Thanks to the SNL skit about Rob Ford, I've come across a couple of articles about the Canadian accent, of course staunchly declaring that we never say "aboot." I don't care about that (although the only Canadians I've ever heard using anything close to that pronunciation are my Scottish-born grandparents, and I grew up calling a lazy susan a "roonaboot"). But I have had a post about accents lurking in the back of my mind for a while.
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to have an accent. My family went to Australia for two months when I was ten years old, and within two weeks, I had picked up what I thought was an authentic Australian accent (I'm sure it wasn't). I've always kind of picked up some traits of whatever accent surrounds me (I still say "Tin-ih-see" instead of "Tennessee" after a week spent in Knoxville).
But for everyday life, I was desperate to have some kind of accent. British, preferably, but I would have settled for Southern or something too. My problem was that I can't fake an accent to save my life. I have to be immersed in it in order to pick it up.
Fast forward twenty years. Of course I don't care about accents anymore, other than noting the beauty of the way people from different areas speak. I live in the city, but I was raised in a much smaller community for most of my childhood. And I recently realised that I do have a slight accent, compared to my city-raised friends, or at least my ideal of how English should be pronounced. You could call it "country" or "wrong-side-of-the-tracks" or something like that. Specifically, I pronounce "for" and "your" as "fer" and "yer" when I'm not paying attention. "Our" is pronounced as the one-syllable "are", much to my Eastern-raised husband's annoyance. I'm sure there are other things I don't pronounce strictly as they should be. My grandparents, who lived across the street from us, had a noticeably "Canadian" accent, so I'm sure mine draws from that, as well as many other sources.
This used to embarrass me, and I still try to correct myself when I remember. I'm usually quite precise in my speech, so I was shocked when I noticed my less-than-precise pronunciations. But I've decided to embrace this side of myself. There is nothing wrong with a country dialect. And I tell myself it makes me more interesting.