This actually happened me.

Since coming to China, I’ve been more aware of my accent. Many Chinese people want either the typical posh English accent that the Queen has, or the American accent. So my Irish one doesn’t fit either of them.
For instance, I was teaching two of my students ‘Is this a chicken?’ ‘No, it isn’t. It’s a duck’. So I went to tell the parents what I was teaching them. Although they were speaking Chinese to the translator, I heard her say ‘dock’. This is how the Chinese say ‘duck’. So basically, because I was from Ireland, she presumed I was saying it wrong, whereas the correct pronunciation (to her) was ‘dock’.
So with this idea of my pronunciation being wrong, I decided to ask the different teachers how they would say it. Sure enough, they all said ‘duck’ the same as me.
Another example was when I was teaching them ‘in the bin’. It was the same parents again, and as soon as I showed them what I was teaching, they interrogated the children. But the parents kept saying to them ‘een the been’, overemphasising the (non-existent) ‘e’ sound… and totally ruining my hard work with the students.
Another example was when I said the word ‘umbrella’. I pronounce this as it’s spelt. A Chinese worker was observing one of my adult classes and he noted that I said the ‘um’ differently to him. He says it as ‘ombrella’ like most other Chinese people. The worst part was, he made me feel as if I was WRONG, that (even though I’m a native English speaker) I MUST have been saying it wrong, and that ‘ombrella’ is 100% correct. But rant over, just a warning to other English teachers, people might say something about your accent and how you pronounce things.
Also in the campus, I’ve noticed that a lot of things I say, they mean different things to the other teachers. For instance, for me, If I was really tired, I would say “I was knackered yesterday”. However I found out that to people from England, they would interpret this as “ I was drunk/pissed yesterday”.
There are a few more differentiations which I can’t remember, but will post when I do. Although my Canadian co-worker says he loves my accent, which makes me even more aware of it!
Also, I’m 24 today. My first birthday away from home… and just like last Christmas, it just feels like a normal day.
Oh and no presents….

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