"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Accent Troubles

I have problems with accents. I just can't imitate them. My friends can attest to my horrible attempts at an English accent. Not only can I not do them, I don't have one myself, especially when it comes to speaking in a foreign language. All my time spent in Germany has consisted of me speaking in German, and being talked back to in English, all because I have an American German accent. And the easiest way to spot a non-native speaker of a language is their accent. Here in Denmark, normally the roles are reversed. I'm listening to non-native English speakers, and normally I notice an accent. However, I have been thrown for a loop a couple times in the last week. First, about a week ago, I was ordering a chai tea from a Baresso (a Danish Starbucks) near DIS, and speaking in English when one of the girls behind the counter asks me where I'm from. This isn't a normal question I get while being out and about in Copenhagen. Typically, this would be a question asked by someone else not for Denmark. Then, to confound things, she didn't have an accent. Or to put it more precisely, she had an American accent to go along with her English. I was confused. Was she an American living/working in Denmark? So I sheepishly asked where she was from. Copenhagen. I was pretty embarrassed. Turned out though she spent a year in Michigan during high school. Same thing happened on Wednesday at the hospital. One of the doctors I was shadowing starts talking to me in perfect American English. Confused again, I ask where she's from. Denmark. She just spent some time at Vanderbilt in Nashville studying. Almost all the Danes speak very good English, but I have to say I'm impressed by these two's American accents. They are the first I've heard in Denmark. Now if I could just manage that in Germany.

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