On American, English and New Zealand accents

I can't tell the difference between New Zealand, Australian, English and American accents any more. Okay, I can pick out a distinctly southern drawl, or Scottish or Irish, but the rest just all sound "normal" to me.

Which is interesting and sad at the same time.

It used to be that American sounded "normal" to me because that's what I was used to not only from movies and pop music, but also from Alaska. English sounded waaaaaaaay too posh and Australian sounded waaaaaaaay too Crocodile Dundee.

Then I moved to New Zealand and for a while people asked me if I was American - so bad it must've sounded.

Then, after a while, the asking stopped.

Then I married an English guy. I could still tell that he was English, but occasionally I started mistaking New Zealand accent for English, which was weird because I didn't mistake English for Kiwi, only the other way 'round.

And then, one day, I realised that I couldn't tell if a person I was speaking to was English or a Kiwi. Or was he maybe even an American?

My mind went sort of, "@!#$" It was, like, as if I couldn't tell if I was even talking in the language I thought I was talking in. I was so used to relying on hearing someone speak "in a weird way" and from there identifying the accent, and now it just sounded alround familiar, throughout. People in the store were speaking Kiwi and it sounded "normal", people in the movies were speaking American and sounded "normal" and my husband sounded "normal".

And I've never gone back from that.

Even The Man, he says, cannot tell the difference between English and Kiwi any more. He'll be talking to, say, a new workmate and he has to ask him where he's from because he cannot otherwise tell if he's a "native" or a "pom". And The Man's English! Properly Cambridgean English!

And I - I now get asked if I'm Dutch, mostly, though occasionally someone asks if I'm South African (sort of makes sense), from Europe somewhere, from Canada and not even once but twice!, believe it or not, I've been asked if I'm Irish, of all things, to which the first time I burst out laughing because I thought it was a joke (and the person who'd asked looked sort of offended) and the second asker was... Canadian.

The world's gone mad.

No comments:

Post a Comment