One of the reasons why I never contemplated a career as a litigator when I re-qualified as a lawyer in the United States was that I had visions of my delivering elegantly-crafted closing arguments only to have the jury look at each other and ask each other quietly what the guy with the funny accent had been talking about.
And here is the proof that all my suspicions were dead-on. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what people hear when I open my mouth. Now you know why I wasn’t allowed to audition for my own audiobook.
Ahem….oh dear. Yes, I’m afraid I AM laughing…out….loud!! Accents and voices are funny, funny things–I was once accused of being from….wait for it…. AUSTRALIA!!! That would be a waitress in the local Chili’s restaurant having difficulty with my native Middle East Coast USA accent, and I’ve been in Missouri for over 20 years.
Be glad you didn’t end up living–and litigatin’– in the Deep South (i.e., Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi), where some judge would look you scornfully up and down and say “y’ain’t from ’round here, ar’ ye boy?”
But Mary, that’s what everyone says to me anyway – and not just the judges.
The only accents that I have trouble with are the deep south accents (Alabama, Georgia). Exhibit A: My Cousin Vinny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q7mjoxHzm4
So interesting how different reactions are to accents! Maybe because I spent a portion of my formative years in Kenya where English accents were the norm… but am I the only one who immediately takes more seriously any news person who has an English accent? And for me, same thing for reading literature. Just my two cents!
I get asked all the time where I’m from and when I answer, “Texas, born and raised,” the reaction is always, “Really?! You don’t sound Texan! I can actually understand you!” Meanwhile, my 2yo says, “All done,” as if he’s just visiting the states and will be returning to England asap, and, “Get down.” like he’s spent 40 years living in the Deep South. Though I will say that I have the same reaction to this type of radio station as Peter in this clip. “Who-what-a-stan? OH! Uzbekistan!”
Now Alex….see what you’ve started? I love this! I have a friend who spent the first 12 years of his life in Zimbabwe, then English boarding school, then the U-S; he has the most beautiful speaking voice! Having known/listened to people with all manner of accents–foreign and domestic–from birth (dad from Eastern Europe, cousins in London and Essex, various friends from all over the country and world due to living outside of Washington, DC) I have seen first hand the reaction of one to the other. My Middle East Coast friends were fascinated by my dad’s Bulgarian speech pattern, and loved it when he answered our phone ” ‘Ahlloh?”; those that came from the South couldn’t stand the harshness of the New York nasality (“she talks funny!”); and then the guys falling all over themselves because of the beautiful voice of the new girl from Spain!! And completing the circle, Dad always said he loved that Southern US lilt; “Oh, I could listen to them talk all the time!”