Is this true?
Brussels is a place where English has increasingly become the lingua franca, a shift from the earlier days of the European Union when press briefings, political consultations and conferences were held in French.
But these days in Brussels it matters what type of English you speak, according to those who, for reasons of education or because their parents once lived in United States, have acquired American accents.
They make up a tiny portion of the thousands of civil servants, diplomats and politicians who work in Brussels, but the fact that they report increasing levels of suspicion toward their accents seems to signal that the malaise between Americans and Europeans has gone personal
I have certainly never experienced anything like this in London. But then again, a lot of people here seem to assume my odd blend of Noo Yawk softened by seven years in southern England originates somewhere in Canada.
In fact, in England, I suspect American accent frees people from the class-based prejudices that various English accents still carry with them here. Snobs of all sorts can’t judge your social status from your accent if you’re not English. I’ve heard similar theories from people living in England with Scottish and Irish accents.
Can any fellow Europeans with North American accents provide anecdotes from elsewhere in Europe?