June 20, 2008
Do you have an accent?
After I greeted the three-man British packing team and showed them through the house, the head packer asked me, "Do you have an accent?"
This seems like a funny question, when you would think he would be the one to tell me, having listened to me speak. But actually, it's a euphemism for, "You aren't from around here, are you?"
This did not come as a surprise, for lots of reasons, but more recently because in a clothing shop earlier this week, as I was talking with Emily, a stranger queried, "Do I hear an accent?"
This English lady proceeded to explain that she was birthday shopping for a young friend who lives in Seattle, and she was eager to hear Emily's opinion on the choices. She held a dress up to Emily's back to check on sizes, and took Emily's advice on the jeans shorts rather than the white ones.
Back to today and the packing gentleman: he declared that I sound more Scottish than American. That's a new one! :-) Cool. This is partly because my accent automatically changes depending upon whom I am speaking with. Speaking with Emily I sound very definitely American (as in the shop), but speaking with the three British workers, I sounded otherwise. Going to a British school in Switzerland until 6th grade and then an international school with 88 nationalities (or something like that) can do very odd things to one's accent.
I do like living in Europe!
I dread to think what I will sound like in German. A broken, confused French-American-British-Spanish jumble, quite possibly. Well, let's give it time. :-)
June 20, 2008 | Permalink
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I'll never forget the man at the CO-OP in Vesenaz asking me, in French, the language we were both speaking, what part of Sweden I was from, as he detected a Swedish accent to my French! Personally, I think it was my blond hair! You'll do fine in whatever language you speak, as you speak with kindness and love backing you up! Mom---waiting to see you a week from today!
Posted by: Patricia | Jun 21, 2008 12:48:51 AM
One of my favorite language memories was just a few weeks after I had returned from Hamburg, Germany to California. We went with some friends to Disneyland and met some friends of my friends who had an exchange student with them. She was from the Frankfurt area and when we introduced ourselves I said something like "Hallo, Ich bin Randall. Wie gehts dir?" to which she turned to her friends and said "you didn't tell me that one of your friends was from Hamburg!" The odd thing is I can't speak English with a German accent to save my life ;) It sure is funny to hear Birgit do it though because you know how little accent she usually has.
Posted by: randall | Jun 24, 2008 2:57:36 PM