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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Estuary English in the West Midlands: I am confuse [20160413|21:38]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Humuhumu has begun to drop her T's, replacing them with glottal stops. Wa'er. Beau'iful. Floa'ing.

I presume she's picked this up from nursery somehow, but I haven't worked out from whom. It sounds very peculiar when coupled with her otherwise Brummie pronunciation ("I loike oice cream").

It also sets my nerves jangling. "Floa-ting, darling," I say calmly through gritted teeth, "Not floa'ing." Inside my head there is a tiny rage-filled fiery-eyed Nanila screaming, "IT'S GOT A T! IT'S GOT A FLAMING T IN IT! PRONOUNCE THE T!"

I'm trying to unpack why this gets up my nose so badly. I have mental mechanisms in place for suppressing the confused welter of emotions, including sadness, that assail me when she speaks and she doesn't sound American. I know that once she realises I sound foreign, she'll never be able to un-hear it. I take delight in the Brummie accent, even though I'm fairly certain that in this rigidly stratified, classist, and small-c conservative society*, she will either have to learn to code-switch or train herself out of it to achieve material success. It doesn't bother me - much - when Londoners drop their T's. I have a terrible suspicion that I've managed to internalise a certain amount of class prejudice, given that when she says "free" instead of "three" or "bahf" instead of "bath", I have the same reaction, though reduced in intensity. I don't quite understand why it applies to my child and not to anyone else, though.

* Gross generalisation, #NotAllBrits, etc.

This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1023316.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.

[User Picture]From: melissa_maples
2016-04-14 01:35 (UTC)
It's early days. I don't sound anything like I did when I was her age; neither do you. David, sheesh, he sported a broad Lancashire drawl until he was out of school, but then moved in with posh people down south and got it all ironed out of him. You wouldn't peg him as a northerner at all.

So... yeah, wait and see. Things will flex this way and that.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2016-04-14 11:57 (UTC)
True. I know lots of academics from the north who don't sound Northern at all. I think the higher education system encourages generification of accents (toward southern or modern RP).

Edited at 2016-04-14 11:57 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: daphnep
2016-04-14 03:41 (UTC)
What accent does your husband have? This is really interesting.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2016-04-14 11:55 (UTC)
He grew up in Norfolk, but he doesn't have the local accent. When I met him his accent was a lot more Estuary English, but years in academia, and lecturing, have generified it to "educated southeastern English. It's still miles from a plummy RP accent.

He had speech therapy as a child and the way he speaks (including accent) reflects that as well.
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[User Picture]From: mysterysquid
2016-04-14 11:04 (UTC)
In a way, being brought up in a house with so many accents might make "code switching" easier for her later on.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2016-04-14 12:00 (UTC)
I hope so. I can mimic a modern RP English accent, but I don't do it often. I find it difficult to hear some of the distinctions between accents that native English people find quite easy to make. Geordie/Essex is fairly obvious, but Geordie/Mackem - I'd have to have a Brit help me out.

Edited at 2016-04-14 12:00 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: owlfish
2016-04-14 11:50 (UTC)
T-dropping is a feature of our local accent. Grouting spent about two weeks actively dropping them and we wouldn't go along with it. At all. It was the first time we'd really argued back about accent acquisition. And the first time I realized that actually I am picky about accents to some degree.

When she asked for "wa'er" to drink, we made her put the T back in before we would oblige. She's okay on water now. But other words are still an issue.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2016-04-14 12:04 (UTC)
Sympathies. Also, holding off on handing over the water is a good idea. I often do this with Humuhumu when she's forgotten her manners, so I think she'd probably put the pronunciation correction requirement in the same category - annoying, but easy enough to satisfy.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2016-04-15 08:29 (UTC)
*winces* :P
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[User Picture]From: wurlitzerprized
2016-04-16 06:53 (UTC)
dialects and accents fascinate me.

i'm always amazed at my parents' distinctly different Brooklyn accents (they grew up 2 neighborhoods and 5 years apart). i'm told i sound generically northeastern with a slight, nasal, twang -- which sometimes, not always, betrays me as the native New Yorker that i am. when i'm dronk or really really tired i've been known to slip into some Brooklyn-ese (cawfee for coffee, rekkid for record).

i realize this is a british-centric post.
that dialect is much more of "a thing" on your side of the pond.
and that your spelling is british.
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