It’s an all too familiar situation: You meet a new acquaintance from across the pond, hear just a beat of their delightful twang, and are immediately struck by the urge to parrot their accent directly back to them. Nothing would feel better to you in the moment, but as you well know, it’s a socially unacceptable move verging on mockery. Here’s how to avoid it, despite the temptation:
Prepare a script.
Planning ahead may help prevent a situation where you make a British person think, “Are they seriously fucking doing this right now?” Stand in the mirror and practice saying, “Hello, how are you?” with the most neutral American accent you can muster. Then when they approach, you’ll be ready to recite these words back to them instead of shouting “ELLLLLO!” like a South London puppeteer. Stick to the basics. Don’t normally call people “bruv”? Then don’t start now.
Get it out of your system in a safe space.
If you meet a Brit, your whole body will be flooded with a desire to burst out your best composite impression of every British accent you’ve ever heard. All that energy isn’t getting reabsorbed anytime soon, so if you’re really struggling, find a safe space where you and a friend can talk to each other in outrageous and, frankly, grating British accents for way too long. The most important detail is that the Briton is out of earshot, but rest assured, this will be highly annoying to anyone who hears it, regardless of nationality. Yew foken wot, mate!??!
Show yourself a little sympathy.
You’re not going to nail not speaking in a British accent when you meet a British person overnight, so go ahead and be patient with yourself. From Skins to Love Island and all the way to Sex Education, you have a lifetime of British slang and dialects stored up inside you, and it’s at the ready to come pouring out all over an unsuspecting laddie at any moment. Remember: they will not care for this. Safe!
So follow these tips and tricks and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to only non-stop formulating British accented statements in your head while a British person speaks. Cheers, love!