I strongly believe every regional accent and dialect is legitimate-- this is very important to me-- but a misto of accents and idioms is unnatural. No one is from multiple regions. But I suspect my accent, which used to conform to formal, educated Italian, is starting to pick up elements of different accents to make a patchwork.
Have people told you that they've noticed this, or is it just a little internal nagging doubt?
mente&cervello wrote:(b) I need to have a consistent target pronunciation I aim to copy. Should I stick to formal, standard Tuscan, even if the people I am speaking with or listening to do not? This is kind of a social language question.
It feels stubborn and strange to chat with a group of people who are all native speakers who are all saying a word differently than I do, even if mine is "formally" correct. (It is equally strange to be speaking English to someone who is also a native speaker but who is mispronouncing a word that goes back and forth in our conversation. What to do?) Also, I am the sort of person who picks up other people's accents without thinking about it (even in English, my native language).
I don't think that if I happened to be in California tomorrow that I would try to alter my accent (or speech patterns) to match the indigenous population. My "process" wouldn't suddenly change its "o" and my "awesome" wouldn't become "oarsome". I'd probably not have occasion to use the word "brolly", but if I did and all I got in return was a blank stare I'd fall back to "umbrella". My attitude might be different if I were Cherly Cole and my future employment prospects depended on having an acceptable accent. Things might be different if I lived there for a few years. I wouldn't change my accemt deliberately, but it might well drift.
So I think it would be just a little bit weird if you changed your accent according to the group with whom you are speaking.
mente&cervello wrote:(d) I am going to be doing a sort of language exchange with a woman from my town who is from Roma. (I will be helping her with her accent in English, which is fluent but with some poor pronunciation habits, and formal writing.) I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity; I've wanted something like this for years. But I am not sure how much formal Italian education she has had access to. She left Italy decades ago, though she regularly engages in cultural activities in Italian, sees films in Italian, and is in an Italian choral group. I don't know if her Italian is contemporary. In short, I am grateful and certain that it will help me, but I don't know how to assess her as a language model.
Even if she speaks 20-year old Italian, it's still Italian and valuable practice. You don't need to imitate her style or speech patterns, you just need to be able to understand them. My parents left Italy over 50 years ago but they can still communicate when relatives pop over for a visit
mente&cervello wrote:A frivolous P.S.:
Gary, what is going on with Italians in Scotland? What you describe in your log sounds like they built an express Chunnel between the two countries. I am envious of your access--Italian roommates just showing up-- but curious. Also, a few years I was listening to a free "learn Italian" podcast until I realized I was starting to copy the host, and had begun speaking Italian with a Scottish accent. I hadn't associated the two countries before that (which shows my ignorance).
I don't know if it's still true, but there was a concentration of Italians in Scotland at one time. That was well before the Chunnel though