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When a character is known to speak in one dialect or accent, but under certain situations their accent slips. Occasionally this is used as a reason to explain an actor's poor ability at keeping an accent, however it's usually to indicate the person is either:

  1. Impersonating someone else.
  2. A speaker who speaks "standard" English due to assimilation, but isn't actually how they speak natively.

This is different from Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping in that it's an in-universe trope. Instead of the voice actor or actor accidentally reverting accent due to being unable to hold their fake one, the character canonically slips their accent, and tends to have some narrative significance instead of being something that just happens.

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When a spy character who has been faking an accent permanently reverts to their real accent, that's an Accent Relapse.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kobato from Haganai tries to act like her favorite anime character — down to speaking in a haughty tone — but will snap back into her natural Kyushu accent whenever she gets flustered.
  • Ebina from Himouto! Umaru-chan will slip into her natural Akita dialect, in her own mind if not out loud, when especially excited or flustered.
  • Nozomi from Love Live! speaks in a Kansai regional dialect but with a Tokyo accent. When flustered her Kansai dialect slips.
  • Marika Tachibana from Nisekoi usually speaks with Keigo to come across as more refined, but she'll slip back into her native dialect (Tosa dialect in the manga, but Fukuoka dialect in the anime) whenever she gets flustered or angry.
  • "Iron Mask" Duval from One Piece will lapses into his native Tohoku Regional Accent when he gets angry.
  • Nanami from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is from Osaka, and relapses into a Kansai Regional Accent whenever she is angry or flustered.
  • Mikatan from Punchline is a part of a band and her biography states she's from Tokyo. She actually is from Tsugaru. She relapses into her natural dialect when surprised.
  • Yuri Katsuki from Yuri!!! on Ice is from Saga in Kyushu, but unlike his parents he usually speaks standard Japanese. He does speak in his native Saga dialect when he talks to his mother over the phone in the first episode, and Episode 10 reveals that he slips back into Saga dialect when he gets drunk.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Punisher MAX arc "Kitchen Irish", the story revolves around a group of criminals who all have a connection to a recently deceased Irish Mob boss who has sent them each a piece of a map that will show where he hid the riches he amassed over his life. The associate of one of them, Michael Morrison, slips into his natural Irish accent when his boss Finn Cooley surprises him after having taped on his multilated face after losing a mask designed to keep it on. Michael asks if it'll slip, and Finn snarks "You mean like your accent?" Much later, after multiple clashes with each other and The Punisher, the criminals all gather in a bar to put together their pieces of the map. After they see where the treasure is, they all get ready to kill each other. Michael smashes his drink on the bar counter, and in a heavily accented speech tells them that they don't need to keep killing each other, and they don't need to bring the horror of The Troubles to the States. They all put their guns away.
  • X-Factor (2006): Siryn (also of X-Force fame) normally speaks without any discernible accent, so much so that the only way to know she was Irish would be if the reader already knew. During the fight with Cortex (A heavily altered version of one of Jamie Madrox's dupes, whom she's already violently angry with) she gets so mad, she starts "getting her Irish up".

    Comic Strips 
  • While performing surgery on Thomas in Safe Havens, Maria's Italian accent starts to disappear, which Don notices. It's actually early Foreshadowing that Maria's been faking her accent this entire time to hide the fact that she's Samantha and Dave's Kid from the Future from them until the time was right.
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    Fan Works 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Asylum, Applejack is a doctor who uses a less thick version of her Southern accent while on the job. Occasionally her actual accent will shine through when agitated.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fic Hear Them Chatter On The Tide, a part-time Watchwoman finds herself surrounded by the Discworld equivalent of black "Africans" who are armed, angry, and having a street confrontation. She knows that if she spoke with her usual accent she would be identified as a White Howondalandian among a hundred or so people with no reason to love people of her ethnicity. She tries to refine her accent to something more Ankh-Morporkian. But the assumed accent slips, her native accent shows through, and attracts unwanted attention.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, Trixie will slip back into her Neigh Orleans accent when drunk.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic, The Trainer from a Far-Away Land, Satoshi is mostly fluent in Isshu (English), but his native Kanto (Japanese) accent shows when he tries to pronounce N's name.
  • In the Batman fic Green's My Favorite Color, Harleen downplays her accent while on the job. She lapses when her guard is down.
  • In Bucky Barnes Gets His Groove Back & Other International Incidents, Steve Rogers sometimes lapses from his usual generic "1940s newscaster" accent (which he was likely coached into by the USO) into a full Brooklyn brogue if he's worked up enough. Sam tries to encourage this because he finds Steve's accent hilarious, and it's accompanied by Steve going into full old-man "get off my lawn you damn Millennials" rants.
  • In Ain't No Grave, as a young man, Steve worked hard to get rid of his Brooklyn-Irish accent because he was tired of people making fun of him for it in art school. The USO gave him elocution lessons to get rid of it the rest of the way, and as a result, he can now sound like a forties radio announcer (likely with a Mid-Atlantic accent) at will. Whenever he talks about Bucky, he lapses into a distinctly vintage-sounding Brooklyn accent. It reminds Daredevil of his late father.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Mari Makinami's occasional lapse into her native dialectnote  when angry or excited are somewhere between this and Foreign-Language Tirade, because even the fluent English speakers in the cast struggle to parse broad Scouse.

