Bilingual children's accent

by Kash
(New Jersey)

Hi my wife and I were born in the US and have a generic American accents. My children were also born here in New Jersey. My older son is 4 and we spoke an Indian language (Gujarati) to him for the first 2-3 years of his life, and now we speak both English and Gujarati to him, but more so English. Our nanny speaks Indian-accented English. He's been in preschool for a year but is shy and doesn't talk much.

When he speaks English, he speaks it with a completely Indian accent. As his parents, we find it weird, as it's not an accent either of us speak with and he's been going to school for over a year. Even kids whose parents speak English with foreign accents have an American accent when they speak English (including myself when I was 4). So I find this perplexing!

My question is it, should I do something about it? Or is he considered young still? How do I get him to adopt the American accent. Maybe he's not adopting it because he is shy and isn't really forced to speak English much to anyone. As American-accented English is the majority language of his community, is it just a matter of time before he adopts the American accent? Should I get a new nanny so we limit his exposure to other accents? Thank you!


Jan 12, 2021
Dual English Accent
by: Anonymous

My Son is 6 and I have a weird issue to address here. He speaks American English accent with his non-Indians friends but speaks in indian accent with us,all my friends, his indian friends even his teacher who happens to be an indian. He says he feels shy to talk to us in American English accent. We moved here few years back and he was born here. So we hv an indian accent of speaking. He is living a dual life which worries me and I want him to be the way other kids are. How do I do that?

Feb 06, 2020
by: Bridget

First of all, I'm so happy to hear that you are raising your child bilingually! That is awesome and keep it up. It can be tough at times.

Second, you don't have to change your nanny if you don't want to. Most likely, your child picked up on his/her accent but that is okay! There is nothing wrong with an accent. Most likely, the more English he speaks, this will fade with time as he opens up more and speaks more English.

If you don't have any concerns about his speech and language development, I would recommend a child to "wait and see." He is still young.

Here are a few resources on bilingual language development if needed:

Bilingual Tips

Accent Modification