Monday, March 6, 2017

Accents

Today, I want to talk about accents.

Hubby is still learning English, though he’s definitely picked up quite a bit. A few weeks ago, we were talking to my uncle about hubby’s difficulty finding an internship. (Side note: If any of you know if any electrical engineering internships, we’d love to hear about it!)

After talking to hubby for a while, my uncle said something we hadn’t actually thought about. He mentioned that hubby’s accent might still be too thick for people to understand. I don’t really notice his accent anymore, mostly because I live with him, and I have to communicate with him on a regular basis. But my little bro, who just moved into town, still has to have him repeat some of his words.

Then there’s the whole issue with rice. Hubby loves rice, but whenever he orders a side of rice, he inevitably gets a side of fries.

Every single time.

I’ve been thinking about accents a lot because of it. When I first started taking Spanish in high school, my dad came home from a parent-teacher night looking a little concerned. He didn’t say anything until near the end of the year, when he heard me practicing Spanish.

My dad knows Spanish, and he served a Spanish-speaking mission for our church. He heard my Spanish teacher talking, and he was worried I would pick up her accent, which was, admittedly, quite bad. He was right to be worried. There’s a tongue twister that I learned from her, and even though I lived in Spain two years, and learned Spanish from hubby, if I recite it, her accent comes out.

It annoys hubby so much that he’s asked that I stop saying it. It’s not that I don’t know how to say it correctly, but it was ingrained into my mind, and it’s muscle memory at this point.


Which means that right now, hubby and I need to work on his English accent. We need to make sure that his muscle memory is one that people can understand. It’s not a question of whether or not he can speak the language. It’s a question of whether they can understand him.