Recently a Korean co-worker said I didn't sound English (whatever that means) and I sounded more American or Canadian. Rarely have I been caught so off guard.
Do I take that as a compliment or an insult? It wasn't meant to be either, just an observation. Well I can tell you it wasn't very complimentary to me! Not that I have anything about anyone from North America or the accent at all, I'm just not from that part of the world. I have met some really great people from there who are good friends, especially Canadians, who form the majority of Westerners living and working as English teachers in Korea.
Most peoples experience of English here is with a North American accent and my voice is often a little hard to follow IF I speak the way I would back home. I have tried to slow down and speak a little more clearly but I haven't changed my voice too much. The one thing I have changed a little, and it pains me to admit it, is I have adopted some vocabulary seen more in North American - PURELY to make things easier in class.
For example, instead of saying toffees or sweets I say candy. Other words I have used include garbage, convenience store and soccer. I can't think of many more right now an to be honest there aren't too many, but every time I say candy my insides twist and I feel like I am betraying my language a little. I often think I must be twitching a little like Derek Jacobi in I, Claudius - such is my dislike of those particular words at times. I must remember to leave these at the check out desk when I leave Korea for the final time.