Tag Archive | new york

The Magic of an Accent

When I was singing Tubthumping/I Get Knocked down (weird name, weird lyrics but horribly catchy) earlier today I noticed that I was adapting my voice so that I sang with a British accent. Now I think it’s important to understand that I have a stereotypical American accent, without any twists. I’m not sure what part of the United States it comes from, although I’m guessing that it’s a mix of New York, Boston and San Francisco, transmitted to me via my obliging parents.

Yet even being an American teenager living in Paris I still find a foreign accent perfectly thrilling to listen to. It sounds exotic and exciting and because of the whole “the grass is greener on the other side” thing, I always tend to think that foreigners are, in general, better people than the ones I find here.

Here are a couple of the accents that I, in a rather clichéd fashion, adore the most.

#1 : French

I’m putting French first more in loyalty to my country than anything else, but it still means that I’ll be able to fire a quick retort at any snarky politician who accuses expats of not being patriotic enough. Not that that will ever happen per say, but you can never be too sure. French is known as the language of love, and for a visitor, a visibly distraught French citizen struggling to make you understand that the rind on a Saint Nectaire cheese can be eaten safely is extraordinarily sexy.

#2 : British

My friends and I have this ‘game’ where we walk around for a couple hours speaking only with British accents, holding our pinky fingers up and holding our heads so high that they are in danger of being permanently stuck that way; the position is so uncomfortable. And yet melting down the entire population of the UK into one accent and attitude is seriously fun, though I can’t figure out why for the life of me. Then there’s the guys. There is nothing hotter than a boy speaking with a sophisticated sounding British voice. Once again, why? Once again, no idea. All I know is that I have this preconceived idea that any British boy will be willing to sit and listen patiently to my whining while offering me tea and crumpets as opposed to an American boy who would probably (and rightly) tell me to f*ck the hell off. So British boy, come to CT. Ugh, that sounded weird.

#3 : Canadian

This one I’m pretty certain came more from How I Met Your Mother than anywhere else, so in reality I’m not sure how life-like it is, so to all my Canadian readers, I am sincerely sourry if I am putting forth a false portrayal of your wonderful accent. The Canadian accent is awesome because you can hear it in both languages: English and French. I have a friend who speaks (French) with a Canadian accent and in that Canadian way, not exactly wording things the way that we would or saying things that make sense to us. Nonetheless, whether it’s in French or in English, the Canadian accent is delightful because it’s familiar and yet very different at the same time.

So now that I have successfully degraded three accents, I will go to bed and read aboot a lady who kills her psychoanalyst for the sole reason that he annoys her. Aaaaah, summer reading in high school…

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

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Parents and the realm of weirdness

Parents are weird. Fact. Parents do embarrassing things. Other fact. I love my parents. Other other fact.  (weeeell, most of the time anyway)

My parents are the very definition of opposites attract: my mom is 5 feet 4 inches, dainty, quiet, with blond hair that is never out of place, and has a sort of fear of voicing her opinion (although you can tell when she disapproves because her eyes get way darker). My dad on the other hand is a 6 foot dude with a loud voice, built like a teddy bear with graying hair that goes in all directions, and round glasses. Actually if you just look at his face there is a clear resemblance with Einstein. However my parents do have some things in common: they’re both adorably cheesy and they love each other very very much. And I love them too, it’s just that sometimes they do things that make me question their sanity.

When I was little I saw my dad drinking a glass of whiskey. Being the innocent girl that I was, I asked what was in the glass. “Oh, it’s apple juice, would you like a sip?” I haven’t regained the taste for whiskey to this day. He’s also dared me to eat a chilly pepper (which I did) and to drink a bottle of salad dressing (which I did. Um…not). He calls them ‘life experiences’. My mom told me he was an idiot. Ah, love..

After reading and severely annotating a paper I had written for school in his messy handwriting and seeing the look of dismay on my face he reassured me: “don’t worry if you can’t read my handwriting, I can’t either. And if you don’t understand something I wrote, don’t ask me, I don’t know what the hell I was drinking when that pen was in my hand”. Frickin’ fabulous.

My mom has this habit where she’ll break into song at any and every point of the day, no matter where we are or who’s company we’re in. Now, she has a lovely, clear voice that rings in your ears long after she’s stopped, but starting to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, tadaaa, was a good friend of mine, tadaaa” (Joy to the World, Three Dog Night) in the middle of the food court does not seem like a good idea to me. She’s very quiet when she talks, but boy when she starts singing… things change.

A couple of weeks ago my dad came up to me and said these exact words “what if God were one of us, and everyday he took the bus, and Lucy (our cat) changed her name to Gus?” The beffudled expression on my face said everything. He grinned at me and walked away. Talk about randomness.

It would take me a whole book to describe all of the odd occurences I’ve lived through in my life, but I’ll wrap up here with this one. Last week we were in New York City visiting old friends and bla bla bla. Both my parents were born there and although it seems to have left no particular mark on my mom, my dad likes to think that’s he’s still a New Yorker (please, he moved to Vermont when he was 6) so he uses this ridiculous accent whenever we’re there. Anyway, when we had just arrived, we were in a cab and he started talking to the driver. My mom nearly went into hysterics laughing at him while I pretended to have ended up in the cab by accident. The driver just looked at us like we were aliens.

But hey, at least they don’t rip off their clothes anytime they see a pool. That’s my grandad’s thing. Did I mention that I have a weird family?

Mom, Dad, I love you.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.