    Film — Animated 
  • Robin Hood: While disguised as a blind peddler, Robin briefly slips out of his "old man" voice in shock when he finds out that Friar Tuck is due to be hanged.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Carry On Dick, whenever Madame Desiree is found out to be a Cockney, or just gets really angry, she drops her French accent. Doesn't stop her from trying to regain this facade though.
  • Drag Me to Hell: The main character has spent her adult life trying to reinvent herself as a slender, cosmopolitan career woman, away from her past as a chunky, Southern farm girl. In the film's climax, she reaches her rage breaking point and lapses into the Southern accent she's spent so long hiding.
  • Strange Days: When Gant starts raging at Nero, his Midatlantic accent veers into cockney.

    Literature 
  • In rare moments of overwhelming emotion — usually fear or rage or both — Felix in Doctrine of Labyrinths will lose his posh accent and slip into a Lower City one. Ultimately he will always begin using his fake accent again the moment he notices.
  • This is inverted in The Mote in God's Eye. One character (the Chief Engineer, no less) usually speaks with an exaggerated Scottish accent, and like all inhabitants of 'New Caledonia' places great emphasis on his proud Scottish heritage, despite this being the far future when there isn't much left of the old cultural distinctions. Another character remarks that he loses the accent when he gets excited, which he loudly declares a lie—without using the accent.
  • In Sharpe, Boomerang Bigot Sergeant Lynch hides his Irish accent, but it pops out at moments of stress.
  • In The Wheel of Time, "Ordeith" (a.k.a. Padan Fain, a.k.a. Jeraal Mordeth) continually slips from one accent to another mid-sentence, which is noted by several people to whom he plays Treacherous Advisor. He gets it from being a Shadow-touched madman who's also possessed by an ancient ghost; the people who uncomfortably ignore how totally bonkers he is have no such excuse.
  • Perkin Lao of Halcyon Park speaks formally in a clipped Cantonese accent that matches his powerful businessman persona. His rival manages to antagonize him into falling back to his native Brooklyn speech more than once.
  • Under the Pendulum Sun: The gnome Mr. Benjamin affects a proper Oxford accent among the other human customs he's adopted, but slips into an unplaceable Fae accent when he's distracted or distraught.
  • How Wayne spots the impostor in Shadows of Self. Wayne is a Master of Disguise with particular expertise in accents, and spent a lot of time in the company of immortal kandra MeLaan. The impostor, also a shapeshifting kandra, says her a's the same way as MeLaan.
    • Wayne weaponizes it in The Bands of Mourning as part of a Kansas City Shuffle. He wants a ride to another part of the city, and disguises himself as a rich lord hailing a gondolier. By behaving suspiciously, and deliberately letting his accent slip from lordly to thuggish, the gondolier thinks it's a setup for a robbery. The gondolier makes an excuse and drops him off in the middle of the ride—exactly where Wayne wanted to go, and without paying.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper's Texan accent slips in when he is extremely stressed or flustered. He tries to suppress it at all times to seem more cultured and respectable.
  • Breaking Bad: Most of the time, the Chilean Gustavo Fring speaks in an accented but very proper and precise manner. However, when he shows what's Beneath the Mask, his Chilean accent gets more pronounced and he drops in casual foreign slang.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Band Candy" a spell reverts the adults of Sunnydale back to their teenage years. Giles, who usually speaks with a refined Received Pronunciation accent, lapses back to the lower-class accent of his deliquent youth. Later in the episode the spell begins to wear off and his accent shifts back to RP when he remembers a piece of exposition about the villain of the week.
    • Spike slips a few times into his original Received Pronunciation accent, rather than the cockney one he affects after regaining his soul.
