Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My accent's all going a bit Pete Tong, eh?

Since I moved to Canada five years ago, I've tried really hard to keep my British accent. I'm proud of it, and also I enjoy confusing people with phrases like "what a jammy bugger!" (translation: what a lucky bugger), and "I wish they'd stop faffing around." (translation: I wish they'd stop wasting time).

Of course, there were certain language trends I couldn't avoid, in order to fit in. But still I retained my accent. Mostly.

And then when Matthew turned one he started talking, and before long, I noticed he was developing a distinct British accent.

His words didn't emphasize "R"s. For instance, cars was "cahhs" rather than "carrrs". Fork was "fawk" not forrrk". "Pahhk" rather than "parrk".

His "A"s were more "ahhh" than "aaa". Like, crahft, banahna, bahth.

And though it was cute to hear, I decided I wanted Matthew to have a Canadian accent, after all - he'll be attending school here, growing up here, all of that. Plus, you know, little punks kids can be mean about things like that.

So I started speaking a little Canadian myself. And I felt like a total prat. But I persevered (the things we do for our kids!). I kept at it for over a year, articulating words in way that was totally foreign. Adding emphasis to letters, changing the sounds of vowels, rolling words off my tongue.

And suddenly Matthew was sounding more Canadian.

But then, a few days ago, I was reading Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever out loud to the boys, and I realized: my accent is messed up. Or, in other words, completely bloody bonkers.

Despite my efforts, I fear it is now a big jumbled mix bag of dialects from all around the world - some places I've never even visited!

Example:

"Hey boys, aRe you ready for breakfast?" = Canadian.

"Would you like Rice Krispies or peanut butteR?" = Irish.

"Do you want a banahna with that?" = English.

"You want some wateR?" = Bangladeshi.

"We're going to pick Daddy up in the caR later dahling." = Australian.


You see?

Messed. Up.

So Matthew may end up with a Canadian accent, but I'm beginning to sound like an Aussie Canuck from Ireland.

It's all a bit confusing. Eh?
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27 comments:

The Tompkins Family said...

So funny! Actually, when I was pregnant, my hubby and I decided we were only going to speak with fake British accents around the baby because we wanted the baby to have a cute little accent! Sadly, trying to make a baby who cries 20 hours a day for 3 months made us forget our plan. DRAT!!!

Jenn said...

I grew up in Canada, spent 2 years in South Korea, 1 year in Thailand & so far (well as of today anyways) a year in Australia. It's no wonder people can't figure out where I'm from as My English is all over the place & I've taken a bit of lingo from them all. I'm pretty sure my sons accent will be messed up too. My significant other is Japanese & him & his family speak to our son in Japanese. I'm worried what his English is going to be like when he's older.Oh well. What ya gonna do, eh?

Jenn said...

I grew up in Canada, spent 2 years in South Korea, 1 year in Thailand & so far (well as of today anyways) a year in Australia. It's no wonder people can't figure out where I'm from as My English is all over the place & I've taken a bit of lingo from them all. I'm pretty sure my sons accent will be messed up too. My significant other is Japanese & him & his family speak to our son in Japanese. I'm worried what his English is going to be like when he's older.Oh well. What ya gonna do, eh?

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I respect your dedication to keeping your English accent (I'm one of those people who picks up accents as a result of immersion and ut's very embarrassing). Your new accent fusion sounds pretty interesting too though. Indulge us with a vlog please. I want to hear it.

Kathy Sprinkle said...

Your description of British sounds like a Boston accent! I also LOVED your Jammy Bugger definition that still included Bugger -- a word only used by Brits as far as I know... Kind of cracked me up!

I do love that when I speak German I am told I have an Austrian accent (that is where I learned it) --

My Dad grew up with German speaking parents and in addition to having no accent (except possibly a brooklyn one!) he even forgot all his German -- I think your son will be Canadian enough by Kindergarten! even if you still speak British English.

Kathy
http://www.blisspot.blogspot.com/

Miz Dinah said...

Maaahhhhvelous! I love a British accent. My friend has been in Canada for I dunno, twenty some odd years? She still says AHmonds (almonds), GERridge (garage) and some other words that we tease her about. Secretly, we're jealous. :)

laura said...

Actually, I think that listening to you speak must be really fascinating. You're like an International Woman of Mystery (no relation to Austin Powers intended).

I'm living in an international community in Thailand, and I think that in my group of close friends alone we have four difference words that we use for "garbage". I personally like "rubbish" the best, and find "trash" the harshest.

