17 December, 2009

Accents, language and kids

There isn't too much of a language barrier with the Americans I meet. Mostly I understand what they say and mostly they understand me. And sometimes they comment on the accent and when they do, they are very nice about it. But the children we meet are another case. They understand my girls but they just can't work out why they sound so funny. Today one of Emilia's classmates looked at me and with a lightbulb moment said "oh, now I know where Emilia gets how she speaks, she gets it from you!"

When I explained that actually there's an entire nation of over 60 million people who speak like us (glossing over regional variations like Geordie, Scouse or Glaswegian obviously) her mouth dropped open in wonder. I've had children ask if they speak English in England. And some are correcting my girls' pronunciation. So E is being told to say warder instead of water. And she, in turn, is tempted to point out that when counting they are saying AD not eighty and what happened to the t? Both girls have started "translating" their words - they come home and say that at school they say "tomayto" so that their friends will understand.

Meanwhile Tom is occasionally having to repeat his name because over here it is Tahm not Tom and so people look quizzical. As I've had a lifetime of people looking bemused when I say my name, I find this very funny.

1 comment:

D9Robot said...
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