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(The Way I Talk is Just the Way I Talk… with Kyle B from Reykjavík)

Before I met Kyle I knew that he was originally from Brazil but had been living in Iceland so long that he was actually an Icelandic language teacher. Then when he arrived in Seltjarnarnes for the shoot, he introducted himself with this sort of part southeast London, part cockney accent that I thought was a joke. Knowing that I lived in London, I thought he was putting it on to make fun of me. So my first reaction when he spoke was to laugh.

And then I was horribly embarrassed, ‘cos the way he talked was just the way he talked. A bit like me, he’s one of those guys who, when he speaks in another language, matches the accent of that language’s home territory. His Portuguese was perfectly Brazilian sounding. His Icelandic was totally Icelandic. His English was disarmingly sarf-londoney. None of this is put on. He’s just one of those absorby sort of people.

My own accent is a strangely unplaceable accent. I lived in Chicago until I was a teenager, then went to London when I was still young enough to absorb a new accent, but not quite fully. Yet no one ever guesses that I have American roots. People in England most often say I sound South African or Scandinavian. And when I’m back in America, people only ever think I’m British. But like Kyle, it’s outside my control. The way I talk is just the way I talk.

See more of Kyle and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (03) Reykjavík

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