Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Monday, October 17, 2011
You talk funny
I am a lover of accents. Having spent my early years in a small town on Long Island, having a grandmother who pronounced "oil" as "erl" (which was even worse than what I later learned I did), and being blissfully unaware I had an accent, I was shocked to find that accents were rampant in America. I had thought only people from foreign countries had accents. But once I learned this, I embraced it.
Moving to Florida exposed me to a number of accents. There was the Florida "cracker" accent, the general "southern" accent, the New England accents, along with foreign accents like Cuban, German, British, the various Caribbean accents, and many more.
In my teens, I could determine what state a person was from by his accent. I could tell Georgia from South Carolina, New Jersey from New York, Boston from New Hampshire and Maine, and more. The differences are subtle in many of these cases but I had almost no trouble. Alas, over the years, I have lost that talent. I miss it. It was... useful.
We in the US are in love with certain accents. Jimmy Stewart's Texas drawl, for instance. That accent was faked, by the way. He was born and raised in Pennsylvania, even went to Princeton in New Jersey. Where did that drawl come from? In the first few years of the 1960's, we had a president from Massachusetts who had a "funny" accent. The impressionists had a field day with it. But I think the public loved it. After the "British Invasion" by the Beatles, the public fell for the British accent. We still seem to love it. But we have had a love affair with it much further back than the 60's. If you watch the old movies from the 30's and 40's, as I do, you will hear it a lot.
The upper class accent seems so reserved, so in control. I imagined a conversation something like this:
Gent A: I say! You appear to have a problem with your arm, sir. Gent B: Yes, it would appear to be broken. A minor mishap. Gent A: Shouldn't you have that looked at? Gent B: Perhaps I should. Tea? I know a few Brits, expatriates living here in the former colonies, and they aren't that reserved. Not by a long shot. And I met a few in the Navy on a stopover in Hong Kong, they certainly weren't reserved (I have the tattoo and the memory of a world class hangover to prove it) so it's a just a bit of stereotype.
Accents define us, limit us, and enhance us. Some make us sound more intelligent while others are associated with backwardness. Some suggest carefree risk taking, others no nonsense seriousness.