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The Conundrum Of ‘Reverse Linguistic Stereotyping’

For example, when Ashley and her British-Japanese ex-boyfriend visited farmer’s markets, vendors wouldn’t understand when he spoke to them, but could understand Ashley, when she repeated the exact same thing. “They were so confused too, to see an Asian man with a British accent that they really could not understand anything he said.”

It was Kang’s reverse linguistic stereotyping in play.

For all the glamour of the American accent, Ashley’s colleagues at a German internship said that “an Indian accent in English is easier to understand than an American accent. And that I should try to speak more like the Indians working at the research institute.”

They thought the syllables were clearer and easier to understand when spoken in an Indian accent, perhaps due to exposure – most researchers in Ashley’s group were Indians.

My musings took me back to my childhood – like Gokhale, I spent some time Stateside, and had my American accent teased out of me once I returned to India.



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