Friday, May 2, 2008

Say What?

Cod Pieces
Cod Pieces?
Language is a funny thing. Even when you speak the same tongue, it can still be very difficult to understand what someone's saying. Maybe it's word choice, or accent, or cadence, or simply what isn't being said.

I admit I struggled a little bit with language when I first arrived here. Not that I found my new countryfolk hard to understand, but I don't have the greatest hearing in the world to begin with. Let me rephrase: when there's a lot of background noise, I have a very hard time picking out an individual voice, even if that person is sitting right next to me. I often have to turn my head so I can make out what a person is saying if I'm in a pub or a restaurant.

Lately though I noticed I've been doing it less, especially when I'm listening to Brits speak. I know my hearing hasn't improved at all (what?) so I can only assume I'm getting more used to listening to British voices. The funny thing is they don't seem any more or less clear to me per se but I certainly ask them to repeat themselves less, and I find myself smiling and nodding a lot less as well.

Oddly enough I've noticed that I've started to pick up a couple of Brit-isms, mostly in my word choices (a fine example being "I've"). But my good old Yankee accent is completely intact. I was in New York less time than I've been here and managed to pick up more of a New York sounding accent (for a time, anyway, but don't ask me to say "dog" without saying it "dauwg" if I'm not paying attention) than I sound anything resembling British. Which is good because I don't want to be Madonna.

It's one of the less-noticeable things about living here but I admit that it does make me feel like a bit less of an outsider, likely because it makes me feel a little less self-conscious. Honestly I haven't had the feeling of "hey, I'm an American!" here in quite a while. After a while you begin to feel as though you belong and not asking people to repeat themselves every three sentences certainly helps.

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