Monday, May 18, 2009

You say tomayto, I say tomahto

My toddler, Matthew, is obsessed with the movie Cars at the moment. Several times a day, he gets this look about him, like he's just remembered something very important, and begins his drone... "cars?" ... "CARRRS?" ... "CARRRRRS?!!" And if he can locate the remote control he'll grab that and thrust it at me enthusiastically, to emphasize the urgency of his request. (Lucky for me it's Cars and not some awful kids show designed to torture parents... like Barney.)

Besides the movie, our house is filled with Cars-the-movie merchandise, toy cars, parking garages, ramps, ride-on cars and other car-related things. Cars are literally everywhere we turn. I can't open a kitchen cupboard or put on a shoe without finding one. So the word cars is probably mentioned - oh, maybe one hundred times a day.

With all the talk of cars, we've noticed Matthew is developing an English accent, like me. He doesn't say "carrrs" (with a heavy R), he says "cahhhs". It's cute, but I don't want him to develop a British accent. Because what happens when he goes to school and doesn't sound like the other kids? What if they pick on him for having a strange accent?

I worry about these things...

So a few weeks ago I started to rethink the way I say certain words to him. Like, yep you guessed it, "cars". I began to stress the R. CaRs. Even though it made me cringe to hear myself say it. Then it was "tomato" - from "to-mah-to" to "to-may-to". This received quite a few raised eyebrows.

Then I thought about "banana"... "ban-ah-na" to "ba-naa-na". I tried it a few times but the sound of me saying ba-naa-na was farcical. If you've seen the movie Traffic - the one where Catherine Zeta-Jones attempts an American accent - it was kind of like that. A bit disturbing really.

And then there's "water", "bottle", "bath"... It goes on and on. By this point I would have sounded part Irish, part American, part Jamaican. So I stopped the silliness. It was pretty ridiculous, after all. Matthew will have to learn his own language. Maybe it'll take a while to get it right. Maybe once he starts pre-school next year he'll acquire more of a Canadian accent... Maybe if he listens to his Dad enough...
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8 comments:

Juli Ryan said...

Funny post! We're big Cars fans around here too. I think it's probably Owen Wilson's best movie.

I'm American, and my husband is a Kiwi. I'm a terrible mimic. I can't do a Kiwi accent. Kiwis die laughing if I try. Our boy (4) knows mum says things one way, and dad another. Unfortunately, NZers think he sounds like a Yank. And the Yanks think he sounds like a Kiwi.

Mom Mayhem says: said...

Oh we have tons of cars things around here too! We've also tried to correct my son on the prounciation-but,because He says-Trucks! Sometimes will say you mean-Cars? And then sometimes he'll say- Cars-Trucks =D
I'm sure your son will pick up his language like you say it might just take some time. Curious where are you from? -The U.K.?

Loukia said...

This post was so funny... and so cute! Loved reading it. I wouldn't worry about your son having an accent. It sounds totally adorable, if you ask me. The funny thing is, my 3 and a half year old sometimes sounds like he has an accent too, which is weird, because we mostly speak to him in English - our other language is Greek. When my son says "What are you doing?" he sounds just like Borat. It's hilarious.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, by the way! I'm following you now, too! :) Love finding other Canadian mom bloggers!

Lady Mama said...

Juli - that's funny that NZers think your husband sounds like a yank - Canadians think I'm Australian...!?

Mom Mayhem - I'm from the UK (England) :)

Loukia - thanks :) Too funny that your son sounds like Borat! I guess they eventually grow out of their funny little accents...

MommaD said...

Don't worry, my son has two very american parents and has a strange english-esque accent on any word with two ll's...but as he is my third I learned in the end they figure it all out! Following now from Mom Bloggers Club!

..... Carmen said...

You make me laugh. As I read this I could totally see you trying to say those words "our" way and it didn't seem right to me at all. Matthew will figure it out. All the people I know that are our age who grew up with one parent with an accent, sound quite Canadian (rather than British, Aussie etc.). He'll pick most of it up from kids at school once he gets there I imagine. Peer pressure will change it all ;)

Mammatalk said...

Ah, your accent sounds wonderful.

Mom Mayhem says: said...

From the UK-Cool! I know a mom/mum ;) who lives in London and started- www.essexmums.org.
Oh! and BTW I absolutely think people that have an english accent sound beautiful -I'm sure your son will be fine.