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I Am Insecure About My Accent

I Am Insecure About My Accent

Some people out there are struggling with their looks.

Some people get really caught up in this social media illusion about -oh if you want a perfect body go be like this model and that model. Oh, if you want a good life you’ll have to live up to this standard and that standard. Some are really insecure about how they weigh.

Me? I’m insecure about how I sound. In English, specifically. I’m insecure about my accent. I always think that my English accent is terrible, a big turn off, and such an ew. Gross.

insecure about accent
See how Indonesian accent doesn’t make the list? Yeah. Source: Nexter

I always wish that I sound like a general American or a BBC British. Or Australian. I’m down with whatever accent -as long as it’s not Indonesian (or any Asian country accents in particular).

My friends don’t even think I sound Indonesian. Like, it’s mixed. Sometimes, I sound like black. Sometimes, I sound like a mean, white blonde girl. Sometimes, I can sound Indian, or British, or Australian. Sometimes, I sound American. I don’t know, it’s too mixed, you know? Because for every word, I just pick whatever accent that fits my tongue. I hate it.

Some people out there are struggling with their looks. Some get really caught up in this social media illusion. Me? I’m insecure about my accent.

How I learned my English

I learn my English through music, book, memes, news, and movies, so I don’t really have a guide of how am I supposed to sound. Which pronunciation should I stick to? British? American? Australian? I don’t know. I’d just pick whatever fits my tongue and that’s it.

I had this one friend back in grade 7. He was an Indonesian, but he’d been living his life in Exeter (or London? idk), UK. We were in this speech competition thing when I got started to know him and I was like,

Hey, are you England?

Corny 21 Savage ICE meme cause why not ☕

I was dumb, really. I was that dumb. Maybe I still am. Maybe I’m good at writing English, but when it comes to speaking, I don’t care how many years I live in an English speaking country I’m always going to sound like this.

And I hate it. I don’t know. I know accents aren’t the official measurement of someone’s intelligence quality, but you know, insecurity. I used to be so shy about it. It was really thick. Like, thicc thicc. My pronunciation and grammar were so damn atrocious.

I’m pretty sure my friends don’t really care about it but I do. No matter how hard I try to feel good about it, it’s always one of those things that make me wanna quit speaking English and just go back and cook some rendang beef thing and sniff on some choki-choki.

I do know accent is something we have to cherish; it’s like the identity that we take with us. It does not represent my intelligence quality. One thing it does represent is I: Rafly Gilang. The brown Indonesian kid –and his upbringings. It’s not like I’m not proud of my root or something, no. I do love Indonesia with all my heart. I represent.

Growing up Indonesian

An interesting read by Frieda Handoko about growing up as 1.25 generation Indonesian-born-Chinese-Australian. Go check her out here!

Growing up Indonesian makes you sound Filipino, but you are not really a Filipino. You know how we always omit the ‘r’ at words like ‘letter’, ‘better’, ‘Potter’, ‘shelter’, ‘December’, and ‘darling’ in English? The Indonesian language is the exact opposite. We aggravate the r.

/dih-sem-ba/? Nah. We say it ‘DÉH-SÉM-BERRR’.

How do you say ‘car’?

/ka:/? Nah. We say it ‘KAR’

RRRRRRRR. You get me? It’s more of American but I don’t think it’s American enough to be American. And there are a lot more other examples but I can’t mention all of them now.

Another thing about the Indonesian language is that the way words are pronounced is exactly the same as how they’re written. Sometimes, we even jokingly call English as ‘a hypocrite language’ because of its way of pronunciation is not as same as its way of writing.

Let’s put the word ‘kulkas’. It means ‘freezer’ in English. We pronounce it as /kul.kas/. Meanwhile, its English word (freezer) is pronounced like /ˈfrēzər/. Why not /fré.é.zér/?

The way words are pronounced in Indonesian language is exactly the same as how they’re written.

Accents development and stereotype

Me trying to pick up a British accent.

So, how do accents develop? Apparently, it’s because we try to speak a different language but we’re still using our mother tongue’s dialect and rules. I know some people who are good at mimicking and faking their accents, but that just does not work for me.

Our accent is the result from how, where, and when we learned the language we are speaking and it gives impressions about us to other people.

There’s no such thing like the most perfect English accent because nobody speaks the fourteenth-century version of the English language now.

Accents develop because we try to speak a different language but we’re still using our mother tongue’s dialect and rules.

We should cherish our differences, rather than downgrade people who don’t look, believe, eat, or speak like us. I hate to be insecure about my accent and I don’t want anyone else to feel this way.

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