I was speaking to an East Asian lady yesterday.
When I lived in Boston ascertaining Korean, Chinese or Japanese was the effort of a nonce. But now in Montana it took me five minutes to convince myself that her accent was Mandarin. At the end of the conversation I thanked her in Mandarin. She left and at a count of five came back and asked if I said that in English or Chinese. ‘I don’t look in the least Chinese,’ I said. When she turned to go I said good-bye in Mandarin. A count of two this time. ‘That was Chinese!’
That is the golden moment. If you can make someone unaware of which language you used, your accent is sufficient.
Or maybe a fat, white, blue-eyed devil isn’t expected to understand.
But I cherish the moment.