Accents are complicated creatures. They’re hard to imitate and even more difficult to get rid of. You may think your British accent is spot on, until you actually have a conversation with a British person and they tell you how dumb you sound. Still, accents and mannerisms can stick to you if you spend a lot of time in a foreign place.
This is seems to be the case with Meghan Markle, who, a la Madonna, is sporting a very light, yet unmistakable British accent.
Meghan said my name, that’s me done😭 pic.twitter.com/167F2ubjUh
— Aya El Zeiny (@elzeiny99) June 14, 2018
Is the accent real or fake? Is it even possible for a person to adopt a British accent when they were born and raised in Los Angeles, California? Markle just got married in May. She has barely been in the U.K. long enough to know how to drink tea properly.
Conspiracy theory time. Since Markle is an actress, maybe she has an easier time adopting and accent? While it’s definitely strange, the accent produces results. According to one study, people who imitate accents may understand natives better, while also fostering feelings of closeness.
According to The Cut, it is possible to adopt a new accent, even though it’s very hard. In Markle’s case, it’s even harder since she’s been living in the U.K. for less than a year.
Jevon Heath, a linguist from the University of Pittsburgh, says that it’s almost impossible to absorb how people from other countries speak, even if you’ve been living there for years. “It can take years to become completely conversant in all features of a given speech variety, and most people, especially as adults, will never attain native-level fluency.”
Even though speaking like a native is almost impossible, it is very common for people to adopt certain elements of an accent. This is called “accommodation,” and it’s demonstrated when people adopt regional slang, sounds and intonation. This tends to happen unconsciously, and it might be what happened to Markle.