  • Columbo: An agitated Eve Babcock slips into a different accent, one that sounds rather Eastern European. This is all Lt. Columbo of the LAPD needs to figure out that Babcock is actually Miss Rokoczy, the woman that he earlier heard Paul talking to on the phone.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Terror of the Autons", the Master accosts the circus manager "Luigi Rossini", because he needs him for his Evil Plan. "Rossini" talks in Italian-esque accent, until the Master confronts him with the fact that his real name is Lew Russell. Caught by surprise by this, a panicking Russell spits out his next lines in what is obviously his natural London accent.
    • In "Tooth and Claw", the Tenth Doctor puts on a Scottish accent while trying to pass as a native of the Scottish highlands. Later, whilst being chased by the monster of the episode, he forgets to keep using the accent and is caught by Queen Victoria.
  • Robin from How I Met Your Mother acts "Super Canadian" when drunk, which includes slipping into a Canada, Eh? accent.
  • Hunter: In "Lullaby," serial killer Lord Tony Rutherford has a refined British accent. When this trait is leaked to the media, he affects a strong Texas drawl...until his car door is almost taken off by another vehicle, at which point he starts yelling in his native accent. His next intended victim hears him and runs away.
  • Discussed in the Madam Secretary episode "Standoff". At Liz's request Jay meets with Texas Governor Hal Lockwood, whom Jay worked for in college when Lockwood was running for Mayor of Galveston, to get Lockwood to sign off on withholding the death penalty for criminal so Mexico will extradite him. Lockwood comments that Jay has gotten rid of his Texas accent, and Jay answers that it comes back "when I'm drinking or talking to my mama. And there are definitely some crossover moments."
  • M*A*S*H, episode "Dear Comrade": Kwang, a spy for the Korean People's Army, masks his perfect fluency in English with broken Korean Engrish. Over the course of the episode, he becomes fond of a couple of the personnel on the base, and before going back to his division he decides to have a drink with them. Heavily inebriated, he declares that "When all is said and done, you're not such bad fellows!" and B. J. points out that the drunker Kwang gets, the better his English becomes. Kwang hesitates before replying that "it must be the whiskey", and pours himself another drink.
  • Occurs in Real Life in The People's Court: when Cuban-born Judge Milian gets especially upset, her Spanish accent becomes more noticeable.
  • In Quantico Alex sounds a little more Indian when she's under stress. Although she was born in the United States, she spent several years living with relatives in Mumbai. (Actually it's because actress Priyanka Chopra is Indian.)
  • In the second episode of Threshold, the crew interrogates the pilot of a passenger jet that was flying close to the ship when the alien signal was broadcast. During the interrogation, the pilot pronounces a word one way before being asked a question on the incident and a different way after being asked the question. Away from the interrogation, Ramsey says that this is a likely indicator that the pilot is hiding something since people tend to slip back into their native accents when stressed. It turns out the pilot was flying drunk that night and wasn't affected by the alien signal.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: The Social Climber Hyacinth Bucket ("it's Bouquet, dear") deliberately speaks in plummy received pronunciation even though the show is set in the West Midlands. In some moments of stress, her real regional accent slips through.
  • Avenue 5: Captain Ryan Clarke has an authoritative American accent when on duty as a figurehead captain of a starship. When he slips up, or when he's off the clock, he speaks in a rather lower-class English accent with a noticeably more nasal voice. He occasionally gets in trouble when people notice that he's started speaking differently.
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    Roleplay 
  • Simon from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues was born in Britain and moved to America with his adopted family when he was about twelve. Now eighteen, he's still getting used to an American accent and sometimes slips back into his native British.

