As those of you who have watched my interviews know, I have a strange accent. Definitely not Greek, it’s been mistaken for British (by my American friends) and Dutch (by my British ones). Even worse, I seem to unconsciously pick up the accent of the person I’m talking to and mimic that. I blame on the fact I was first taught English at the very early age of two, and on my musical ear: we Corfiots are famous for our love of music and supposed to be good at picking tunes etc.
In any case, I was fascinated by this Mental Floss video by Arika Okrent I came across the other day. The human vocal tract can produce thousands of different sounds but languages use only a tiny subset of them. What happens when you try to speak a language that uses a different subset from your own?