I too tend to pick up accents very very quickly when immersed in them. Some people think I am taking the p*ss so I have to concentrate very hard on "talking like an Australian" which I dont think I do unless I have to concentrate on doing it. Its especially hard with the Irish accent as my mother although born in Australia spent the first 21 years of her life with her immigrant Irish family on an Australian farm... hence she had a broad Australian accent but she talked in the Irish vernacular, if you get what I mean... so its very easy for me to slip into.
My father loved linguistics and was very very strict about us speaking with good diction. Good manners, good posture and good diction would open doors for us he said... and it did.
My oldest daughter who is now 25 was punished
at her first primary school for "talking too posh".
I moved her to another school for this and other reasons to many to list. Even now she admits that she "tones down her diction" in certain circumstances. Thats a crying shame. Luckily its easy for her as she has a wonderful ear for linguistics as well so its not hard.
Australia is credited as being the one country on earth with very little difference in its accents for such a large area... though if you listen carefully you CAN tell roughly where a person is from, and it doesnt hinder their ability to succeed as it does in some countries.
Not as much as the UK though. I remember being in a train in the UK once and these ladies were talking about the accent of two girls on board who were chatting... they could place them to a STREET!
Edit: I used to be a stickler for diction and speech... until I had a little girl who had NO speech for the first 7 - 8 years of her life. Oh she chattered
endlessly... mainly in the key of "eeeeeee" "E" eeeEEEee"... she has had to learn the placement of her tongue and cheeks and teeth and throat for each and every sound we all take for granted every time we utter a single syllable. And practice and practice and practice every sound over and over... THEN she had to learn to put two sounds together... its not as easy as you think. Learning to reform the whole mouth everytime you say the same sound but with a different pattern of consonants and vowels. "Church" for instance keeps the whole mouth forward.. while "chilly" was a mountain to climb.
Her sister used to sit in the bath with her playing (as speech therapy could be so exhausting for her) and use a toothbrush to hold the back of her tongue down to get her tongue to learn how to "deform" to make the "ahhh" sound.
We were told she would never make a three syllable sound. She did.
Her speech isnt perfect.. I doubt it ever will be.. and I get glares from people if I ask her to slow down and repeat herself when we are out in public or if I say "Didnt understand a word you said! Try again slower." (said with a smile and kindness mind).. but if she isnt prompted she doesnt learn and her speech gets worse and worse if we dont stop and regroup.
So I guess I am a lot more tolerant these days.
You never know what obstacles some people are dealing with.
Just keep swimming... just keep swimming.. just keep swimming....