    Video Games 
  • During a chat with Mad Moxxi in Borderlands 2, she recounts her past history as a member of the Hodunk bandit clan. She gets so worked up, that she slips out of her seductress voice, and into the same thick, hillbilly accent the rest of the Hodunks speak in (including Scooter and Ellie, her children). She quickly catches herself, resumes her regular way of speaking, and asks you not to tell anyone.
    • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, you need to use a secret exit in Moxxi's bar to leave Concordia for the first time. When you open the secret passage, you find Moxxi doing mechanic work in overalls, singing happily to herself in her hillbilly accent. Again, she is extremely embarrassed and asks you not to tell anyone...while the framing device is Athena telling a long story of what's she's done and seen to a group of people interrogating her, who have no reaction to this revelation whatsoever.
  • In the Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Zora, Kokiri, and Goron all have Verbal Tics. Zora end their sentences with "zora" while Goron end theirs with "goro". Kokiri have "jora" as their tic however they don't actually use it in-game. Prerelease screenshots show that they once used it constantly, however in the final product it's only referenced once. Saria gets excited when you show her the Keaton mask and accidentally slips into the Kokiri accent, causing her to become embarrassed.
  • Palethorn from Medievil 2 tries to suppress his natural cockney accent in order to pass himself off as a high society gentleman, but it tends to come out whenever he gets stressed or angry.
  • A non-regional accent version, but played very straight in Persona 4. Naoto Shirogane, the so-called 'Detective Prince', is a stoic teenage boy who is always serious, polite and correct. Starting from when 'he' meets his Shadow, Naoto's voice has a habit of sliding into its true tone - a softer female register - when angered, embarrassed or otherwise caught off-guard. This is in keeping with her maintaining a masculine façade that forms an integral part of her character - Naoto believes that the police service is a man's world where women don't belong.
  • The Battle Chatelaine sisters from Pokémon X and Y (and later Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) slip into the Hakata dialect when excited. The English-language version translated this by having them slip into thick Irish accents.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: The nightclub owner Venus Dare usually speaks with a plummy English accent, but drops it briefly in a moment of Tranquil Fury. Tellingly, the Mafiya boss Boris refers to her as "the American bitch".
  • Reeve Tuesti of Final Fantasy VII usually speaks with a Kanto accent (in Japanese - it's the region Tokyo's in, so it's seen as a "neutral" accent) or a Standard American accent (in English). When piloting the robotic party member Cait Sith, he uses his native accent - Kansai in the Japanese version, Scottish in the English version. At one point, while dealing with an impending Earth-Shattering Kaboom, he mixes the two up. Cait Sith switches to the "standard" accent, while Reeve uses the Kansai/Scottish one. He's promptly identified as The Mole that Shinra's been having trouble with and arrested.
  • In Yakuza, Goro Majima normally speaks with a very exaggerated Kansai Regional Accent, which complements his bombastic and erratic personality. When he gets serious, however, his accent becomes much softer, and he even begins using words from Tokyo-ben instead of their common Kansai replacements. This is a big clue that Majima isn't actually from Osaka, and that his "Mad Dog" image is a facade. He gets called out on this during a flashback in Yakuza 4.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
    • In the Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc English localization, Celestia has an affected French accent, which slips away when she's angry.
    • Teruteru Hanamura from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair slips into his natural accent (rural Japanese in the original, Cajun in the English version) when he's under extreme stress. It's so thick that Monomi has to act as his translator.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick a character is killed and resurrected as a vampire, and the vampire must adopt the victim's mannerisms in order to convince the victim's friends that it's still the same person. It struggles with the victim's accent (describing it as "ridiculous") and occasionally slips up while trying to mimic it, but no-one except Belkar suspect anything is amiss until the vampire reveals its true motives.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • At the end of the King of the Hill episode "Joust Like a Woman", the British-sounding "king" of a renaissance fair slips into his natural Texan accent. Funnily enough, he is voiced by the naturally-British Alan Rickman.
  • The Fashionista Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent, which is an acquired accent that few have naturally. Her accent being fake is supported by the fact no one in her family has the accent. Her accent slips in certain situations, especially when excited.
  • South Park: When dressed as Mysterion, Kenny talks with a gruff voice a la Christian Bale's version of Batman. But when he discovers that his parents are part of a Satanic cult, he slips and shouts "What the fuck?!" in his normal voice before correcting himself.
  • Twi'leks in the Star Wars universe are canonically established to speak with French accents, but Hera from Star Wars Rebels uses an American accent instead. It isn't until she gets into a heated argument with her estranged father Cham Syndulla that she briefly relapses into her native accent.
  • In one episode of Time Squad episode, the Squad find that Albert Einstein is masquerading as a car salesman in Texas named Big Al, complete with Texan accent. However, when someone commits a mathematical error, he lapses back into his natural German accent while angrily correcting it.

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