Must make a disclaimer right here

So my friend Streets is worried that people in Belfast will think she's a poser, on account of she's already picking up the accent without meaning to. I sure hope no one thinks that about her, because maybe in Belfast that earns you a nice brick to the head.

I will probably have the same problem, but since I will be in a nice small town, maybe I will just get sticks or cow patties or whatever thrown at me. Actually I know I will start picking up the accent, partly because it's the only time when I can almost have an English accent without people looking at me like I'm insane, but also because I won't be able to help it.

I can't spend more than 5 minutes in the South without the drawl coming out. But that's because it's in my blood. I tell you, you can't fight blood. When someone from North Carolina calls me at work, we get to talking and by the end of the conversation I sound like Daisy Duke and my coworkers start looking at each other like, "What is she smoking?"

The saddest part was picking up a Utah accent, which I totally did. I haven't made it as far down the scale of degeneracy as to use "sell" for "sale" and "pell" for "pail," but I'm getting close. For example, I can't answer a Yes/No question with a Yes or No anymore.

Q: "Hey [Nem], did you go to the party last night?" (This is a completely made-up question, because I never go to parties. They happen late at night, when I am already curled up in bed with warm milk and twelve cats.)

Normal Answer: "Yes" or possibly "Yeah" or even "Yep".

Utah Answer: head tilt, "Tsk . . . I did."

You know what I'm talking about. Instead of "Yes" or "No" it's "I did," or "I have" or "I didn't" or "I havuhn't." And always with a head tilt or bob of some kind. You watch and you'll see.

My point is, when I start using British spelling and British words and stuff, only 25% of that will be about me being a pretentious freak who secretly wants to be English. The other 75% will be completely out of my control, so please don't stop being my friends.

Cheers, wot wot!


daltongirl said... [reply]

One of my favorite mom memories is when I was talking like someone else, and she said with derision, "You're quite a chameleon, aren't you?" I said brightly, with a little head cock, "I am!"

My question is, what's wrong with blending in? It's what we creative types DO. For obvious reasons that I don't think I need to go into right now. It just means we're creative, and bright. That's what it means.

Now, as for the people who come home from a non-English speaking country and are unable to speak English, despite having been living the entire time with another English-speaker and speaking English constantly to that person, I have no patience.

Ooh! And there's a guy in my ward who went to China last summer for two months, and he still takes his shoes off when he comes into the church. Four months later. So he's been home double the amount of time he was gone. You can't tell me that's not a desperate attempt to get attention. Love the kid, but he's a little nuts.

Coop said... [reply]

I had a companion (mission) from Blanding, UT who I could hardly understand sometimes. Greatest kid in the world, just couldn't talk. On top of his ridiculous Utah accent, he was a real, live cowboy. He told me a story about how once he and his buddy loaded the biggest bell he'd ever seen in the back of a Dodge Ram.

Elder H: Man, you should've seen it. That bell had the bed of that truck nearly scrapin' the ground!

Elder Me: I thought you worked on a farm.

EH: I did.

Me: Why would you put a bell in the back of a truck?

EH: That's what I do, most days. It's either chasin' down runaway bulls or tossin' bells. Hoo-wee.

Me: Why are you tossing bells around? I'm so confused.

EH: The cows gotta eat something.

Me: Your cows eat bell... oh man. You mean bales. Hay bales.

EH: Right. Bells.

Me: No, bales. Say it with me: "bayll."

EH: Bell.

Me: Practice your Portuguese.

Savvymom said... [reply]

Just don't come back talking like Malcolm. As much as I love him, it would not even be cool.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Daltongirl--that's right, I remember that your mom is snotty about your accent. But what does she expect when you've been living here for years??? And we are creative. And bright.

Coop--priceless example. After posting I remembered about "fill" for "feel" and "rill" for "real."

Savvymom--I wouldn't come back talking like Malcolm. I don't think I could if I tried. I would come back sounding like a newscaster or something, probably. A hot newscaster.

Cicada said... [reply]

Ambrosia stole my sorry, the nastly little thief.

If I can't have a Scottish accent myself, can I at least marry a man who does?

ambrosia ananas said... [reply]

Hahahaha. I stole Cici's "sorry," DP's "harrible," Timi's British downward inflection on questions, Katherine's "aboat," and Cici's Scottish-inheritance inflection.

