I fear it may be. He’s been here nearly 20 years. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s fading or if I’m just not hearing it any more out of familiarity. Occasionally, one of my American friends will look to me to “translate” for him and scoff at my concerns that his accent has flown back to France. But for every one of those moments, there’s another where a stranger won’t know that he’s French.
It’s a huge bummer. I love French accents. I find them sexy, charming. Say anything tossed with a French accent and the world is instantly tinged with excitement and adventure. Even if the speaker’s grammar is horrible and they are talking about something boring, like cars or lawn care, I still bask in the sound of it all.
When I tell people my husband is French, often they don’t realize I mean that he’s actually from France. “You mean French French? Like from France?” Yeah. The real kind. Not the way I’m “Irish” just because my hair is red and my skin gets pink after 20 seconds in the sun. Americans love to say they are “Italian” or “Irish” or “Mexican,” even though sometimes those roots are so far back that there’s nothing Italian, Irish, or Mexican about them. I get it. We’re all, on some level, searching for our identity. To ground us, connect us.
My husband is really from France. He came across the pond with only a basic grasp of our language. Now, he’s way too good at it. Seriously. The guy almost never trips over grammar issues or spelling, and he often corrects my mistakes. I knew I was marrying a smart man, but I didn’t think it meant that his accent would fade. Not cool.
Most of our French friends aren’t bicultural couples, so the language spoken in their homes is French. Meaning their English is good enough to get through the workday, but not something they’re using all the time. Thus, their accents remain thick and distinctly French. We speak mainly English in our home. My husband’s accent does get stronger when he’s around other French people and/or when he’s drinking. Keeping him drunk all the time isn’t an option, nor is spending every waking moment with the in-laws. So for now, when he asks me, “Am I saying this right?” I just smile and nod, and I don’t tell him the truth. Because that accent is so irresistible.
That is too funny. Mo often tells me my Texan accent comes right back when I talk to my sisters. I would have to say I would prefer to have a French accent as I have alway loved the French language. Do whatever is necessary for him to retain his wonderful accent. Loving your blogs.
I’ve heard your cute Texan accent, Rod. Love it. Thanks for reading!
Australian accents are my thing…they just sound so happy and upbeat!
I agree. I also love New Zealand, and Irish, and South African… I’m a sucker for accents of many kinds.
Even when I can’t understand what he’s saying, I love my French boyfriend’s English; you are so right about “even if they’re talking about cars or lawncare,” I could listen all day! Sometimes I tell him, “Just keep talking.”
Yep! Thanks for reading!
I have been told that my French accent is fading. I believe that it is a good thing but some of my American friends are actually getting angry at me for “losing” my accent! They love it so much, I think it’s funny. But give me a few glasses of wine and somehow my brain switches back to French!
It’s the same with my husband – one or two glasses in and he’s unmistakably French. I think you Frenchies don’t realize how charming your accent is! Thanks for reading!