Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Language and accents

It occurred to me that I'm very bad at putting flesh to words. What I mean is, when I read something, I'm not very good at really picturing it in my mind - I just sort of let the words flow over me without having concrete images in my mind. This doesn't really bother me but it recently occurred to me that I do something similar when I'm reading blogs. It's slightly different though because reading a blog is nearly like having to imagine a conversation with somebody. Only all of these conversations with people end up sounding the same in my head - like me!

Considering, for example, that Stonehead is an Aussie living in Scotland, the chances of him sounding anything like me are fairly remote. And then there are all the people from the other side of the pond. For example Laurie is from Carolina and I'm not sure what accent that would be exactly except southern so I kind of imagine something like from a film that's set in New Orleans. Sorry, Laurie if that's really insulting. I don't speak like Tom Cruise in Far and Away (that was our big bank holiday movie yesterday - I ask you!), don't often sound like I'm one of the Commitments nor anything like Darby O'Gill so there's absolutely no logical reason you should sound like someone from the Big Easy :). And then there are all the little things which I know most people in the States would say differently (and I don't just mean saying sidewalk instead of footpath, pacifier instead of soother etc). I mean basil being pronounced bay-sil instead of baa-sil and so on. No particular reason for this post, just something that occurred to me. Language is a funny, endlessly fascinating thing.

4 comments:

Laurie said...

Oh, I have a serious Southern drawl with a hillbilly edge. Sharp, not round. Maybe more like Deliverance than Gone with the Wind. Did you see Cold Mountain? More Renee Zellweger than Nicole Kidman. People from other parts of my own country have a hard time understanding me. But however you imagine my voice is fine with me - it's not insulting! I'm flattered that you're even thinking about my voice!

I guess that I think in terms of what I've heard in movies, too - where else am I going to hear an Irish or Aussie accent?

Phelan said...

I have a midwestern accent, um...a nuetral accent for the US. I love Irish accents.

By the bye, I think you rock!

melanie said...

I have no idea if I have an accent - Western Canada seems to be pretty nondescript in that department.

Also, despite the fact that I lived in Scotland for a short while all Scottish men sound like Billy Connolly and all Scottish women sound like Maggie Smith as Prof. McGonagall in my mind. Tragic, I know.

*melanie from www.meli-mello.com

Stonehead said...

I have a fairly neutral accent - the result of having lived in numerous places in Australia and the UK. On top of that, I was a writer and journalist for many years so have a tendency to speak "proper" - whatever that is! I can do bush Australian, but loathe the suburban nasal twang.

The Other Half also has a neutral accent with a tendency to speak proper. She's a Dundonian but lived in London and Egypt, and she's an English teacher.

The real accents belong to our boys who speak with a mixture of Estuary English, Yorkshire, Scots and Australian sounds.