Accent training

August 31, 2018

I visited Colorado a few weeks ago with my parents. We were hiking in a national park and we saw a tour group with matching t-shirts speaking a language my parents didn't recognize.

My parents thought they might be from the middle east. Nope, I said, you clearly haven't heard enough moms yelling at their kids in Fremont, because whatever they're speaking is pretty close to Hindi. My guess: Urdu speakers from Pakistan. Nailed it. 😊

It happened again last week when I was in a hotel. I heard two kids speaking to the hotel staff in English and could tell after about 5 words they were from Germany.

The best part is how ordinary all of this is, if you work in high tech; you'll meet people from Western Europe, all over China and India, Pakistan, even Africa. It happens every day and you just get used to it. I love this; it's like traveling without having to go anywhere, celebrating Diwali with friends, and getting invited to angetrams. It's not hard to see why Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric really doesn't go over well with the Bay Area.

I sometimes imagine a movie where a grunt programmer from Sunnyvale saves the day by pulling off some crazy feat of linguistic classification, perhaps recognizing that the bad guy was speaking Cantonese and is probably from southern China, when everyone else thought he was from Beijing.

I'm not the only guy to have this idea:

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