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A character with a thick accent, when misunderstood by someone else with a different accent, may either deny that they're speaking in an accent or be totally oblivious to it. This can lead to huge and humorous misunderstandings.

Compare What the Hell Is That Accent? and Unexplained Accent.


Examples

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     Comic Books  

    Films — Animated 
  • Gussie Mausheimer from An American Tail has Elmuh Fudd Syndwome, and pronounces the word "rally" as "wowie". After Honest John asks what a "wowie" is and she explains it to him, he figures out that she meant "rally". She replies irritably "Zats vhat I said! A wowie!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Last Action Hero has a boy entering an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Trying to convince him that this world is actually a work of fiction, Danny points out that Arnie's character, Jack Slater, has a thick Austrian accent that's quite weird for a native Angeleno. Slater replies "Egghcent? Vaht egghcent?"
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Inspector Clouseau (who has a thick French accent) is in Bavaria and goes to a hotel.
    Clouseau: Tell me, do you have a room?
    Desk Clerk: I do not know what a "reum" is.
    Clouseau: [looks up "room" in his phrase book] Zimmer (German for "room").
    Desk Clerk: Ah! A room!
    Clouseau: That is what I have been saying, you idiot.
  • In My Cousin Vinny, Vinny mentions to the court that these "two yoots", beginning a round of where the judge finally gets him to say, "youths".
  • In one scene in Bloodbath At The House Of Death, Dr Lukas Mandeville, who normally speaks English without any foreign accent, lapses into a strong German accent. When another character points this out, he replies "I am not speaking in zis German accent!"
  • Young Frankenstein. Inspector Kemp tries to cool down a a group of villagers that want to go after Frederick Frankenstein.
    Kemp: I think before we go around killing people, we had better make damn sure of our evidence. Und we had better confirm the fact that young Frankenstein is indeed vollowing in his grandfather's vootstaps.
    Villagers: What?
    Kemp: Vollowing in his grandfather's vootstaps. Vootstaps! Vootstaps! [stamps feet]
    Villagers: Oh, footsteps.
  • Ghostbusters II
    Venkman: Just where are you from, anyway?
    Janosz: De upper vest side?

     Live Action TV  

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus
    • Episode 34 ("Cycling Tour). Mr. Pither goes to the British Consulate in Smolensk and finds that the British Consul is a Chinese man with a strong accent.
    "British Consul": We Blitish here in Smolensk velly intellested in clicket.
    Mr. Pither: Oh, cricket?
    "British Consul": No, no...you not speak English velly well. Not clicket - clicket...clicketty click...clicket.
  • Get Smart
    • Max's archenemy the Claw, who pronounces it "craw."
    Smart: Well, if it isn't my old enemy the Craw.
    Claw: Not Craw! Craw!
    • One episode had a CONTROL agent be revealed to be a CHAOS agent, after which, he started speaking with an accent. When Max mentioned it, he insisted he was speaking normally and had been speaking with an accent while undercover.
  • On an episode of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Carlos Mencia told a story of how his brother couldn't understand people with a Canadian accent, and said "I can't unersand zees people's assent, they need to learn to speak Enlish" [sic] in a heavy Mexican accent.
  • Stephen Fry brings up two examples during a discussion about Scottish accents in an episode of QI. The first is a story about Maggie Smith, who contacted a woman from Morningside hoping to study her accent in preparation for starring in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, only to offend the woman because she was convinced she didn't have any kind of accent. The second was a Scot who believed his own accent was indistinguishable from an English one, but who sounded "more Scottish than a Glaswegian drunk in a Soho doorway."
  • A meta-example comes from Babylon 5: When confronted by J. Michael Straczynski about the vaguely East-European accent he gave his character Londo Mollari, Peter Jurasik woujld just shrug, say "What accent?" and keep going.

     Web Animation  

  • Hayk Manukyan
    • In an episode of his Harut series, the Armenian-accented Harut pulls up to a drive-through window and asks for a number twelve, pronouncing it "twerve". This leads to a huge misunderstanding, with Harut screaming "Vhy you no understand?!"
    • In his vlog, Hayk tells a (probably fake) story about how he got in trouble while returning a VCR to a store because the way he said "as a matter of fact" came out sounding like "as motter focked", and couldn't understand why everyone got so upset. When the problem is traced to his accent, he replies "Vot ocksent?"
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    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick. Roy proofreads Durkon's letter to a high priest, written in the dwarfish Scottish-esque accent. When told he doesn't need to transcribe it, Durkon just asks "my what now?"?
  • Supernormal Step has May Dolingan, a sort-of Irish vampire whose accent is so pronounced that even her own family thinks its overdone

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of King of the Hill has an incident told by various people. When it's Boomhauer's turn, the flashback has everybody speaking like Boomhauer except himself, who now speaks normally. This implies that Boomhauer thinks his speech patterns are normal and common.
  • On an episode of DuckTales (1987), Magica Despell used magic to disguise herself, but her odd accent gave her away. She even said "Vot Ocksent?" when questioned about it.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Finding Mary MacGuffin", they are at a lab coat store looking for a man with a German accent who frequents garage sales. It Makes Sense in Context. They start interviewing people in the store, and a man with a very obvious southern accent remarks, "As you can see, I don't have an accent."
    • Also happens in the Mission Marvel special, between Red Skull and, of all people, Dr. Doofenshmirtz:
    Doofenshmirtz: Did you just say, "'Swart' our plan"?
    Red Skull: No. Swart! Sw- Vit a T-H! Swart!
  • A Running Gag on The Weekenders was Trish's mom saying something incomprehensible ("Kissing My Cup"), Trish translating it for her friends ("Kiss and make up") and Trish's mom replying "Is what I say!"
  • Inverted when SpongeBob SquarePants visits Rock Bottom, a town on the bottom of a trench where the locals speak in raspberries. When he goes to an information booth, the attendant tells him "I can't pthbt! understand pthbt! your accent pthbt!" So SpongeBob has to add raspberries to his speech to be understood.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Hooked on Sonics", Antoine has to explain to Rotor what he means when he keeps calling Sonic a "Fuel". When Rotor figures out that Antoine means "Fool", Antoine replies "Zats what I said, a fuel!"
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     Real Life 
  • The "fis phenomenon": a toddler who says "fis" for "fish" will nonetheless expect adults to say "fish"; the child can hear the difference even if the ability to produce the sounds correctly is in the future.
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