Tuesday, March 18, 2014


English is so confusing sometimes.

Since coming to Australia in 2011, my use of the language has gotten very.... blended. My US friends giggled when I said "uni" or "aw yeh" with an accent. When D mimics me (usually after I've been skyping with my brother), he just says the word "fuck" about fifteen times in a row. Sometimes, when watching TV (since moving into this place), I have to concentrate to hear whether the actors are speaking Australian or American; they both sound -for lack of a better word- "normal" to me now.

But I can't quite put on a proper Australian accent, though I've tried. It's frustrating, because I invariably get some word wrong, and then get called out on it, repeatedly. I don't quite like speaking in an American accent here either, because I'm invariably called out on it, and then talked down to, or have to answer "where do you come from?", repeatedly.

I did manage to get into a pretty good Australian accent for a brief time, whislt working at the bell tower (and talking to tourists all day who didn't know any better). I joked that I could make the Irish think I was Aussie, and the Aussies think I was Irish, and the British just confused. My Perthite coworker could actually hear that I sounded like I was from the Eastern States, because I'd gotten my accent from D and his Sydney poshness. Last week, a Green Peace Pusher asked if I was Russian, because I was quiet and had half an Aussie accent; a few months ago, some drunks took me for Japanese (.... they were drunk AND stupid but still).

Today D asked me about a phrase I'd been using: I was thinking aloud about our "visit with Mariana". "Why are you adding in that word 'with'?" he wondered. I had no idea that I'd been saying that. I thought maybe I'd picked it up from him; it sounded more like something D would say to my ears. But, lo and behold, that's an American phrasing. I thought I was a native speaker, and yet here English is, surprising me left and right.

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