I am a tri-lingual voice-talent. I speak allegedly at a native level English, French and... Romanian! I know, a kind of weird cocktail here. As a matter of fact, Romanian is my "native" language, as I was born in Romania, French is my "Mother tongue", as my mum was French and English is my "adoptive" language, as for the past 15 years I lived and worked in the UK.
However, when it comes to getting behind the mic, I have to be more selective about speaking a language at a native level... English for instance, no matter how careful I am with pronunciation, an English native speaker will always spot a slight kind of accent - foreign accent. not necessarily Romanian or French accent. As a matter of fact, in a recent conversation with an English native speaker, I've been told I had a slight Dutch accent! Also, in French, although is the language my mum taught me to speak and most linguists will claim the Mother Tongue as the strongest language ever, every time I get back to France to see my family, I need a least a couple of hours to "re-adjust" to the locale accent. And if I have to speak to native French people who do not know me, they will always spot some kind of accent there as well... Romanian is the language that made me become a voice-talent. When FoxKids Channel (and subsequently Jetix aka Disney Channel) hired me 14 years ago to cover the Romanian copy of their menus, promos and teasers broadcasted from London, I knew this must be my strongest language! Yet, the other day, in a discussion with a Romanian actor, I've been told I was talking a kind of "old" Romanian, using expressions that were in use 20 years ago!...
I know that, like me, there are many people in this group who would claim themselves bi/tri-lingual voice-talents.
But, are you facing the same dilemmas when it comes to identifying your real strongest language?
Please share your thoughts!
I too am tri-lingual and somewhat quadri-lingual. I speak native American English, French and Haitian-Creole and I have also completed several Voice Overs in Spanish (I can sound authentic if given a day to practice the script). I am fortunate enough to have grown up in Haiti, thus speaking native French and Creole, but also growing up in a household where what we spoke was primarily english because my mother is American. Every time I go home to Haiti there are trends in the language, things that have happened in the last couple of years that have become popular in the country. But because my family goes back and forth a lot as do my friends who live in the US, I do hear some of these sayings from time to time. I too find that when I come back from Haiti, it takes me a little bit to speak English without the slight Haitian accent, but growing up I always adapted my language to what I heard around me.
Even here in the US, I hear things from my niece who is 16 that I wouldn't know what those phrases meant if it wasn't for her. And I don't consider myself to be old either, LOL. Language does evolve and change. There are trends in the language of a country that are effected by famous people, commercials, video games, news events, etc. And those phrases that are coined become popular and eventually become part of the language.
Growing up in Haiti and then coming to the US for college, I took a linguistics course on African languages. I was very interested in the words that were similar (in other words, sounded exactly like words we used in Creole, but meant different things). There are phrases we have that I was able to understand how they may have evolved to mean what they mean in Haiti, had it originally come from one of the African Congo languages that are a part of the many languages Haitian-Creole is made from.
But I digress....LOL. To answer your question. It seems my strongest languages are Haitian-Creole and English when it comes to voice over work. I speak both without a foreign accent. Quite often, when people find out I am Haitian, they comment on how I sound like a typical American when I speak English. I did not seek Haitian-Creole out as being one of my strongest languages for voice over. I simply responded to auditions for Haitian Creole speakers and kept getting cast. I was resistant at first because I wanted to do more work in English, but that eventually came too. Sometimes we don't choose what our niche is. I think our job is to try for everything, but eventually develop the knowledge of what our strongest skills are, be they language related or even categorized by narration, character work, commercials, e-learning, etc.
So I typed a lot and I am not sure if I answered all of your questions. Thank you for posting this.