Asian-Australians by being minimalists with phrase sounds? Subsequently, whereas being fluent English audio system with Australian accents, a nod to Asian heritage comes by (maybe subliminally) through diminished sounds per phrase. Only a hunch.

— Michael Corcoran

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