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How can someone speak their first language/mother tongue with an accent from another language?

asked 2020-06-23 14:58:02 -0400

McPopzi gravatar image

I was born and raised in Sweden and Swedish is my first language, however, my grandpa was an immigrant from WWII Germany and I spent a lot of time with him and granny. I started learning Geman at 13. I am now the only person in my family who speaks with a german "r" (tongue root) instead of a Swedish "r" (tip of tongue against upper row of teeth). German sounds also come easier to me than Swedish. I have been made aware by other people that I speak English with a slight German accent (mostly specific sounds). I am curious as to why it is this way for me. Is there a linguistic science behind it or is it mostly just connected to national identity?

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answered 2020-06-30 16:25:40 -0400

Lana gravatar image

I think if we are exposed a lot to a language, it will inevitably impact the way we speak other languages. Also we shouldn’t forget about the affective factor that also plays a great role in how both receptive and productive language skills are developed. My point is strong emotions/feelings we experienced while being exposed to a language will likely influence one or several language competency aspects. It’s possible that you’ve had a special bond with your grandpa and/or have had some vivid memories related to interacting with him which impacted some of your pronunciation aspects of your mother tongue. You might also have a special affiliation/liking/preference for the German culture and/or language since you’re saying that “German sounds come easier to me than Swedish”. Hope that helps.

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Asked: 2020-06-23 14:58:02 -0400

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Last updated: Jun 23 '20