Moving to the United States as a twelve year old, helped me really connect to the piece “The Speech Community of Children”. In a way I experienced this twice in my life, once when I was growing up in South Africa and the second time when I went to school here in America. I was faced not only with culture shock, but also forced to start communicating like all the other American kids I came into contact with. I had to change the way I talked and I had to understand certain aspects of American English that I was never exposed to, such as slang words and ideas associated with certain phrases. About three years went by before my parents and I realized that I was Bi-Accented. This meant that I was able to speak in a so called “American” accent, but also in my “South African” accent. The interesting thing is that its subconscious switch, so I don’t choose to sound a certain way, I just do. Countless people have asked me to speak in my “South African” accent, and the problem is that it is incredibly hard to talk in my “South African” accent to someone who doesn’t speak in that accent. Through the years I have discovered that the only people that I still talk to in my “South African” accent are my family and when I visit go to visit South Africa.
I found it interesting that it is so easy to relate my own life the writing of “Speech Communities by Paul Roberts. The way talks about The Class as a Speech Community and Confronting the Adult World, really made it easy for me to relate my literacy history to how he explained the development of language skills throughout our lives. What I found mind blowing is how, the smallest changes or differences in the environment that one learns a language in can have a profound impact on how a person communicates and uses that language.