How You Say…


I have a bad habit of “speaking in tongues”.  I originate from the suburbs of Chicago (where we don’t have an accent, of course).  In my travels around the country and my experience with other so-called English speaking peoples, often times I will find myself slipping into their patterns of speech.  It actually requires some effort on my part not to sound like a native.  However, when I’m home, I find I fall into other accents to make certain points more clear. 

I had a number of great aunts who retired to Florida.  They were originally from Tennessee, but their southern accents slowed… way… down.  The most exciting stories of alligators and hurricanes and balls of snakes in the washing machine were relayed in an almost bored monotone.  I find myself drawling slowly when I have the need for massive understatement.  Amusing anecdotes about customer service are invariably told in the chipper clipped sing-song tones of our neighbors to the north in Wisconsin and Minnesota “dontcha know“.  If I have to explain something in a no-nonsense fashion, I don’t look any farther than Chicago.  Examples become “yer basic” models and they’re all located “o’er by dere“.  Warnings have more “doan“s in them than the pills.

And when I think of Liverpool, England, I think of an attitude that has a low tolerance for B.S. in any form.  I have been known to speak Scouse on occasion to cut through the superficial crap (“as it were“) and to cut right to the heart of the matter (“there“).  I want to take the time to explain I don’t do it to mock Liverpool.  I like Liverpool.  They gave the world the Beatles (thanks, by the way). 

Still, I’m not allowed to go to England at this time.  Meka has made the edict out of safety concerns: my safety.  She is worried I would take one step off the plane and immediately begin speaking like Neil from the Up films.  Sadly, B.S. is found pretty much the whole world over.  And in England I would understand the B.S. as near-native speaker of the language.  So, I would invariably slip at some point.  Shortly thereafter, an international incident would occur as I was killed by polite hooligans wearing LFC shirts who can’t take a joke.

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