Ever get mistaken for a foreigner in your own country?

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Fern
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05 Oct 2011, 10:54 pm

People don't ask me. They tell me "You're not a New Orleanian." It's very annoying. New Orleans accents are somewhat diverse but still very distinguishable, and being that most of my family has lived in this city for several hundred years you'd think I'd sound, or at least look like everyone else in my family/city. And yet even though I'm white... I look asian for some reason, and I talk like a news anchor (except for my tendency to confuse "r" and "l" in words). Go figure :roll:



TwistedReflection
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05 Oct 2011, 11:01 pm

I've been told that I look Eastern European, sometimes even Russian, a number of times.
I'm very pale, have very dark brown hair, and eyes that change in colour between brown and hazel depending on degree of exposure to direct sunlight, so I guess I do look foreign to most people. Oh, and I dress like I might be a part of the Communist Party (that is, uniformally).

I think that looking unlike your fellow nationals is a good thing, however, because it makes relating to actual foreigners easier than NTs of your own cultural background, and allows you to make friends within the broader ethnic spectrum.



Swordfish210
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06 Oct 2011, 4:13 am

My name usually is a dead giveaway, but most people here in Britain think I am british, although they cannot pinpoint from where exactly. Even my own countrymen think I am british when they talk to me. (I study in Britain and thus am living there for 3 years.) People back home do not know where in the country I am from, since we do have a lot of accents even though I have lived in the west all my life.

People really get confused when judging my age though, I get asked my ID to buy 16 restricted products; I AM NEARLY 21!


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06 Oct 2011, 4:46 am

Yep, because AS causes my voice to sound weird and some person thought I was a from another country. To be honest that was lone positive thing I have heard from another person in regards to how my voice sounds. Usually, when I speak, people think I'm that "R word".



Burnbridge
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06 Oct 2011, 5:14 am

People here in the midwest used to think I was British (because of the way I spoke) or German (because of the way I look) a lot when I was younger, up until my mid 20s.

Stepdad was british, and I picked up rather a lot of his speech habits.

I have noticed that more of a redneck drawl has crept into my voice as I get older, though. There's a tonal music to it that I find to be quite soothing, really. It's not an intentional shift. I do often notice the change, but don't try to "correct" it.



skenasis
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06 Oct 2011, 5:23 am

Yeah, I've been asked if I'm American (I'm Australian). One of the times I was asked, it was actually by an American.



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06 Oct 2011, 6:44 am

Yes. People often ask me if I'm foreign and consequently are suprised to find I'm native. Think it has more to do with my appearance than with my issues with speech, though. I've been told that I'd blend in, appearance-wise, in some southern countries. When I was a child, though, someone did once assume me to be foreign because I couldn't make out what she was saying nor was I good at speaking.



whiterat
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06 Oct 2011, 7:37 am

jrjones9933 wrote:
Yes, I speak good English without a drawl.
I have been asked if I am mainland Chinese/Taiwanese.

When I speak in Chinese/Mandarin, I try my best to speak grammatically and pronounce the words correctly. Personally I think people in mainland China and Taiwan (where Chinese is the working language) have better vocabulary and a more refined accent. I try to speak well without putting on an accent which doesn't come naturally to me, and not use words I do not fully understand.

I find that most of my Chinese Singaporean peers speak half the time in Chinese and the other half of the time in English. They could start a sentence in say, English, and switch to Chinese halfway till the end of the sentence. Throw in the Chinese dialect and Malay words, and maybe even Japanese among a group of friends who all know Japanese, and you might be hearing as many as 5 tongues in a conversation. I have learnt to decipher the meaning of what I hear people in school say, but I can't speak like that myself. When I do use more than one language in a conversation it's because

1. I am chatting in Chinese and I don't know what the Chinese equivalent of a medical/technical term is.
2. I am chatting in English. I don't know how to express how I feel about something, precisely describe somebody's behaviour or a trend. I have a word/phrase in Chinese or one of its dialects, Malay or Japanese (depending on who I am speaking with) to describe it. I use that word/phrase.

Otherwise, the main structure of what I am saying is in either English or Chinese.

(Anyone else have this problem?)

Another reason people have given for asking if I am a foreigner is because they say I "don't look Singaporean", or look more like a Malaysian/Taiwanese. To state my observations, I noticed that from secondary school, all the girls' faces seem to look more and more alike. (Though I am mildly faceblind, I don't think it's the faceblindness in this case.) And the face I see in the mirror is different from those multiple faces I see a lot in school.

I remember a conversation with one guy in a high school class:
Classmate: Are you Taiwanese?
Me: No I am not, I was born here and have been studying here all my life.
Classmate: But you've got to be, you must be!

As he did not elaborate his reasons for thinking so, I had to figure out why he said that by thinking of how differently I behave from the so-called "typical Singaporean youth".



Last edited by whiterat on 07 Oct 2011, 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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06 Oct 2011, 7:01 pm

smelly unshaven frenchmen ,I swear in french and get noticed.


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Tequila
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06 Oct 2011, 7:02 pm

At times, I wish I was. It might help some of you people if you were - that way some of your social difficulties might be excused a little.



Taupey
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06 Oct 2011, 7:17 pm

I often get Russians and other people from former Soviet Union countries ask me if I'm Russian. I"m half Russian Jewish and look very Russian. :)


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06 Oct 2011, 7:28 pm

Tequila wrote:
At times, I wish I was. It might help some of you people if you were - that way some of your social difficulties might be excused a little.


Good point when I was in Switzerland /France they put down my aspie behaviour down to being Aussie and they'd be right Aussies are kinda aspie right down to the poor dress sense :wink: (a friend of my Mom who's Swiss said she'd be to embarrassed wear the things she does here in Switzerland.



I did some of my schooling over their and was hardly bullied as a child their 8O back to Australia and it was game on mole. :cry:


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nikaTheJellyfish
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06 Oct 2011, 9:57 pm

everyone always asks me where I am from and then when I ask why they are asking they tell me I have an accent..... It's weird



tweety_fan
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07 Oct 2011, 7:44 am

I have been told that I sound polish once or twice but I am australian and I have no polish ancestry what so ever.



whiterat
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07 Oct 2011, 9:45 am

tweety_fan wrote:
I have been told that I sound polish once or twice but I am australian and I have no polish ancestry what so ever.
Have you actually heard a Polish accent before and compared your own accent against it?