A recent UCSD linguistics graduate wrote to me the other day with this request.
I wondered if you, or an appropriate colleague, might be able to provide a few brief comments about accent changes with short-term versus long-term exposure. I am specifically interested in the “how” and “why” elements. How do you expect accents to change with varying exposure and why do these changes occur? How do you expect speakers to react to changes in their own speech? Do they make changes to adjust back to original accent? Are they unaware of the changes until someone points them out?
(More specifically, this person’s interest is in “accent changes that Australians experience when visiting or living in the United States.”)
I have some semi-educated guesses about this based on personal experience and my general knowledge of linguistics, but that’s about it. Anyone else know more on this topic? Please comment!