An accent is a tell-tale scar left by the unfinished struggle to acquire a new language. But it is much more.
It is an author’s way of compromising with a world that is not his world and for which he was not and, in a strange sense, will never be prepared, torn as he’ll always remain between a new, thoroughly functional here-and-now and an old, competing altogether-out-there that continues to exert a vestigial but enduring pull. An accent marks the lag between two cultures, two languages, the space where you let go of one identity, invent another, and end up being more than one person through never quite two.
—Andre Aciman in Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language and Loss