Never One Place.

I constantly code switched all the time without even realising. I remember when I was younger having to move all around the country and even outside of it. I also remember throughout all of this my voice changing. It would change from being a VERY strong southern accent to a very moletone casual accent. The part that was exceedingly bad about it was the amount of judgment I received in the process. Everywhere I went they said I had an accent because by the time I truly got used to a certain voice I had to move. It’s amazing how much people’s opinions change of you solely because of the way your voice sounds. Your voice is a tricky thing and can make or break your relationships if the other person isn't very fond of it.

    I remember from the very early stages of my life having a very southern accent. I never truly noticed my voice changing until I moved so while I was in South Carolina (my birthplace) I never noticed anything wrong or different with my voice. Since it was normal for everyone else it became normal for me. Along with the voices I heard there, the culture was very different as well. People down south generally group themselves around their families and the families down south are HUGE. Everyone just seems a lot more connected. Also people down south seem to keep themselves busy a lot more often, they never seem to have nothing to do. They also eat a lot more seafood such as: Crabs, shrimp, and clams. Another thing I found that they cared about more was going outside. They always made sure you had enough time outside each day and made sure you didn't come in.

  The next place I remember moving to was Barbados in the Caribbean. They also like A LOT of seafood, I actually kinda believe they like it more. They also like to have a lot of outside time. They are even very connected with one another however not as strongly as they are in the south. However everything is way more fast paced including the speech. The speech there is very hard to comprehend if you have recently come from the U.S. The language there is very slanged and doesn't even seem like English half the time due to it’s very strong accent although I don’t particularly think the people who live and have grown up there believe so. Plus everything comes out with such speed and aggression that sometimes it can be intimidating. I always thought to myself if there is any accent I would least like to be yelled at it is definitely without a doubt a Barbadian one. It just sounds so fierce and aggressive when they are just trying to be gentle. Then when the first time I got yelled at came I didn't know what do because not only was it scary I couldn't even understand. Barbadian voices completely change whenever they have any kind of strong emotion. You can always tell how one another feels just by the way you sound.


 The next place I remember vividly was when I moved to Washington (State). Washington was a very slow paced take it easy laid back sort of State with a voice to match along with it. Everyone there talked so sslllooowww and melancholy I began losing my mind it felt like. I believe that this was one of the hardest transitions for me primarily due to the fact that no one understood me. To them it was like I was speaking Latin, if you asked them what language I was speaking they probably wouldn't be able to tell you. It was so fast and aggressive to them with a few words only used in Barbados. For a few months I was unable to communicate with most people I encountered wilts I was there. When my voice changed I hadn't even realized it I guess it was just a psychological thing because whenever I ask my Mom about it, it was kinda what I expected to happen. My voice slowed down to be on par with everyone else's however I still said a lot of Bajan words. I also still had the accent but, it was like the perfect mixture of the two.

   A couple months after my brother was born there my family moved to Virginia. Nothing really happened here however their speech was a bit quicker and they said my voice sounded funny. However the real memories were from when I moved to New york. It only took a couple of weeks for my voice to adjust back to being faced paced and I immediately gained friends. It was as if my voice made people dislike me prior to it changing. Although I had gotten used to the speech in New York I remember then having to move to Philadelphia. Philadelphia wasn't too much of a change because speech here hardly differed from New York so it was extremely easy for me to adapt to my new environment and make many friends rapidly. So after thinking back to all of this now as a teen and realising how much peoples views/opinions on me changed along with my voice. My voice now changes extremely fast according to whoever I’m speaking with. Code-switching happens all the time sometimes without us ever even noticing but, it can change your whole relationship with somebody from the very first word you speak out of your mouth.

Comments (2)

Kareem Davis (Student 2017)
Kareem Davis

1) Didn't really grab me, just gave me a bunch of information which was cool too. 2) I learned that you have had to changed your speech a lot, and I wonder if you hadn't moved so much before you got here, would you still sound the same? With you coming and doing from the South and Barbados, I wonder if that really impacted your final resulting speech pattern now. But other than that, I learned where you've been in the past couple of years, and how that affected you. 3) The only thing I feel like it needs are some anecdotes. You have tons of reflection and back story to me, but that didn't give me the clear enough picture of how your speech changed. I understood how, but just would like to see how it would compared to now.

Jun-Jie Zou (Student 2017)
Jun-Jie Zou

Something that really surprised me was that I didn't know that you have so much of an accent to the point where you are being made fun of. You have a Southern accent was also something new I learned from you. Something that I would add to your essay is, the quotes from the texts that we read in class and some dialogue. I really enjoyed reading your essay!