Growing up in Nebraska, I did not know what an accent was, but I spoke Nebraskan. I was in many places during my eleven years in the Navy, so I lost the Nebraskan dialect. It got so I could recognize which part of the South someone was from—Carolina, Alabama, or Texas.
In the 1960s, the faculty of the Biblical Seminary in NYC was on the liberal side, but the students were evangelical because the seminary put a heavy emphasis on inductive study of the Bible. These students ran church youth groups in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Jersey City.
The students decided to have a conference at the seminary for all the youth groups and invited me to be the evangelist. Each group had a different accent. The accents were so thick you could cut them with a knife. During a break in the meetings, one group of school kids was talking together. Pretty soon, one of the kids came over to me and asked me where I was from. I told him I was from Nebraska. He said, “We wondered, because you talk so funny.”