Trying not to giggle... I think there are notable differences in attitudes and awareness between short-term visitors (which often includes expats posted for work) and long-term residents. I guess that among the insular, there's also an assumption that because you're abroad, everyone around you is a foreigner. And some people - especially some Americans - are very bad at recognising accents.
True. I think there were other factors that played into it. I turned up with two friends, both of whom weren't American. And I betrayed a lack of up-to-date American cultural knowledge with that PBR comment. Apparently PBR is now a hipster drink. I had no idea. :P
Wow! Mego-kudos to the Pabst marketing team!!
My (now dual citizen) friend cthulie
has been here for 20 or more years. UKians can tell she doesn't quite have a local accent, but USians can tell her accent is a bit different to theirs - that and maybe forms of speech. It would be interesting to get the two of you to compare notes on this!
Yes! I imagine she probably has a similar lack of up-to-date knowledge of American culture which may cause people to assume she's British. On reflection, I think that's what happened here.
Helma has some of the same issues, having been here (from Germany) for 11 years now. Those Brits who can tell she's not local almost never guess where she's actually from - they typically guess another Anglophone or near-Anglophone (eg. Sweden *g*) country. Americans usually think she's English... (-:
In Germany she becomes aware of how behind she is on idiom and culture. But in London for some reason she meets many Germans who don't want to speak German to her, preferring to speak heavily German-accented English despite having been here for a few years themselves. It's a bit odd!
Welcome to my life. Americans think I'm English, the English think I'm Australian, and Aussies think I'm South African. It's fine though, because I don't particularly identify with the US after having been away for so long, and most of the things Americans try to explain to me about "their" country are in fact things I didn't know, so I suppose it's fair.
After living in Scotland for a while, I got used to nice taxi drivers playing name that accent, which I think they did to keep themselves amused more than anything. It usually went like this:
Sooooo.... That's no' a local accent. Are ye Australian, then?
Ye cannae be Irish hen? Are ye Irish?
No, I am American.
*shocked tone* No! Surely no', ye're surely no' American! Well, I've been to Florida on my holidays, and it's lovely. My cousin Wee Archie owns a bait shop Fort Lauderdale. Do you know him?
No, I am afraid not. I am from Minnesota, which borders Canada at Ontario. I've never been to Florida.
NEVER been to Florida? Surely no'? How cannye never... never been to Florida. But it's lovely!
Yeah, I know. America is a pretty big place, though.
*and so on*
I am not kidding, I have had that conversation at least five or six times. I figure they are probably yanking my chain at least a little, but it's sweet of them.
I don't think an American abroad has mistaken me for Scottish or any other kind of non-American after opening my mouth, though. But the red hair seemed to mislead a lot of the ones I met. And knowing where to find X thing or Y place while being American surprised tourists as well.
It's a funny thing, living Away.
Yes, I had the feeling she had drawn her conclusion based on my lack of up-to-date American cultural knowledge, which was fair enough. The DW discussion in the comments on this post has revealed to me that apparently PBR is now a hipster drink.
Lool, i usually get non-americans explaining to me about America;) But again, where i'm except other american students, i rarely see many Americans, as it's not tourist dist. right now.
You should told her, i'm the people that own America;)
How long do you let them go on for before you tell them you're American? Because it got to the point where I just went, it's too much effort and I can't be bothered. :P
This actually made me chuckle in an "oh no!" kind of way....
I felt a little outcast, but mostly I was amused. And baffled. :P
It's not intentional. I've tried to hang onto my accent. But I don't hear American speech on a daily basis any more. My partner is English and most of my work colleagues are not American. Unless I watch American TV programmes, I can go for weeks without hearing another American speak.