Monday, January 23, 2017

TV Accents

I’m a huge fan of crime shows. I love getting into the heads of the criminals, and trying to see if I can figure it out for myself. Usually, I can’t solve the crime, and a lot of small details fly over my head, but I love watching it come together.

Another reason is because they bring in so many supporting characters. There’s always a new criminal, a new murder, which means a new list of suspects and family members. The other day, I was watching Criminal Minds, one of my favorite shows, and they were investigating a serial killer who was following migrant workers. The entire camp of workers was Spanish speaking, and several required a translator so that the agents could question them.

Then they questioned the suspect’s brother. He was an older man, Mexican, but as I was listening to the interrogation, something stuck out to me. The man’s accent was almost non-existent. Every once in a while, it would come out, but for the majority of the time, he spoke clearly, in full, English sentences, without hesitating, and with confidence.

Now, I’m not saying that that’s impossible, but I have several friends who are Latino. My hubby’s from Bolivia, and he still has a super thick accent, eight years after coming to the United States. And he speaks English fairly well. He’s almost got his bachelor’s degree, so he’s in an English speaking environment almost all of the time. Yet there are still times when I struggle to know what word he just said, and there are times when he doesn’t find the exact right word to express himself.

When he’s nervous, his accent gets even thicker. He struggles to think, just like anyone in a stressful environment. So for me, watching this Mexican immigrant, who lives in a purely Spanish speaking community, speaking full, completely, barely-accented sentences in a different language, while under investigation of the FIB, I didn’t believe it.