Monday, 30 June 2008

I say chips, you say fries

Someone commented to me that they could tell where in South Africa a person was from just by listening to their accent. I honestly am not good with that. Sure I can spot a real deep south Capetonian accent anywhere(Hectic bru!) but the rest of the South African accents get me confused.


International accents are a bit easier for me to place.

An accent can be such an important thing to some people, especially when English is their language and their accent is the only thing that sets them apart from other english speaking countries.

As far as my own accent goes its a bit warped and a little twisted from travelling. Some people can go overseas for 20 years and still keep their accent intact, but not me. I am like a damn word and accent sponge.

I spent 2 years on and off in merry ol' england and I returned with what my mom likes to call "a Harry Potter" accent. In England I found it a natural progression to start picking up a bit of the "queens english". For alot of people British accents are very similar to posh South African accents anyways.

After a year back from UK I decided to head to the USA (The food alone is worth travelling there for). In America they look at anyone who doesnt speak with an american accent as strange. They use so many words in a different way that you kind of have to start speaking a bit like them to get them to understand you. These are my favourite example of the difference in words we use:

In America: Jelly is Jam. Jello is Jelly. Jam is when you having an issue "Like I'm in a Jam" or a "traffic jam".

After 3 years in America I returned home with a west coast accent and a whole lot of a americanisms (This accent my mother liked to call "horrible").
I didnt notice how much 0f my own accent I had lost until I was in a Cape Town store and the conversation with the shop girl went something like this:

shop assistant: Hi, can I help you with anything?
Me: No Thanks, I am doing good. Just having a look.
Shop assistant: Are you enjoying your holiday here?
Me: Actually I live in Cape Town
Shop assistant: It must be very different from where you are from
Me: *confused look* Ummmm.....

Its been a few years now since I went anywhere outside of South Africa and my accent is almost back to normal.. and its lekker!

;-)

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