Monday, 10 June 2013

Accents



Having Aunt Gertrude from Australia visiting us for a few days, and Uncle Herbert from Scotland coming to meet her, made me wonder about accents.

My neighbour is from Glasgow and his accent is totally different from the more “delicate” tones one hears in say, Edinburgh’s Morningside.

Now these are two cities not very far apart. Why should their inhabitants have such different accents?

The British Isles aren’t that big compared to other countries like America or Australia.Yet despite their small geographical areas they have many different accents. The people from Liverpool sound differently from those in Cornwall, Norfolk or even different parts of London? Why is that?

What does create an accent anyway? Is it the food, the water, the weather or what?

And when did accents first start? In the Middle Ages?

Did the Knights of the Round Table speak with different accents depending on where they came from? They all seem to speak perfect English in the films and on TV.

Do animals have different accents depending on where they come from, I wonder?

Does a French poodle or a German shepherd dog bark with a French or German accent? We wouldn’t tell the difference of course; but do they notice a distinction when dogs from different countries bark at each other? Does a dingo, like my Auntie Gertrude, bark “Woof woof cobber”?

Does a Manx cat sound any different from a Siamese?

How about birds? Especially migrating birds like swallows, ducks, geese and so on? When they arrive on the Continent do local birds say, “Aha, here come the Brits to spend the winter here again”?

I’ve spent sleepless hours at times wondering about this. And one thing I noticed; when I’m traveling on business and spending overnights in various hotels up and down the country … whilst I’m counting sheep to help me go to sleep … yes … they do “Baaaah !!!!” in different accents depending on where I happen to be.

4 comments:

  1. You have a fascinating (& funny) mind, Victor.
    So many questions...I'll now be pondering these, too.

    If this helps in any way, I have a German Shepherd and a West Highland White Terrier and they seem to communicate in different accents. Sometimes when I talk to them (in my poor American English), they often tilt their heads to the side. Perhaps from confusion (or maybe disgust). Clearly, my accent has an effect on them.
    And I think accents first started just after Noah, give or take a hundred years...but definitely after the birth of Seth. I'm pretty sure. I think.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hand-Maid,

      I'm sure your West Highland Terrier does bark with a Scottish accent. Oach the noo!!! The reason they tilt their heads when you speak is to try to catch your accent and perhaps copy it. My Staffordshire bull terrier does the same to me and pretends not to understand. Once a friend left me a very posh dog of good-breeding whilst he went on holiday. The dog didn't listen to me because he thought I was low-class.

      I blame Noah for all the wasps in our garden. I got stung badly last year. What possessed him to collect two wasps in a jar? And cockroaches, and lice, and mosquitoes ... he must have been totally off his head!!!

      God bless.

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    2. Go easy on the good Noah, he was only following orders.
      Regarding the loathsome creatures you mention: God created them; and everything has a purpose in this world...even if it is to teach us humility, patience & fortitude.

      Sorry to hear about your wasp violation. :o( My daughter was stung on the lip when she was only about 4 years old...not fun.

      Have a very blessed day, Victor!

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    3. I suppose you're right about Noah, Hand-Maid. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. Wasps can be a right nuisance.

      God bless you and your family.

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