Though I was born and raised in South Louisiana, I don't have a cajun accent. Never have. Well, okay, there were those brief few months of first grade in Ville Platte but that passed. In fact, most people say they can't tell where I'm from aside from "the south."
When I moved from Atlanta to NYC, my friends said I was getting a New York accent while the New Yorkers thought it was hilarious that I said things like "fixin' to."
Despite not being a cajun by birth, I do have one spoken affectation that I only noticed a few months ago: the diminutive of "little." (Is that redundant?).
Li'l. I recognized it when I was introduced to Cajun Smurf. That's right, Cajun Smurf.
After that, I noticed I say it all the time. And on vacation, I was with six other people who say it all the time too:
Where did you get that li'l blanket?
Here's the li'l floaty.
Let's go to that li'l arcade and play pinball. (Okay, it was little... only two pinball games and a Galaga machine plus a couple more.)
At the vet: Did you check Jemima's li'l ear scratching?
At work: Have you seen my li'l tape dispenser?
With friends: I bought a li'l shirt at the mall. (Little? Since when??)
It's a habit, developed who knows where or how long ago. I'd like to try to stop but I'm not sure I can. It's sort of like "um" or "you know" - I'm aware it's wrong but can't seem to do anything about it.
Does it bother anyone else? Maybe not. Maybe I'll carry on with it. Maybe I'll pick up even more from Cajun Smurf.