I found this fun little link on Twitter the other day: a quiz that proclaims to be able to guess which English dialect you speak, along with your native language. I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on the English language, in all its bizarre permutations (except for verb tenses of "lay"; I will never get those right), but the results, as they say on the internet, shocked me.
Most of the questions are either "Which picture best portrays this sentence" or "Which of these sentences is correct?", and as I went through it the first time, I was pretty liberal and considerate with my answers. A few of the questions allowed for more than one answer, so I selected more than one — considering some of the sentence structures that were not immediately instinctual for me to use, or were not my personal preference for grammatical comfort, but where nonetheless "right," or at least, not explicitly incorrect. Also a lot of it was in passive voice, which was mostly just frustrating, because whatever dialect I do speak, it certainly isn't passive voice.
The results? Apparently I speak with a "US Black Vernacular / Ebonics" dialect, and my native language is Portugese.
Hrm. Okay. Well that was not what I was expecting, especially having grownup in the famously "accent-less"* (according to us, and no one else) state of Connecticut. I know that I sometimes slip into Hiberno-English (especially when I've been drinking), and that my love of hard-boiled fiction narratives sometimes seeps into my otherwise cheery demeanor (I could be talking about how much I love ice cream on a sunny day, but I occasionally imagine myself doing it while standing in a dark alley wearing a trenchcoat to hide my face and smoking a cigarette, with a flask of whiskey hidden in my breast pocket).
So I took the quiz again, this time being less forgiving in my answers, and as predicted, I speak in a "US Standard English" dialect, with "American" as my native language. OKAY SO FINE I'M PREDICTABLE AND I WAS JUST BEING DIFFICULT BEFORE. Either way, it's a fun little quiz to take (if you can ignore the poor writing), so check it out when you have a chance.
*And yes, I know that this should be "dialect," not "accent" — right? Or should it? Okay, so maybe I don't know, but I think it's supposed to be dialect but most of us say accent anyway. THE POINT IS, I've been told that the indicator of a Connecticut dialect is a softening of "t"s in the middle of words, so that they sound like "d"s instead. You know, like the way we say "Conedikit."