With that in mind, I found this Slate article to pretty entertaining, perhaps even a parable. It discusses the rise and spread of an American English dialect called the Northern Cities Shift, "NCS" and had this to say about the acquisition of regional dialects:
Children acquire language from face-to-face interaction with their parents and peers, and this learning is shaped profoundly by our desire to fit in. People wring their hands about the supposed disappearance of dialectic diversity for the same reason that such diversity is not, in fact, going anywhere: We cling to our specific identities and peer groups, and we defend our individual and regional idiosyncrasies when and where we can. Our dialects are often the weapon readiest to hand in that fight.
Did I not acquire my own regional dialect because I was not necessarily motivated by a desire to fit in, at least not as a very young child? Or because I never really identified with my peer group? The most unusual aspect of the NCS dialect spread, according to researchers, is how unaware the "shifters" are of their own speech patterns:
If news of this radical linguistic shift hasn’t made it to you yet, you are not alone. Even people who speak this way remain mostly unaware of it. Dennis Preston, a professor of perceptual linguistics at Oklahoma State University—he doesn’t merely study how people speak, he studies how people perceive both their own speech and the speech of others—discovered something peculiar about NCS speakers when he was teaching at Michigan State University. “They don’t perceive their dialect at all,” he says. “The awareness of the NCS in NCS territory is zero.” (Well, almost zero. The high point for NCS awareness may have come 20 years ago, when “Bill Swerski’s Super Fans” was a popular recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live.)
According to Preston, most American dialect regions are oblivious to their quirks, but NCS speakers show a particularly striking lack of self-awareness. In one experiment, shifters were asked to write down a series of words, some affected by the NCS, some not, but all dictated by someone with an NCS accent. The expectation is obvious: Shifters should ace this test. But, amazingly, NCS speakers frequently did not understand their own speech. When they hear the word cat in isolation, for example, they seem to flip a mental coin to decide whether the speaker is talking about a common pet or a folding bed.
In a separate experiment, Nancy Niedzielski, an associate professor of linguistics at Rice University, told 50 NCS speakers that she was going to play a recording of a speaker from Michigan saying the word B-A-G, which she spelled out for them. She then asked the test subjects to identify whether the signal they heard sounded like byag (the NCS pronunciation), bag (the “standard” pronunciation), or baahg (a vaguely British pronunciation). Not one of the 50 subjects said that they heard the NCS pronunciation. “There’s just an incredible deafness to the local pronunciation,” Preston says—adding that the reason, in his opinion, is clear. “They believe that they are standard, normal, ordinary speakers, and when they’re confronted with evidence to the contrary, they reject it. They reject it in their daily lives, and they reject it even experimentally. They don’t even understand themselves.”
For me it's hard not to see parallels between these NCS speakers and your typical empath: oblivious to their own behavior, unable to see parallels in their behavior and those of others, unable to even understand the fact that they are failing to understand something that is relatively obvious to others. When people talk about sociopaths being able to see right through them I usually think, yes, but a lot of this stuff is obvious if you're not caught up in that particular flavor of self-deception.
But I'm glad that people think I speak with an accent to the point that they won't even believe the truth about me. It just makes it that much more easier to obfuscate. I guess people will just believe what they want to believe, right?