Being from the South of Ireland working in England I take advantage of my accent. I’ve noticed a trend in that older women especially seem to like it and ask me to say ’33’ and then tell me ‘I could listen to you all night’. When I was out one night this lad said I sounded Jamaican! Then when I joined a rugby club the lads thought I was a plumber/tradesman/policeman [due to my accent] only to reveal to their surprise that I am a Uni Professor. Having a different accent has been overall positive for me. After a lecture once, I had someone ask a question for the sake of hearing my voice. The British really seem to like it.. It’s an icebreaker in conversations and makes the ladies smile 🙂
RP speaker in Japan, late 1980s.
There were many tales of discrimination of various types, both for and against ‘outsiders’ (with quite different attitudes towards whites, blacks and Asians), as detailed by Arudo Debito amongst others. Many were flattering, amusing, or mildly irritating, rather than distressing – for example, one Western friend (fluent in Japanese) who had a perfectly normal conversation with an eyes-down shopkeeper until the latter looked up and realized it was a ‘foreigner’… whereupon they suddenly lost the ability to understand any of the Japanese said gaijin was saying.
One experience of my own: I telephoned an estate agent. My Japanese was good, but evidently still had some kind of twang to it.
“Are you foreign? We don’t let to foreigners.”
I fibbed: “No, I’m just from [a remote area], maybe it’s our local accent?”
“Ah, that’s OK then”.