Thursday, March 22, 2007

Accents and Languages

There was an interesting article on the BBC website yesterday regarding British accents and their appeal to Americans. I personally think that any accent that is different from your own can be appealing or fascinating, depending on the person. I've met a number of people that love my accent, or a French accent or an Italian accent.

There are a few people at the local pub who are always asking me questions about American politics or current events they're intrigued by anything American. I've even had conversations with a taxi driver about the travel habits of Americans. He was told that only 10% of Americans have passports and asked me if that was true. I think that may be kind of low but I know a lot of people that have only gotten passports recently, and some that still need to get their first one (you know who you are).

Accents can be exotic and lead one to dream of travels to faraway places, or remind you of home. I know every time I hear an American accent my ears perk up a little bit. Of course once it was a Canadian accent, but close enough.

Being in Holland this last week I have heard a number of different accents in the various trains, hotels and airports. Most interesting was a group of tourists from Mexico that were on the same train I was from the airport. They approached me and asked if I spoke English. They had gotten on the wrong train at the airport and were in need of help. During our conversation they switched back and forth between Spanish and English but I managed to understand it. That has just re-affirmed my desire to brush up on my Spanish.

It never fails I posted this last night and then on the plane an our later another event occurred on topic so I decided to amend the post. I thought I was becoming pretty good at identifying accents. The gentleman next to me sounded like he had an Irish accent, when I asked him how long he had lived in Holland he said "All my life." He says he gets that question all the time as it is not common to find a Dutchman that speaks English with an Irish accent.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I think Spansh is over rated. :) Just kidding. It's funny to see how widely spread spanish speaking people really are. Take Denver for one....... I swear if you are an american you are a minority. Ok NOw that Myra woke up..... I need to go....