“I personally am not conscious of my accent.”

This morning is already hot. The high should be around 82˚. For us, that is hot indeed. I am in my den which is still nighttime cool.

Big news on the cat front. The male, I think, has been napping on the front doormat in the sun. Henry meanwhile is napping upstairs on my bed. The cat continues to hiss and whack at Henry who just stands out of the way of that paw.

I never understood until I was older what my mother meant when she said someone had a hard row to hoe. Even when I knew what she meant, I wondered why a farm metaphor. She grew up in the city.

My father use to say cleanser for what the rest of us called the cleaners. He went to the cleanser every Saturday with his dirty white shirts and picked up his clean, starched white shirts. I used to wonder why he said cleanser. That, to me, meant Comet. When I was in the Peace Corps, I was reading a book about regional dialects. It mentioned that only people who grew up in Boston say cleanser, end of mystery.

I used to have a heavy Boston accent. With all my years on the cape, it has mostly disappeared though I do still drop my R’s. That accent gave me an advantage in Ghana. During training, we had a few large group lectures. One was about Ghanaian English. At one point I was asked to stand and repeat a sentence. When I did, the room laughed at my accent. No problem, I was used to that; however, the speaker then told the group I would be more easily understood by Ghanaians than anyone else in the room. I think I looked smug after that!

My sister and my nephew Ryan flew out here from Colorado often. That caused a huge problem for my nephew when he learned to talk. He didn’t call me ant when he talked to me. He said aunt. Later on, when he was a bit older, he had an ant climbing on his leg. Yup, he told my sister an aunt was on his leg. He has speech therapy to reconcile his Boston and Colorado accents. The therapist told my sister this was the first time she had worked with anyone with a vowel problem.

I have a friend from New Jersey. She has a far different accent than I and also has different words for common things. In the playground, I go down the slide. She doesn’t. She goes down the sliding pond. She also stands on line. I stand in line.

I order regular coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. That means with sugar and cream. Foreigners, anyone not from New England, think that means black. Order a frappe if you want ice cream, not a milk shake. Don’t forget the jimmies on your ice cream cone.

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10 Comments on ““I personally am not conscious of my accent.””

  1. Erin Says:

    Kat,

    Great news on the cat front! Sounds like Jack is showing his dominance. Fritz always gave Marley a wide berth. Marley would swat Fritz for no reason, just to remind him who was boss. Marley at 14lbs mastered my poor 134 German Shepherd. Marley is not doing as well as with Harry. Harry wants to play with Marley and has yet to understand cat signs; or chooses to ignore them. Harry will drop his giant ball in front of the cat. Marley looks annoyed. Marley always looks annoyed.

    Hope the female follows suit soon!
    Love,
    Erin

    • katry Says:

      Erin,
      Yesterday when I finished my shower, I noticed something on the bottom of the tub. I picked it up. It was a cat toy. Looks like Jack was playing in the tub. I also found the toy downstairs this morning. Also, Jack was lying on the rug in front of the door in the sun. Henry was napping upstairs.

      Henry is not daunted. He moves away from the flying paw but doesn’t leave. He stands there.

      I have see the other cat twice. Both times it was from the doorway of the guest room. She (I’m just presuming she based on size) runs under the bed. When I got Fern and Maddie, they were 5. Fern came out quickly. It took Maddie months.

      Love,
      Kat

  2. hedley Says:

    When I go to England people ask “Are you enjoying your visit to our country”, In the US people say “I really like your accent”, elsewhere folks like to guess where I come from and offer a myriad of countries.

    Such it is as a first generation immigrant – you are neither here nor there and sit somewhere in the middle of a great big ocean.

    Maybe the easiest description is English by birth, America by choice ?

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I know a couple of people who have been here 20+ years but still have a strong accent, but that makes it easy, set of, to guess where they are from. I can understand the difficulty with your accent. American English has probably made some inroads. Do you sound more British after you spend time there?

      That is a perfect description!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Looks like one of the cats has decided to own the house. Good for Henry for avoiding conflict without losing face. Figuratively or literally. 🙂

    Friends have commented that I don’t have much of a New England or Boston accent considering that I have lived here all my life so far. I do sort of drop my r’s and I use the local terms for things. It occurred to me not long ago that I might not have a Boston accent because my parents didn’t have one even though they were both born and raised here as well. But their parents came from eastern Canada and Ireland as did their aunts and uncles. Also, I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where most of the adults spoke English as a second language so I wasn’t hearing Boston/New England accents very much anyway. 🙂

    Today was not bad weather wise. It’s warm and sunny but not oppressively warm. The house is cool with just the fans as long as I draw the curtains on the sunny side. I’ll take it.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Henry has doe well. he did chase the cat when he first came downstairs just after he arrived. Henry doesn’t chase him not but I think the cat has a long memory. Nope, Henry mostly holds his ground. He gauges the distance perfectly between paw and face.

      Both my parents spent times during their childhood in the city. I spent my first four years in South Boston. There was no way that accent was going to miss me or them.

      Today feels hot to me, but I was in the sun so, of course!

      I was just going to finish decorating the deck but the appliance repairman called. My fridge is freezing everything. He says the thermostat but then couldn’t find the part. According to him it no longer exists for my model number. He was right to a point. It is a Kenmore so I went to a site with Kenmore parts and found the thermostat. RELIEF!!

      Have a wonderful evening!

  4. Bob Cohen Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I have worked hard to get rid of my NY accent over the years. I always wanted to speak like a radio or TV announcer with a neutral Midwest American accent such as Johnny Carson. When I go back to NY the old accent try’s to creep into my speech.

    Colloquialism are another story. I have to work hard not to say ‘fixin’ when I mean ‘getting ready’. “I’m fixin to eat lunch”. That’s the Texan that comes out once in awhile but I never say Y’all. One of my coworkers answers the question, how are you with, “Finer than a frog’s hair”. I didn’t know frogs had hair. 🙂 My mother always carried a pocket book and not a purse while as a kid I slid down the sliding pond in the park.

    Today the sun shone brightly with a high temperature of 98 degrees.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      My father was like a sponge. He absorbed the accent wherever he lived. We’re all glad we didn’t live in the south.

      My mother too always carried a pocket book. I think saying purse was used for smaller type pocket books.

      Here, there’s always bang a ’uey which means make a u-turn. I live on the Cape, and everyone knows that means Cape Cod, not the other capes in Massachusetts. We always say down cellar, not down the cellar. There are so many more as well!

      I think we got to 83˚ or 84˚, a scorcher!!

      • Bob Cohen Says:

        When you live on the same latitude as the Sahara desert 84 degrees is a nice cool day. Bang a ‘uey is one I have never heard but it’s right up there with frog hairs. I know that you have traffic circles and call them rotaries instead of round abouts. Texans go for rural descriptions such as, “It rained like a cow pissing on a flat rock”. Or, Texas has four seasons: drought, flood, blizzard, and twister.

      • katry Says:

        Bang a ‘uey means to make a u-turn. We do have rotaries. It drives me crazy that people don’t know what to do when presented with one. The person on the rotary has the right of way then the person on the right. I damn the drivers from Florida.
        Those are horrible seasons. 84˚is really hot to us. I even turned on my AC.


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