How to Keep an Accent: The Expatriate Tango

One of the most worrying things about leaving London and moving to New York was the potential to lose one of most people's favorite things about me - my accent. A cockney brogue mixed with a degree of poshness gained from my combined time at a rough public school and a raucously posh private school near Abbey Road, it's simply something I cannot lose.

It's a very bizarre condition - and some claim my accent is waning, while others claim it isn't. But I have discovered that the only way to restore it - sheer re-immersion in the language, in a variety of ways.

You see, one forgets that the parts of one's voice is not made out of just where you were from - it's where you've been. In my case, it's rather easy to find the two separate entities that make my original voice - the cockney and the posh. The former can easily be aped by watching old Rumpole of the Bailey episodes, and the latter by, well, East Enders.

However, the middle ground was impossible to find - the rough speaking posh or the posh speaking rough - until today. For it was today that I discovered Professor Elemental, a genius rapper with the poshness tinged with the true grit of the cockney explorer - a champion of lyrical skill and expert mixing.

I encourage you to see the man who has saved my accent. I encourage you to learn his words and see that there are true champions of hip-hop from the British Isles and that we ex-pats can live in your wonderful city without losing what makes us 'us.'