Sunday, November 27, 2011

On the English Accent

We've spent the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in my home town, and managed to catch up with an old high school friend of mine last night.  He's one of these friends who is always wonderful to talk to because he's always honest and always asks thought provoking questions.

Last night, one of our many lines on conversation turned toward the English accent and why on earth it has such an effect on Americans.

It's hilarious to watch people react to my fiance when he starts talking.  The women, especially, will often get all giggly.  Even my friend last night asked him to say "Oxford" and "hot wings" again.

Indeed, that accent once got us a table at a completely packed restaurant.  A table that very conspicuously had a "reserved" sign on it when we first walked in.

Two of the theories that we discussed:

1. It's all about the movies.  In the movies, English guys are almost always the most charming, suave, and educated of the characters, even when they're playing the baddies.

2.  The key is in the tone of voice.  We Americans get a lot more across with our tone.  The highs and lows of sound that get across more of the feeling of what we're trying to say.  Indeed, the first time my fiance and I spoke, he remarked on how enthusiastic Americans are when we speak.  In England, on the other hand, with their centuries-long history playwriting and literature and poetry, and their appreciation for much dryer humor, they rely more on the actual words to express what they're trying to say.  And perhaps that's part of why the English just seem to have a more colorful way with words.

Then again, I think we'd all react the same way even if he weren't using such colorful language.

It's that accent.  We can't help ourselves.

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