Rebecca Tan’s “Accent Adaptation” (“On sincerity, spontaneity, and the distance between Singlish and English”) is an interesting account by a college student of her struggle with adapting her Singaporean style of speech to American norms:
Every international student will surely find this idea of performance familiar. The most difficult thing about speaking in a foreign country isn’t adopting a new currency of speech, but using it as though it’s your own—not just memorizing your lines, but taking center stage and looking your audience in the eye. It is one thing to pronounce can’t so that it rhymes with ant instead of aunt, but a whole other order to do that without feeling like a fraud.
I got the link via Mark Liberman’s Log post, in whose comment thread you will find a good discussion of the fact (which had never occurred to me) that US can and can’t are frequently indistinguishable, or hard to distinguish, for foreigners. And anyone interested in the general topic of the problem speakers of localized forms of language have with standard languages should read Lameen’s recent posts at Jabal al-Lughat, “Lexical gaps in diglossia: When you can’t write what you know” (“even well-educated Algerians don’t know enough Fusha to adequately describe their daily life, much less to write all they know”) and “School in a language you don’t speak” (“Even the most divergent Appalachian or inner city dialects are closer to standard English than the home language of the most highly educated middle-class Algerians is to standard Arabic”).