Accents and the brain
A researcher at University College London who is looking into how we come by our accents, among other things, has found that more of the brain is involved in speech than previously thought.
An article in The Times explains how the brain of an impressionist was scanned while he was saying short phrases in a variety of accents, or as an impersonation of someone famous. The scan revealed that not only was he using the parts of the brain known to be involved with language, but also other parts involved with movement: one for visualising images and one for body movement. The conclusion was that he was “literally thinking himself into someone’s skin when he was adopting a different accent.”
It is suggested that this research could lead to new ways to help people with communication problems.
The question at the beginning of the article – “Why do some people hold on to their accents all their lives while others drop them overnight?” is no really discussed.
Do you still have the accent you had as a child? Or has it changed? Do you slip into other accents from time to time?
I used to have a bit of a Lancashire accent, but it now closer to RP and tends to vary depending on whom I’m talking to. I often slip into other accents, especially Scottish, Irish and Welsh ones.