Texas, Kentucky, Bondy… But where does this Kylian Mbappé accent in English come from?

Kylian Mbappé and his amazing Spanish skills in the PSG-Real post-match interviews made his Madrid team hungry. Finally before the drama, the betrayal, the denial, the “mercenary, no longer in my club”, and all this nonsense will be broken before next summer. The unanimous verdict at the time: the Frenchman, influenced by the strong Argentine colony of PSG, speaks Iberian with a slight accent from Buenos Aires, without going so far as to whistle all the Ys that come back.

What to say, then, about this precious video of the world champion interviewed in English by EA sports in his notes on the game FIFA 2023, shot after shot during his summer vacation in the United States, which is already running over 2 million views in a few hours? Closing our eyes to focus on the voice, we remember the masterful impersonation of Donald Trump by Michael J. Fox heard recently. This time ? A rather awkward parody of 50 Cent or something. “Noowwwwwwwwww defeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeence meeeeen”, seriously?

Mbappé, who we have heard speak in English a few times without fear more than his behavior, here is forcing his “West Coast” accent to death, where the idea that we have it, because well, English is not our best asset to succeed in life. So we turned to specialists in the matter, at least English teachers, always bilingual, and crossed the US from top to bottom or almost, to find out if Kylian Mbappé checked or not. Friday night lights between the two greens of PSG.

“We wonder where the man came from”

Raphaël, our first witness, listens to the video blind. First impression? “We are wondering where the man came from. First, we consider an African living in the United States. He tries to pronounce it in the American way sometimes. Then there are intonations reminiscent of the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica… It’s a mix of everything. »

We continue with Etienne, who joins the game directly: “Give me time to pass this filter of bad pronunciation to tell you more. Behind it, it is almost a thesis of the linguist. “So there is energy very French accent, with African intonations like you can hear there. But no one can tell it’s like Tennessee or Texas because most of the sounds are mispronounced. It forces the seriousness of the black American intonation, it is a standard accent, not regional but community. »

Like a game, in a way, because in his other interviews given to the English-language media in recent years, Kylian Mbappé’s accent did not work very well, added Etienne: “Usually , he has a French accent, with a hint of a Spanish accent, as if he had learned some words from a Spanish speaker who spoke to him in English. ” Damien, the our third person, returned half-jokingly: “There is something in the voice of a second-rate actor in the series Narcos. A Colombian American, what. The metaphor fits the Instagram photo of the wag disguised as “gringo” a few months ago?

“Yes, there is always a sign of African speech that I don’t know where,” replied Etienne. It sounds a bit like a British West Indies accent at times, with that fast flow and those flat vowels, but to me the mix of his influences is what gives it… Jamaican. »

What is funny, in the end, in the case, is to see, or rather to listen to Mbappé playing with different accents in a language that he alone is not completely masters, a detail that makes the academic in all kinds of leaps. “What I tell candidates who pass the English Capes is to appear as consistent as possible, lined up in Raphaël. I take the example of a foreigner who passes the Capes of French and who begins his oral with a Marseille accent before ending with a Quebec accent. It doesn’t make sense. A neutral accent is better, even if it sounds French”. Good Kylian, it does not smell for this conversion of an English teacher at the age of 40 years. Crazy, there are places that are free.

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