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The Evolution Of My Accent!

Yesterday while at Starbucks a random stranger inquired about my accent.

I was tired and not in the mood to “mask” so clearly I slipped while ordering my cappuccino.

“I’m Trinidadian American”, I told him and I said it proudly.

It was something I would NOT have done a decade ago.

As a Trinidadian immigrant, my accent is the voice of my deep island heritage.


It escapes ever so often especially when I’m frustrated at work related meetings.

In order to correct quickly, I repeat the words, hoping no one would notice that I had done so.


My team notices and they often make fun of me since my accent is a dead giveaway that they are in trouble.

For the first few years of living in America I was made to feel embarrassed about my accent.

My earlier employers would laugh at my words since they assumed I was unintelligent. “An immigrant fresh off the boat seeking opportunities in a new country.” (Yes, that happened)

People assimilate not as a matter of admiration, but more as a means of survival. This is what I did.

By year # 5 my Trinidadian accent was hardly recognizable.

I would only use it when communicating with my husband or other Trinidadian Americans.

I consciously compromised my roots for acceptance and to be better understood.


This was necessary for me to be successful.

I have no regrets.

My ears have become more receptive to the noises of the islands after two decades of living in America. I can detect a Caribbean accent without any great effort.

The advice I offer to incoming immigrants is not to compromise yourself to the point where you are unrecognizable.

You do what you must to survive but never ever forget where you came from.





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