Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hey, You All...

There are many things I love about living nearly smack dab in the middle of this country… probably enough to fill an entire post. But there are some things that I definitely wish were different.

One of those wishes is completely ridiculous, but it’s still MY wish. I wish I had an accent. I’m not sure exactly WHICH accent I’d want, but anything would be better than my plain, flat, midwest-not-really-there accent.

Some companies like this flat non-accent so much, they base their telemarketing divisions here. I live in what very well may be the telemarketing capital of the world because of this fact. Big deal. So what? People can understand me… and, sometimes, that’s not necessarily to my advantage. *ahem*

The other disadvantage to my absence of accent is I’m very susceptible to other people’s accents. If you’re from the southern US, and you speak to me for a period of more than 5 seconds, I will immediately and most subconsciously adopt your accent. I’m not making fun of you… I promise! I can’t help it… it just happens.

I spent two weeks in Great Britain once… about a week in England and another week in Scotland. Oh, that was a FUN TRIP!!! Nearly every day, I had a new accent! The Queen’s English Proper, Cockney, Liverpoolian, Scottish brogue… I tell you, I was in heaven! (I know these aren't the actual terms for these accents. They're my terms. And this is my blog. Live with it.)

Traveling to the east and west coasts of the US is always interesting for me. I rarely pick up on a thick Brooklyn accent, although I find it absolutely fascinating. New England vowels form very easily for me, though, as do the surfer-speak and valley-speak of certain parts of the west coast.

Oh, and all you Aussies… LOVE IT. I can’t fake the way you speak, but I’m sure if I spent much time there, I would pick it up immediately. The Farm Boy agreed that our next cruise will be heading that way, so I’m most optimistic!

The odd part about where I live is that, if you drive 50 minutes south of my home, you’ll hear the southern accent start to pick up a little. My ex-husband, who was from the southern part of our state, couldn’t say “chicken” in less than three syllables. Travel about 50 minutes north, and folks get a little more Scandinavian with every vowel, don’t you know… you betcha!

So that’s it. I’m a boring articulator. But know that, if we ever meet in person, you’ll understand every word I say… and I might unknowingly steal your accent.


Stinkypaw said...

I have a thing for accent and so often "pick up" somebody's accent - which is bad and I got into trouble for doing so. But, because I do have an accent (French is my first language after all!), I hate the fact that people will "correct" me or assume that English isn't my gooder language! I'm one of those weirdos that if a word is French I will pronounce it in French and not "adapt" it to English (for exemple; déjà vu, ratatouille, etc.)

lizgwiz said...

I'm from the twangy part of the middle of the country, but I'm quite happy that I don't have an accent. I like it that nobody can tell where I'm from. It's probably in large part because of years of vocal music training, where it's all about "pure" vowel sounds, and because my parents both had similar training, so I didn't pick up an accent from them. Maybe I just enjoy how surprised people are when they find out I'm from Oklahoma--'cause of course you'd think from watching TV that we all sound like Reba McEntire. Not true--I don't know ANYone who talks like she does, not even the redneck cousins on my mother's side. Hee.

I am a sucker for guys with foreign accents, though. I once slept with an otherwise somewhat obnoxious Frenchman, 'cause I loved the way he talked. And because it seemed like someone who talked like that would be REALLY good in bed. Sadly, not the case.

Libragirl said...

And I would pay to not have everyone know within seconds that I am not just a New Yawka, but a Longuylander. Sometimes, accents, not so good. Although, Irish and English make me weak in the knees.

don't call me MA'AM said...

stinkypaw: I'm the same way with French, and then people look at me like I'm pretentious or something.

lizgwiz: AHAHAHA! That's funny!!!

libragirl: But at least it's INTERESTING, right? (and shhh... I'm a sucker for the Scots, but don't tell anyone)

wire said...

When i was in the States everyone told me that i didn't have an accent but were convinced my friend did! She lives less than five minutes down the road from me - is there some sort of great cultural running down Grimshaw st? And if so, does that explain why they held nude dances there to herald the coming of the full moon?

ok, so mabe i made that last bit up, but seriously - five minutes.

don't call me MA'AM said...

wire: I'm sure I'd hear an accent in your speech. And doesn't EVERY little town hold nude dancing to herald the coming of the full moon?

Ludicrousity said...

People either find the Aussie accent endearing or seriously annoying. I personally like it. I love the Irish accent. Totally my favourite. I love a high Brittish accent too.

Anonymous said...

Picking up on the accents of people you are talking to just means you are very empathetic. (I detect a tad bit of feistiness today; D)

Anita said...

You may be surprised, but many people in the country feel you DO have an accent. Oh sure, its not like the twangy southern accent, or the gentile english accent, or the real slooooooowww drawl that many of the folks around me have (I live in Mid-Atlantic farm country), but it's still there. It's almost like a hodge podge of other accents, which is maybe why it sounds like none?

I based this on my years living in Chicago and surrounding states (MI, WI, IA(, where I initially thought everyone had accents ... but maybe if I went to other states I'd think differently.

Thanks for sharing!

othur-me said...

You're only supposed to do that for the full moon? I thought it was an everyday thing?

don't call me MA'AM said...

ludi: I find it endearing. :-)

goldennib: eeek! One of my 'strengths' supposedly empathy (not sympathy, of course). Yikes. Oh, and I'm even feistier today. ha!

anita: nope... not where I live. I agree that Chicago and those in the other states you listed DO have an accent. Not me. No shape nor form of any discernible accent... until I'm around other people who do. ha!

othur-me: If you do it everyday, people just THINK there's a full moon out. haha

Anonymous said...

I've wondered why our call center based operations in DFW, because some of us - er - have some serious accents going on. And we have customers all over the US. When I get an xray tech calling in from, say, Delaware, I find myself speaking a little differently - ennunciating more clearly. Arkansas? I can slur words together all I want.

Paul didn't get here until he was 12. He sounds more "Texan" than I do. (When we lived in PA, I was constantly asked, "Yes, but where did you GROW UP?") He does the same thing you do. He adopts accents. It's pretty funny to see him do it. (I can hardly wait to travel to Australia with him...)

Anonymous said...

I completely relate to your wish...So much so that whenever I am required to make a call that involves dealing with customer service, I put on different accents to make the call more interesting.

The cell phone company gets my (admittedly poor) cockney accent, the cable company gets my (equally terrible) southern accent. Is this normal? No. Does it keep me from going insane while on said calls? Definitely yes :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Come see my attack hand turkey, Charlie.

don't call me MA'AM said...

tammara: I used to do the exact same thing on the phone with customers... it worked, too!

metaliag: what a great idea! Maybe I'll try that when I answer the phone. Thanks!

goldennib: right back at ya! Charlie is awesome... I'm posting Goofy Gobbles shortly.

Anonymous said...

Been away, sorry for commenting late.

I pick up southern accents quite easily. I have to be careful not to make a fool of myself.

We also have the divide here. The twang starts 20 miles south. Where I live, though, there is only the occasional person who needs "quatters" for the "sody" machine or to "warsh" clothes at the "laundreymat."

Anonymous said...

I love your thoughts on this. I have never realized [or really met anyone] midwesteners didn't have accents [I am east coast southerner, sort of]...

I would love to sit with you and 5 people with different accents and just watch. It would be too cute!

Just found your blog and love it!


don't call me MA'AM said...

sparkling: my mom says "warsh." She's the only one in our whole family, so of course we have to ridicule her for it! ;-)

skippymom: My brain might go on overload with all those accents in one room! ha ha