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!

Comments for Bilingual children's accent

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

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

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Speech Therapy Questions and Answers.

Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series