Washington Square News

How My Andrew Hamilton Conspiracy Theory Fell Apart

By Jemima McEvoy, Editor-in-Chief

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Over the course of a single week my life slowly fell apart.

At the beginning of my reporting on this story, I ardently believed that a large chunk of NYU’s student body subscribed to the conspiracy that President Andrew Hamilton’s British accent wasn’t real — or at the very least was heavily exaggerated.

My belief in this theory first came about during the Presidential Welcome in Madison Square Garden during my first week at NYU. Under the sweeping ceilings, surrounded by my future peers, I first heard his voice. It echoed throughout the enormous room. The second the first syllable hit me, I knew.

I grew up in England, and only moved to the United States during my junior year of high school — a fact I thought would prepare me for a fairly accurate analysis of our British president’s accent.

However, as time and reporting would show me, I was wrong. Fellow Brits, a professional linguist and even my own mother; they’ve all betrayed me, leaving me alone in the cold with my conspiracy theory. A single believer.

To start my story, I reached out to fellow British students. They were the first to reject me.

“I’ve always been convinced by it,” CAS sophomore Imogen Fordyce said. “I felt bad for him at our Presidential Welcome when he started to talk and everyone laughed at his voice, so I’d say I’m convinced.”

Despite a weak start on my end, I did have a slight win when she began to backtrack a little. Step one of starting a conspiracy theory: instilling doubt.

“But I do know some American students who can do an uncanny impression of it so maybe that’s a sign it’s fake?” Fordyce said. I fist-pumped.

Another British student I spoke to, Gallatin sophomore Ravi Sharma, got a little philosophical, but still ultimately rejected the theory.

“I think the answer to your question really depends on how fake you mean by fake,” Sharma said. “I think he sounds a little unnatural and slightly weird. I think he is actually English, but either he’s putting something on or exaggerating or he’s just been warped by push upbringing followed by international life.”

Sharma seemed to be on the right track, according to Department of Linguistics Associate Professor Gillian Gallagher, who focuses on phonology and phonetics. She explained to me over the phone that no accent is fake, and that accents are formed and influenced by a number of factors, including moving countries, which Hamilton did when he relocated from the United Kingdom to the United States.

“No,” she responded when I asked her if she thought President Hamilton’s voice was unusual.

This is when I really began to lose hope in my conspiracy theory. This is when I hit rock bottom.

In this moment of desperation, I called my mother, who I assumed would support me through thick and thin.

“It sounds British to me,” she said, slowly crushing my soul. “Just a little droney but nonetheless British. Sorry.”

So there we have it, Hamilton’s accent is real and I’m an idiot.


Read more from WSN’s “Conspiracy” Feature. Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Jemima McEvoy, Editor-in-Chief
Jemima McEvoy is the Editor-in-Chief for the Washington Square News, as well as a sophomore studying something to do with politics and law in CAS. She’s originally from England, but has been desperately trying to hold on to her accent for the past few years that she has spent living in the USA. During the...
Rachel Buigas-Lopez, Creative Director
Rachel Buigas-Lopez is in her second year as the Creative Director for the Washington Square News. She is a sophomore studying Integrated Digital Media at Tandon. Outside of newspaper, and sometimes at newspaper, she spends her time fawning over photos of greyhounds that are bigger than any apartment she will be able to rent in...
Echo Chen, Multimedia Editor
Echo Chen is the Multimedia Editor at the Washington Square News. She is a freshman in Gallatin studying visual storytelling, sprung from her love of painting, photography, film and, above all else, people! She is a fierce defender of her home state New Jersey, a plant mom and a lover of coffee, sweetgreen and animated...

2 Responses to “How My Andrew Hamilton Conspiracy Theory Fell Apart”

  1. art garfield on April 2nd, 2018 11:07 am

    nah b this accent is fake as heck guys

  2. Mother on April 2nd, 2018 12:28 pm

    This article is really funny. I am honored to be quoted. Sorry I conspired against you …

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