Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Brits Going Native

So as most of you know, I've been in the USA for over 20 years now. Yes, I"m that old!

Anyhoo, I still have a fairly British accent which got me a-thinking about some Brits I meet here who have gone all native. You know, like pronouncing that red fruit/veg "tomaydo". You know who you are Emma K.

Here's me pontificating at the BBC America web site.


  1. I've been here for 50 years and I'm not sure if it is the choice or the pronunciation of words which still trips me up. Remember, the region of the States plays a role. As for hummus and pita, they didn't exist when I left England, so I just picked up what my friends and family said. On Easter Sunday, I found my granddaughter staring at me. Why? I told her to get some water out of the tap. There, I haven't learned that one yet.

  2. Ah yes, the words that you pick up here because whatever it is you're talking about didn't exist when you left England.
    My sister said something about a dongle the other day and I wondered for a moment whether she was sharing too much information. I think it's a flash drive.

  3. I deliberately lost my northern accent in a year when I was a child because I was so ragged about it here, in the south.
    In those days Bristol was not used to *foreigners*! Today it is a bustling city of all Nationalities and accents are many and varied.
    Strange what happens in the space of 60 yrs!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

  4. Kenneth Williams (RIP) in a video I saw speculates that the American "generous R", as he calls it, may come from the southwest of England originally, where many of the early settlers came from. Interesting theory.

  5. Well now you have me curious as to exactly how you pronounce tomato. And? Do you really think we say it with a "D"? Because I don't hear a d...but then I'm maybe I'm hardwired NOT to hear the d. I think maybe a vlog is required so that I can hear the difference. ;-)

  6. Maggie - as you might remember, I went to Bristol Uni. I'll never forget when I got off the train on my arrival, went to get a taxi and the driver said "Are you goin't the univerrrsity my loverrr". I hadn't a clue what he'd said. I love that city and I'm hearing about all the changes. One of these days I'll show my kids the beauty of it.
    Paul - Yes, it sort of did. (Love that "generous R"). The English that was spoken in England when they first came to the US was much closer to American English. There's a fab book that accompanied an even more fab PBS series (from decades ago) called "The Story of English" and it talks about all the accents in the USA.
    Gigi - Vlog? Argh - no way. How do I pronounce "tomato"? Well, with a long A and a very pronounced T. "Tomahto" is probably how you'd write it.

  7. In the Netherlands, we learn Oxford English in school. Imagine my surprise when My American fiancé told me I pronounced the words wrong. I learned to speak American English pretty fast, but prefer British English. It's what my niece and nephew learn to speak in their colleges.

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  9. I've lived so many places in the US and overseas that my standard American English (Non-regional diction) is sprinkled with some very strange regionalisms. With a Canadian mother, a native Bostonian for a father, and my first 10 or so years spent in Asia (several at a British school), it's surprising that anything I say is even intelligible to anyone. Stick to your guns, I say. It's good for the general public to get some alternate exposure. ; )


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