The accent shift has already begun its swing.
Three years ago, within weeks of starting nursery in the UK, my expat kid was already speaking like an “English” girl, in accent: ”to-mah-to,” ”ba-nah-na;” and word choice: ”knickers,” ”loo,” ”tea” (for dinner), and ”home-time” (end of the school day).
She’s been in school here in Hong Kong for six weeks and change is afoot.
She firmly claims to speak “American-ish,” but what I hear emerging is an interesting mix of American and Australian with a dash of Cantonese-accented English. A sort of Asian-international school accent, I suppose.
But most striking of all is that the “r” sound at the end of her words has firmly returned; think of words like butter, art and here. This is a sound she’d clipped in England that has now roared back.
These little expat chameleons learn and change quickly. She’s adapted her speech, learned a whole new school’s worth of rules and “ways of doing things” and I still haven’t unpacked the books or found the local post office.