I don’t have an accent.
That always starts an argument over here.
“Yes you do!” people say. “You have a British accent. You sound different to us Canadians.”
And that’s true enough. But people don’t often say “Is that a British accent?” They say “Where’s that accent from?” and when I say “The UK.”, they say “Oh yeah? London?”
Because, you know, most of the UK is covered in London. Except for the bit that is Scotland.
Anyway, when I say no, it’s not London, people ask where exactly it’s from. And I sigh, and say “It isn’t from anywhere. I don’t have an accent.”
I don’t have a REGIONAL accent, is what I mean. I was born Oop North, and grew up talking like this but when I was still quite young, we moved down south, where everyone spoke very differently. With only my brother sharing my peculiar way of speaking, I quickly adapted to a more moderate accent. I say “glass” with a long “a”, like in “Darcy”, rather than “passive”. When I say “castle”, it rhymes with “parcel”, not “hassle”. I may have picked up the Hampshire accent, but it’s not really very regionally distinct, so I can’t be sure.
The UK is rich with regional accents, and it’s quite amazing to consider the variation over such a small area. I still don’t understand the Canadian need to pin down a specific location, when so many of the people who are asking haven’t been to the UK, and (more importantly) don’t share any of our own regional prejudices.