My daughters’ (age 5+) spoken language sounds like it has an accent. It is widely asked if they have an accent, especially when they are around strangers.
I know they definitely sound different. Some say that they sound like cartoon characters, which upsets me. Others say they sound like foreign speaking kids. Their father and I are both Jamaicans and Jamaican parentage, so how is it that they sound the way they sound?
Let me start by clarifying that we all have accents in our languages. So the question that your daughters get asked, about having “an accent”, must be answered “yes” for every single one of us – including the people who ask.
You notice that your children “sound different”, and I presume from what you say that they sound different from you, parents. I also presume your girls attend school, playschool, or other kind of schooling, and may have done so for a while? From around age 3, when children become aware of other children as their peers, the behaviour of adults around them becomes uninteresting. This includes linguistic behaviour, that is, speech patterns, vocabulary, accents, and tone of voice in general.
Children want to be able to fit in among their peers (like all of us, at any age!), and may start imitating and adapting to other children’s ways of speaking – again, we all do so, in our respective peer groups. This might be the reason why your children do not sound like you.
A different issue is of course the opinions that some people feel entitled to express about others. There is no problem whatsoever in sounding “different” or sounding “foreign”, unless you believe that being different and being foreign is something worth commenting about. Your daughters do not have a problem simply because other people may believe that they do.
Do feel free to contact me privately, if you wish to discuss these matters in greater detail.