Monday, May 18, 2009


Gracious! Have I not blogged since last Wednesday? How terribly remiss of me. Do please accept my sincerest dear readers.

Today as I was catching up on one of my favourite blogs I found this post, all about how Anna (the blogger) has become more aware of her British accent since moving to the US. She says that the accent hasn't slipped, but her brain has - making her notice that her voice is shouting “Hey, look at me, I’m ostentatiously foreign!”. She describes herself as a duck, quacking in a land of goats.

It was an interesting perspective and one with which I empathise.

However my own "foreign" accent experience goes a little further.

When I was (insert small number here) years old, I famously (within my family) told my grandmother that "Oy loyk moy boyke", only to be corrected by my nanna; "No Emily, Ay lyke my byke". My mum wouldn't let us watch Grange Hill or Eastenders because "They speak terribly at your school and I don't want you hearing that accent when you are at home as well."

Needless to say, all these efforts had little impact on my accent which, to my parents' dismay continued to descend perilously close to 'estuary' English.

Throughout my art A Level my dad visibly winced everytime I discussed what I needed to do on my ar' project. I rather cleverly always defended my use of the Glottal Stop, insisting that "it wasn't finished yet!"

When I moved to London everything changed. I lived in Fulham with a fabulous girl from the 'Shire' (Oxfordshire, that is).

Suddenly my vowels started to fill out. While the ends of many of my words still seemed to be superfluous, I began to give the impression that I was raised in a gentrified family's country seat, partial to scones (pr. scone, like gone) and fully cognisant of the correct direction in which to pass the port. My parents' consant nazi-esque grammar corrections began to bear fruit and the prepositions vanished from the end of my sentences. My sentences comprised, they no longer comprised of (she says, thereby proving the previous sentence about her grasp of the correct placement of the preposition to be entirely inaccurate).

Australia has been the latest step in the development of my accent, but rather than adding an absurd 'Australian intonation' to my speech, the move Down Under has in fact just made me sound like the queen. I don't know whether it is just the contrast to the Australian accent and the rarity of finding too many plummy voices out here, but to my ear, my voice now provides plenty of justification for ridicule and inaccurate class-ist taunts.

I say:

"It's terribly good of you"
"I shall take a peek in a mo"
"Simply ghastly"
"Goodness gracious"

But I quite like my accent and I can honestly say it has evolved naturally and not been fabricated in any way (which I am sure any of you who have heard my attempts at regional accents will believe entirely).

I do mix it with some words I have picked up over the last year (avo, devo, servo, bottlo... you get the gist), but the accent is rather fundamental to the impression I create.

It's just what I sound like now, innit?


Em's mum said...

Nanna would be thrilled!

Em's mum said...

......and your reply to her at the time was, "oy didn't know you had a boike too nanna."

Melissa said...

I was the same, when I moved from Scotland to England, I became soooo much more scottish. Hoots Man where's ma heid! etc. but that seems to be wearing off a little...

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