Sonntag, 2. Mai 2010

My language skills, my self

As some of you might now, I tend to obsess about random things every once in a while (tall blond Australian doctors having cameos in my dreams, the size of my bum, Obama, why Buffy and Angel can't be together, things like that). Even though to some people (especially those who are close to me) it may seem like these phases last forever because I refuse to talk about anything else for days, but the truth is, these obsessions usually come and go (even when I develop an irrational hatred of someone and for some days literally anything can set off a rant about that person, it usually doesn't last longer than a couple of weeks for me to get over it. Except for the guy with the piggy little eyes who sometimes sits in class with me. I've been fairly constant there and I can't find any redeeming quality in him WHATSOEVER).

Anyway, where am I going with this? Oh yes. One thing has been on top of the list for the best part of the last, uh, seven years maybe, and that is my accent when I speak English. There's one thing that I hate more than anything in the world (oh dear, she's at the superlatives again), and that's being recognised as a German when I speak English. Luckily, this doesn't happen often (else the body count in River Thames would be considerably higher than it is now), but people still feel the need to comment on my accent a lot. Here's a list of things that have been said to me in the past (in no particular order):

1. "You sound quite posh."

I ascribe that to the fact that my first "proper" contact with the English language happened in a public school for girls where we were chastised for saying things like "serviette". That and the fact that I consider Stephen Fry a huge role model and I try to imitate him a lot.

2. "You sound British."

Unfortunately, no British person has ever said that to me, only Germans, Canadians and Americans. I try very hard to get it right, but the truth is that as soon as I talk to Americans or Canadians (or ingest large quantities of alcohol) I can feel my accent become more Yankee-y by the minute. Luckily enough, I seem to be the only person to notice, because my good friend Ross (Canadian) once said to me (after I confided this particularly embarrassing piece of information): "You're not. I'm sorry if that's what you're trying to do, but you don't sound American at all."

3. "You sound American, and your friend sounds English."

Said by an Argentinian who Jess and I met at the hostel two weeks ago. 'nuff said.

4. "You sound Australian".

Belushi's, some random guy trying to chat me up, thinking this was the way to do it. He was wrong.

5. "You've been losing your accent quite a bit."

Walkabout, a fairly intoxicated elderly Fulham fan, after a conversation about Werder Bremen and why I hate Hamburg so much (football-wise).

6. "You know what's weird? Your accent. Talking to you on the internet, I didn't think you would have one, and now you sound quite German."

My good friend Andy during our 45 minute (almost tearful, on my part, after this comment) reunion last week. We met four years ago when we were both travelling, had a mildly crazy night in a hostel basement with a bunch of Aussie pissheads playing truth or dare, then went on our separate ways but kept talking on MSN a lot (relationship advice featured heavily in our late night conversations). We always meant to get together again, but somehow it never worked out - until it did last Tuesday. I was quite nervous (which I only realised at the last minute) so I had a mild case of verbal incontinence, but Andy was a perfect gentleman and didn't tell me to shut the fuck up. Cheers.

7. "You don't sound German at all."

Some English guy I met at a spontaneous knees-up in a friend's kitchen in Southwark. I normally don't cross the river unless I absolutely have to (I want to get the "I've been living here forever" thing going on as quickly as possible so I'm trying to fit into as many cliches as possible. This being the "arrogant North Londoner" stereotype. Am I doing well?) but my old school friend (actually I don't know if that's the correct term since we weren't exactly friends back then) Jan called me up and I had no plans so I said yes. Anyway, nicest compliment I've heard in a while.

Anyway, I have only one picture for you today. It's my friend Jess and me at Cherry Jam, a small and quite fancy (read: bloody expensive!) club in Bayswater we went to last night. We had originally planned on going to Tiger Tiger (we even were on the guest list) but just before we were about to leave, it started pissing down big time, so we decided to go somewhere a little closer. However, it sucked, so we left approximately an hour after we came (and paid eight quid at the door and another 17 for a bottle of white wine), got KFC and called it a night.

1 Kommentar:

  1. You should use Jess1 and Jess2 from now on. Or "Favourite Jess" and "the other Jess" or something like that ;)

    Other than that, I can only say: you sound quite british to me, m'dear! :) And remember, it was not only once that people couldn't tell that we are German. Maybe not British either, but still. I know thats not enough for you, but it's still something! ;)