At this point, I'm one big affectation. And I enjoy it. Sadly, though, I've never quite been able to smother my native habits of speech.

daltongirl said... [reply]

So, Nem, are you saying I have an accent? Because I know I have a little bit of an accent, but these other good people who don't actually know me might get the impression that I say "dalt-en" with that little glottal stop, or that I live in American Fark, where I like to gorden. Please believe that I was just as confused about Coop's companion's story of the bell as he was, until he clarified. Please don't judge me. That would make me fill rill bad.

Also, one thing I think is funny is that in a linguistics class I took, we learned that many of the Utah speech idiosyncracies are the same all over the west coast. So a lot of it really doesn't have anything to do with living here, but with growing up in California, the center of all rational thought and classiness (according to my mom). Take THAT, Mom.

Kelly said... [reply]

I totally relate! I had a Southern accent when I was little and that totally comes back if I talk to family or just hang out with someone from below the Mason-Dixon Line.

I've also picked up the Chicago accent a bit (think Blues Brothers: we're on a misison from Gaahd) because I lived there for 3 years and spent one of those years living with a girl from Green Bay, WI (dontcha know).

I couldn't just keep the whole Tucson, no-accent thing going for me.

And I totally know what you're talking about with the Utah thing. I've never lived in Utah, but have been around enough Mormons that I think I've picked that up a little bit as well.

Julie said... [reply]

I can't wait for your take on the english midlands accent Nemesis! Not exactly sure how they speak in Loughborough, but the midlands is an interesting place for speaking completely though your nose!

Th. said... [reply]


You know, I think the Utah accent is unfairly maligned--perhaps because it has a large collection of the lazy elements that that show up all around the West. I do most of the things you complained about, but I did them before living in Utah.

Th. said... [reply]


Having said that, in my mission you could always tell the Utah Elders by the way they spoke Korean--the accent came through.

CoolMom said... [reply]

I think it's funny the way my good friend from Pleasant Grove goes shopping so she can "boughten" stuff. You never "boughten" anything unless you shop in Utah.

By the way, I hope you don't think everyone from the south talks like Paula Dean on the cooking show. Even in the south, we are a bit snotty about which part we come from. Everyone knows that the farther north you go the more intelligent and classy you become. I know this because my family is all from Virginia.

Coop said... [reply]

"All over the west."

I must correct you. Oregonians have no accent whatsoever. Oregon is the only state in the union whose citizens do not have an accent.

Streets of Belfast said... [reply]

Bout ye, what's the craic? Yousens are dead on. But, fer feck if Ah catch any of yousens telling me to catch meself on me fuggen goat ye...Mawn, youse just a fuggen dickbax, no bones about it and Ah'll knack ye ballbegs ballix in. Now givuz ah way bitta pace. And wee nemesis, if some get tries to slip ye his beef, youse goes "Getawaydafug ya wee gat. Who'd ya fink y'are? Wee Slabber." (Wow look at me, One week in Belfast and already I'm threatening violence. So if it isn't spelled "proper" and isn't pronounced "proper" is it swearing?--and for youse ragin' Milly's, feck is not what yousens are thinkin' it 'tis.

Nemesis said... [reply]


Um, never mind what I said about being worried about Streets. From the sound of things, I'm thinking she'll be juuuuust fine.

When I lived in London I had a phrase ready to go just in case anyone ever tried to grope me in a lift or on the Tube. I won't repeat it here, but trust me when I say that it was quite native and colorful. I ran it through my head constantly so that I could be prepared to yell it if need be.

Never got to use it though . . . sigh.

Unmanagable said... [reply]

English accents are hot, yall!! But southern english accents are ever more hotter. And Aussie. And French. And Russian. And pretty much everyplace else EXCEPT for Utah, Mexico and the dirty south.
(I been in Kentucky fer a while. Caint teel rat?)
Nemisis, go master that sexy english lingo. The professional benifets alone are huge. What job interviewer would turn down a cute chick with a hot English accent? I sure wouldn't!

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

Just pick up an Irish accent. I hear they're RIGHT SEXY.

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

Oh and as a side note: I now find myself saying 'boughten'. I didn't say it before, but I do now. Thanks.

A Lot.


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