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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Color blind, Accent deaf

In 2007, about two weeks after I got back from Argentina, I went to get one of my parent's cars fixed. I walk in to see a 40 year old blonde woman getting into it with the Arab employee. He had been working there as long as I can remember, and although he was clearly not born in Dumfries, he speaks English perfectly, albeit with an accent. Before she left, to finish the argument, she yelled nastily "And learn how to speak English." Call me crazy, but I was pretty sure this woman doesn't speak Arabic (I'm generalizing), so why would she feel the need to say this? Because he speaks differently. To back herself up, the lady turns to me with a "Know what I'm sayin'" face. I just looked at her. I know I look like some white bread American girl, but I'm not a racist, thank you very much. Not to mention, I had just experienced the same mentality in South America.

So I'm going to confess, that nothing bothers me more than seeing/hearing people in the United States say "And NO one spoke English!" Wrong, they do, you just aren't taking the time to understand their accent. I don't think a lot of people understand just how international English has become. And that's lucky for us, almost anywhere I go in the world, I can be reasonably sure that I will hear a heavily accented "We are four, please" at a restaurant in Germany, or "I look for beer" in the Czech Republic. It's the reason the French, as we're speaking in French, ask me if I speak French. So guess what, people, everywhere you go, you will encounter different kinds of English (I couldn't understand fifty percent of the people in Scotland), so get the hell over it and listen to the words.

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