17 January 2006

common language?

I have been an Anglophile for a long time, many years before I met CD. I watched royal weddings on TV, no matter how early I had to get up to do so. I became interested in British dogs. Since I started living with CD I call paper towels "kitchen roll" now. I am prone to feeling peckish. And at this time of year, there's nothing like a nice woolly jumper. [For more, see The American's Guide to Speaking British] I have been known to say CD could read me the phone book, but those who know him can attest to the likelihood of that happening....

There is one expression that has begun to bother me in recent days, "Bread roll". What's up with that? What other kinds of rolls are we worried about confusing them with?

My sister-in-law recently mentioned how she realized Oliver is going to have an American accent. Not exactly news, but it made me think about it too. We talked about it via e-mail and I expressed my concern that if we stay in Pittsburgh too long Oliver would start to develop a Pittsburgh accent. She wisely reminded me that it could be worse....we could live in Texas.

She sent us a Harry Potter book on cd, read by one of my favorite (favourite?) British actors, Stephen Fry. (He's no Colin Firth but I still wouldn't mind sharing a pint with him.) I look forward to listening to it. We have all the Harry Potters in the original, British versions. Would you believe they change some words for American kids?! It's appalling, not to mention it underestimates their intelligence.

Oliver is going to have quite a time when he gets to school, especially if CD is helping with homework, sorting out the spelling issues and such. I expect the accent is going to be the least of his troubles.

5 comments:

Susie said...

I don't know if the spelling will be a problem. I spent my first 4 years in South Georgia and we moved to England right before I started school. I learned to read in England and was in British school for 6 years and I never had any trouble differentiating between American and British English, even when we moved back to the US and the spelling was different.

Interestingly enough, even after we moved to England I had a very strong southern (US) accent, which I still used at home with my parents, but I also picked up my schoolmates' proper English accent very quickly and used it at school. Often, people who only knew me at school had no idea I was even American. The only thing confusing about this was when I would have friends over to play at home. My parents loved to hear me "speak English" but I didn't like to do it in front of them, and of course my American accent was a real curiosity to my friends. I can remember getting so tongue-tied!

And with all due respect, there are a bunch of places one could live in the British Isles that would potentially make for a much more horrifying accent than the 'Burgh...

Elizabeth said...

The only comment I have is that I agree with you on the fact it could be worse...a texas accent. I live in good ol' texas and the way some people talk here is crazy. Luckily my husband and I don't have much of an accent. He's from Wisconsin and I've lived all over (VA, MI, OH, TX, and NJ) The last 18 years (minus 1 in NJ) have been in TX.

Kim said...

I'm originally from Maine so I know about accents too. Not many people guess that from listening to me talk.

Dutch said...

yep, yuns are just gonna have to accept that oliver is going to talk like a good old pittsburgher. at least he'll fit right in when he goes dahn-tahn.

And he'll put french fries on his SALADs and his Sandwiches, so it can't be all that bad.

I LOVE Pittsburgh.

Kim said...

Dutch, you sound like a closet yinzer but I think you meant to say "salads, samiches, 'nat."