When I worked as a customer service representative, part of my job was to be on the phone and assist people calling from all over Europe.
We would mainly speak English. Now, I think my English is good enough, but I have an accent, of course. The thing is that I still have to figure out what kind of accent I have.
From people’s reactions on the phone, I came to the conclusion that I have some kind of multiple accent disorder. 🙂
“Are you Dutch? You have a Dutch accent” Yeah, right…
“Are you from Sweden? You have a Swedish name?” Do I, really?!
“I thought you were from England. Your English is so good” Ok…maybe this one was being ironic.
“May I ask you something personal? Are you Russian?” Yes, you can ask. And nyet, I’m not Russian.
“I hear a French note in your accent” Oh là, là!
Hardly anyone had a good guess. Sometimes Italian callers would ask if I was Italian. I don’t know if they recognized something in my accent. When answering the phone, we had to say our name, so I think it was that. But hey, I’ve a Swedish name, so I don’t think they got it from my name!
Eventually the curious customer would ask where I was from.
“Oh, you’re Italian. Bongeornow, kome shtai!” Ehm, yes. I’m Italian and I speak Italian. But you don’t!