I mentioned last week the oddly charming effect of seeing someone raised in India speaking English with a distinct German accent -- because he'd been working for a German car company for decades. Reader Mike Baab weighs in:
As an American who's lived in London and now Copenhagen, the ethnicity-accent disparity is becoming one of my favorite things about living 'in-Continent'. One of my good friends was born to Vietnamese immigrants living in Paris, and speaks with an accent so French that if one of your English-speaking friends did it, you'd be offended. I love watching my American friends try to figure out this ethnically Asian guy smoking a cigarette and ending sentences with 'non?'
I have no data to back this up, but I anecdotally see this more and more when I travel around Europe. I was in Stockholm last summer, and heard a group of mostly black schoolgirls practicing their English in a train station, 'jaaaa' and all.
The increasing distance between ethnicity and nationality is something I really like about living here, and whenever I get discouraged about European insularity, I think of those girls on their first trip to America, and the looks on people's faces when they say 'Vi are from Svee-den!'