Posts Tagged ‘British’

What You Sayin’?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The other day while bobbing around in the Indian Ocean, one of my fellow morning beach regulars said that I had gained a bit of a British accent. My “Gosh, do you really think so?” response probably didn’t help the situation. I have become very aware of how I speak, particularly my intonation and how I ask questions. A year ago, when I was in Croatia with my best friend for my birthday, I realised that I was saying, “Do you want some WARter?” (downward inflection) instead of the usual Aussie, “Do you want some warDA?” (through the nose and ending on an upward note.)

North cottesloe beach

The scene of the “You sound like a POM” crime.

I seem to be doing this a lot and while I have never had a strong Aussie twang, I don’t seem to end every sentence as a question anymore. The pattern and rhythm of my sentences has definitely taken on a British flow and I keep talking down, down, down. I still say that Princesses live in ‘CAR-sils’ and not ‘cass-els’ though.

I don’t think I sound British and don’t think I ever will, but over the last four years, I have been in many situations where people have struggled to pin-point my accent. I have been asked if I am South African a few times, to which I simply respond by walking away shaking my head.

I think having lived in Perth, Paris and Manchester, my accent has evolved into a fairly international hodgepodge of sayings, accents, tones and speeds. Living in Paris meant that I often spoke English to people who had learnt it as a second language. I would therefore change my sentence structure, speed and enunciation in order to help them understand what I was saying. I have to do similar things in Manchester – some of my Australianisms go in one ear and out the other with the Brits.

If ears could cringe, mine have been doing that a lot lately. I have always known that the true-blue Aussie accent isn’t the most pleasant sound in the world, but holy moly. Some people sound like they have pegs stuck on their noses and that they’re imitating the long, drawn out caws of the local magpies. So I’m kind of pleased that I sound a little bit like a snooty-Brit trying to impress the Queen with my rounded vowels. How now brown cow.

Rowter vs Rooter

Monday, October 28th, 2013

My new job as an IT guru has placed me in a difficult position with my co-workers. As the only Australian on the IT help desk team, I am being significantly teased for my pronunciation of the word “Router”. Every day we received numerous phone calls from users in funeral care parlours who have lost their internet connections or are having trouble with their ADSL phone lines. We are often asking them to reboot their routers or check that they have actually been plugged in in the first place. This is all fine, except for the fact that I am having to have discussions (arguments) with both colleagues and the people I am helping on the phone as to whether the word is pronounced rOW-ter or rOOt-er.

Generally speaking, Australians use British spelling and pronunciation for words, however it seems we have picked up the American twang for this piece of technology. I am finding myself wanting to join sides with my British colleagues and am starting to pronounce it as they do. I certainly don’t say “I am taking the scenic route” with an American ‘ow’, so why do we use it for this? So I have decided that I am willing to accept defeat but I plan on doing it as quietly as possible. There’s no need for my co-workers to feel that they have beaten me. I won’t, however, start pronouncing ‘castle’ like a northerner. Ca-ssle instead of Car-sle. That’s just weird.

So What is that Shop…?

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Today I vowed to be good and have a day of writing, writing, writing, with zero procrastination and zero slacking off. I had been doing so well until I started looking up addresses for shops in my neighbourhood and I found a link that has completely overwhelmed me. I have been in Paris now for almost two years and during that time have frequently walked past a sign pointing down a small alleyway declaring there is a British and Irish store in that direction. I have never investigated further but in the last thirty minutes I have developed an extreme urge to grab my jacket and run out the door, down the street and enter this SHOP OF HEAVEN.

I have decided that if I write about my experience on here then the past thirty minutes of online-browsing could be considered ‘research’ for this blog entry and therefore I was never procrastinating at all. So here we go!

I’m not entirely sure why L’Epicerie Anglaise has captured my attention so much considering almost everything it sells is over processed, plastic and/or full of sugar, fat and artificial sweeteners. Perhaps it is because I am being transported back to a time when I was a young, innocent child and wanted to eat these things (although whether or not I was allowed to is another point entirely.) Maybe it is also because today I am having a ‘no cake day’ and so a Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar or an entire packet of ginger nuts are sounding REALLY GOOD.

Mmm... Gingernuts...

Mmm… Gingernuts…

Some of the products are actually appealing or it would have been useful to know I could purchase them just down the road a lot earlier during my time in Paris. Golden Syrup and some decent oats, for example, for making my ANZAC biscuits. The Carrs table water crackers would have come in handy for the many cheese and wine nights I have attended, and while not the best for me, some dark chocolate covered digestive biscuits would have gone down nicely. And what did I have to return to Australia to purchase? Vegemite. And there it was on a shelf just down the road from me. Sure, slightly over priced at 4.50Euros for 220grams but that’s a lot cheaper than a return flight to Perth.

Oh dear, I have looked too far and discovered they sell red Creaming Soda, one of my all time favourite beverages that (at least when I was child and drank the stuff) makes me go completely hyperactive. I should stop looking and return to writing my book about Paris, although I now realise that I have a new addition to my guide to the 10eme – for all your expat needs!

They even sell Pop Tarts... I was never allowed these as a child. As a full grown adult, I could now choose to buy them!

They even sell Pop Tarts… I was never allowed these as a child. As a full grown adult, I could now choose to buy them!

Lots of Lycra

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

My presence on the Champs Élysées for the end of the Tour de France has become an annual occurrence – yesterday my friend Brandon and I joined the crowds of British tourists to watch the boys in lycra roll into Paris. It amazes me how easy it is to actually do this – I always imagined pushing and shoving and hordes of people lining the grand rue for the final day. Instead, Brandon and I met 50 minutes before the riders’ expected arrival and managed to find a spot right near the finish line without any problems.

Tour de France

Le Tour

Paris finally brought out the sunshine and it was a glorious day. The atmosphere amongst the crowd was very positive and it is such an exciting experience to watch the bikes zooming past. They go a LOT faster in real life than they do on television. Absolutely amazing.

Tour de France

Allez!

I was particularly thrilled to see Jens Voigt, the craziest and awesomest German bike rider EVER, heading the group for most of the way. He was clearly telling those legs to “shut up and do as I tell you”. Amazing.

Jens Voigt

GO JENS!

There were a few amusing moments, too. Last year I complained about Tina Arena singing the Australian national anthem when Cadel Evans was standing on the podium – this year was even WORSE. Perhaps it was my proximity to one of the speakers, but the opera singing who screeched out God Save the Queen burst a few ear drums amongst the crowd. It made me screw up my face in horror, this then resulting in a girl standing near me laughing. It was truly awful. So I say “Go Tina!”

Then there was Wiggins’ speech, which he made in English and that wasn’t exactly the most inspirational thing I had ever seen. But there was then a French translation for all of the non-english-speakers in the crowd. I’m not sure if this translation was shown on the television but it was absolutely terrible! Firstly, the translator was a girl. This just seemed strange. Secondly, she then ‘beautified’ the rather crude things that Wiggins’ had said, and said that his father’s dream of seeing his son winning the Tour de France had come true, rather than his mother’s dream as Wiggins had stated. Wiggins had also asked the crowd not to get too drunk, which was not translated at all and somehow turned into him thanking the crowd with all of his heart. Good work, translator.

The third amusing element was the overly dramatic music that was pumped through the speakers before the presentation of each of the jerseys. It was all violins and rolling drums. It certainly ‘added’ to the atmosphere. Amazing stuff.

So another year of the Tour is over and next year will be the 100th! Looks like I will have to stay in Paris in order to participate in the festivities.