LisaDay said...

I would also love to hear you as a Aussie Canuck from Ireland.

My friend's son has a friend (oh no, one of those stories) whose parents are both British so little Harry has a thick British accent. It is pretty cute.

LisaDay

Bear and Bones Mama said...

I dunno, I think it's fun. What's the point of fitting in? At least you don't sound American, so you have that going for you :-) (and for the record, I am American but wuold love to have an Indian accent).

Shannon said...

Hilarious! Sounds like you all have fun with the language thingy...good for you! Thanks for making me smile!

Emma said...

I can totally, totally appreciate this :). Me with the canuck accent, husband newly landed British, and the boys trying to navigate that while in Canada, while talking to relatives in and regularly visiting the UK.

Heather said...

I can so relate to this! having moved around the Uk a lot and then travelled for years before finally settling down here I have a ridiculous accent. go only knows what my poor kids are going to end up eith.

Lady Mama said...

The Tompkins Family - that is so funny!

Jenn - You must have quite an unusual accent. I think kids pick up a lot of their accent at school - at least, I'm hoping.

Kate - Noooo! Sorry, but I think I'd be a terrible vlogger!

Kathy Sprinkle - Funny, my husband was just last night trying to describe a Boston accent. Yes, I'm hoping that will be the case.

Miz Dinah - Can't imagine what my accent will be like in 20 years..

Laura - Haha - thank you! An "international woman of mystery"! I like the sound of that. I still like using "rubbish" too.

LisaDay - I'll have to see if I can summon the courage! Your accent must be pretty interesting too.

Bear and Bones Mama - So true! It's nice to stand out sometimes. And, you know, you could always develop a mysterious Indian accent...

Shannon - It certainly amuses me!

Emma - Yes you know exactly what I'm talking about!

Heather - I think your accent is lovely! I think we think we sound worse than we do...

gringationcancun said...

Hilarious!

I say you should keep the British accent! It makes people sound smarter and funnier. (no idea why)

Captain Dumbass said...

Freak.

: )

Christine said...

That totally cracked me up. I say blend & mix, because that is what Canada's really all about!

Tammy said...

Don't worry!! You still sound British to me... however I have never been there so I may also just be easy to convince. :) I like the accent though..!

Mwa said...

Very confusing, especially as you needn't have done it at all! I know many people who have moved about the place, and the children ALWAYS end up with the accent of the school/country rather than that of their parents! All he needed was a couple of weeks at school!

Metropolitan Mum said...

LOL. I like the Bangladeshi one. But who am I to laugh? Se sick Cherman accent isn't easy to get rrrit off eisah.

Joy said...

Hilarious! You have a global accent, and there's nothing wrong with that! :)

(Found you from SITS.)

Christa Terry said...

Awesome! People find it hard to place my accent because I've been proactive about making it weird. I have immediate family in the northern U.S., the southern U.S., I've lived in Germany and Costa Rica... and I've taken the best bits from all of those places!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Hilarious. Seriously. As a New Yorker in the South, it's not quite the same thing, but my daughter has an odd mish-mash of accents. A touch of my NY, hubby's ME (New England way of saying some words), a bit of Southern and some odd NY-like accent she picked up from her cousin who visited in Dec. Same age, no less. It's all frigged up, I think!

The Write Girl said...

This is such a delightful post...the British accent is so wonderful to hear. When you described park as "pahhk" I thought of a Bostonian accent lol. This is a fun site. I enjoyed my visit here : )

A 2 Z said...

Attached to the British accent is usually a person with a keen sense of humor. I'm serious. Its my British friends that make me laugh the most. While I lived in Australia and South Africa my kids picked up the local accent. They kept saying that my English was bad (which is probably true). I was a bit nervous coming back to Canada. I figured somebody would think that I had abducted 2 kids since the both had such a different accent from mine. School was the major factor that changed everything. Kids want to fit in so much that it took a month to undo everything.

Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy said...

Hi! I just checked out your blog...I was a little behind in checking out SITS FBs and I am so glad I found you blog! I too have 2 young boys close in age! I'll be back! I hope you had a happy SITS day!

:) Kim

James (SeattleDad) said...

Messed up or not, I bet it sounds pretty cool. I love to hear accents. Shows that the word is a diverse place.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Messed up or not, I bet it sounds pretty cool. I love to hear accents. Shows that the word is a diverse place.