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Re: Apologetic for accent in English?! (was: Hello to you all!)

From:M.E.S. <suomenkieli@...>
Date:Saturday, March 16, 2002, 9:46
--- "Karapcik, Mike" <Karapcik@...> wrote:
> | At 04:01 2002-03-08 -0800, M.E.S. wrote: > | >dialects/accents? It's silly, and I wonder if > the > | >same feelings exist between nations of other > | >common/shared languages (eg, French, Spanish, > | >Portuguese, etc) on such a seemingly wide-scale. > > Here in North America, ohhhhh, yes....
I know that, I'm originally from Ohio! :-/
> Almost everyone I've known from Canada > claims the French view those > from Quebec as evil degenerate troglodytes who exist > only to bastardize "The > Language". The one Canadian friend I've had who went > to Paris ended up > leaving Paris a day early. (He and his friend are > Israeli-Americans who went > on a walking tour of Europe before returning to the > US. They only spoke > Hebrew to each other in France so they wouldn't be > pegged as Americans. It > turns out, they had wonderful times in France. His > Quebec accent only drew > open hostility among the "in crowd" in Paris.)
Hmmm, most of my Quebecois friends seem to love to travel through France; and the French I know do not seem to hold any malicious feelings toward the Quebecois. I was told by a French guy once that the Quebecois just happen to speak a more antiquated version, with words from 2 centuries ago, and the France's French "just took a different turn"!
> I've known two black teachers who went to > Africa on a teacher's > exchange program. They both got a lot of flack in > Africa, particularly from > those of native decent, because their English was > not Imperial standard.
I've heard of such instances.
> A friend of mine from Brazil says they make > more fun of various > Brazilian accents than European Portuguese, but they > don't take it very > seriously. He also said that European Portuguese > think Brazilians sound like > hicks, and Brazilians think Europeans sound like > stuffy academics who > haven't had a good party in years. However, he said > it was something > everyone jokes about but doesn't take too seriously.
Definitely agree. My ex (native of Rio de Janeiro) used to roll in tears on the floor whenever he would hear a Portuguese speak. The typical Brazilian /dZ/ for ending -de as in =amistade= whereas the Portuguese would just say /d@/ was the one he used to hate. I, myself, loved both versions - the Brazilian more chirper and brighter, the Portuguese more aesthetic IMO. Anyhow, I just recalled one night when he and I heard the popular Portuguese song "Cancao do Mar" by Dulce Pontes - note in passing, buy it as you won't regret it! Felipe had trouble understanding what Dulce was saying, not the singing part but the speaking part. My friend gave him the lyrics to read!
> The Spanish... Oh, Sweet Goddess Brigid..... > In Florida, we have communities of almost > every Spanish speaking > country in our hemisphere. When I took Spanish in > high school, I sat in the > "parade of nations" corner. I quickly learned that > each country speaks "The > One True Spanish", and all the others are Wrong. I > vividly remember long, > rabid arguments over words and slang terms being > right or wrong. I would try > to offer the logical argument that Spanish from > different countries that > have been independent for centuries would begin to > develop differently. I > quickly learned to just be quiet. > There is also a lot of animosity with the US > school system because > we are taught Castilian Spanish, "which no-one > speaks". When I was trying to > practice the Spanish I had learned (and eager, > wide-eyed geek in high > school), I so often encountered the attitude, "Your > Spanish is horrible and > it's not real Spanish so I will only speak English > to you," that I just gave > up. I was also told that, in those words, more than > once.
Funny, because out of the 8 years of Spanish lessons in the States (4 yrs in h.s.; 4 yrs in uni) that I had, it seemed that Mexican and/or S.Am. Spanish was the preferred Spanish. Reason being, of course, because of the large number of Mexicans (& P.R.s) in the Chicago-NY area, including rural little Ohio! I wanted to learn Castillian Spanish, but couldn't find any Spanish teacher (native or non-native) comfortable with teaching it!! Now that I've been in Tokyo so long, I don't use Spanish much. When I first arrived 5 yrs back, I used it a lot for about 2 yrs as most of my friends happened to be Peruvian/Mexican/Chilean (or Brazilian). Still no luck in getting to learn Castillian! :-/
> So, I just fell back on my 3 years of Latin > as my foreign language. > I went on to take Japanese in college, only to find > out that Japanese people > *will not* speak in Japanese to Americans unless the > Americans can impress > them in under three seconds. (It's not a demeaning > thing. They are afraid > the American will say something off or cause a > misunderstanding, VERY easy > in Japanese, that they don't let it happen.)
Let me try to elaborate on the above comment. The learning of Jpn is a tough climb for Anglophones, and it takes a lot of time and persistence. However, once you reach a certain plateau, the Jpn open up tremendously to you. I agree that the Jpn people tend not to be as *loquacious* as Anglophones, so that factors into the picture. As for having to impress Jpn, this is true -- but not just exclusively with Americans. The Jpn are quite sophisticated people, their lifestyle is cramped, pressure-filled, fast, and yet so very hi-tech, articulate and well-maintained. As such, they sort of already think others of the world will be attuned to that. Well, they know that Westerners are "slower-paced" and do not usually bother with their language and all. Even so, the Jpn in general like everything to be immediate and impressive, so they try to give the foreigner counterparty "a hand up" by speaking to him/her in English (or a mangled version of it). That's just how it is here! But, all this should not be used as an excuse to say Jpn won't speak to Americans in Japanese unless they are impressed within 3 seconds. It has nothing to do with you being American or with them refusing to use Jpn with you -- they are trying to be (1) helpful/considerate and (2) precise and straight-to-the-point. (Besides, I've had more than one occasion where a Jpn would tell me it's often harder to speak to a fellow Jpn in Jpn due to all the required linguistic and cultural must-do's than to speak in English with a foreigner!) M.E.S. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Sports - live college hoops coverage