Sunday, November 21, 2010


“The accent of our native country dwells in the heart and mind as well as on the tongue.” 
 François de la Rochefoucauld
So, enough of Birchermüesli which is a word nobody can pronounce anyway. Just like “Chuchichäschtli” or “Fuchsschwanz” which brings me to today’s blog theme: accents.
Accents are funny things. I spent my whole life in limbo between being American and British when in reality I’m probably Swiss?!? 
Thanks to my British mum and my Amercian Dad, I grew up between 3 linguistic worlds, British, American and Swiss. The Swiss part was the easy one: I lived in Switzerland, frequented Swiss public schools and I had the broadest Züridüütsch accent possible. In high school they used to make fun of my Zurich accent it was so redoubtable.
As for English; it might be one language but in our home there was an abyss between British English and American English. I am still today swimming somewhere in between the two. People frequently ask me where I am from because they cannot figure out which part of the world I originate (except of course if I’m speaking Swiss German, oder?).
My mother used to make me repeat a word 10 times in British English if I had pronounced it with an American lilt. Today I catch myself doing the same with my kids (maybe not 10 times though).
Which is my mother tongue? English and Swiss German. I will always be a Brit in America, an American in the UK and a Züri-Chick in Switzerland. Welcome to my world!
For a bit of entertainment I have added a video about accents which is definitely worth watching!

1 comment:

gladys said...

Talk about accents, I know all about that, in Puerto Rico, everyone can hear that my accent is Cuban, in Cuba or Miami they say I sound Puertorrican and in Dutch and English, well, I could never pass for a native speaker. But I have chosen to embrace my lack of perfection and assume, mistakenly or not, that people find the accent charming. Maybe a little delusional, but definitely keeps me smiling through it all.

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