Sunday, 16 October 2005

The Accent Is on "Cool"::

France

Having lived long enough in a non-English-speaking country, I've had my fair share of comments on my accent. It's really interesting to hear what people have to say, though sometimes a little bruising to my ego.

Often, I've heard French people say that I have overtones of a Quebecois accent - which can be good or bad, since some find it charming in a rustic way and others find that accent to be grating or too backwards (as in country boy). Just this Friday, a real estate agent thought I was Canadian because of the way I said "bonjour."

On my good days, I've been able to convince people that I was a native French speaker and that I was slipping in an occasional slip-up on purpose. On my bad days, I sound every bit the drawling American tourist, fumbling for my vocabulary and speaking with broken grammar. If I'm lucky, I might be able to pass myself off as a non-American tourist. Not that the French dislike American tourists any more or less than others, but I think Parisians are tired of the waves of Americans that visit at certain times of the year (justifiably so, since I count myself among them).

But maybe the coolest experience I had with my accent was in the U.S. While rushing to make a tight flight connection at the Detroit airport, I asked a guy in his early twenties if he had the time. He gave it to me, showing his watch at the same time. Then he added, "I like your accent." This from a very American-looking "hip urban style" kid. I, the consummate geek, was cool to someone from the cool crowd.

Neato.

[ 4:30 PM on Sunday, 16 October 2005 ]

Comments

Evan [ 5:15 PM on Monday, 24 October 2005 ]

Neato? NEATO?!!?

That's the best you got for me?

Give it up, old man.

Heather [ 8:35 PM on Tuesday, 25 October 2005 ]

For the record--and those of you that have not heard my fiancé speak French--accent or not, John's French is wonderful. Personally, I don't hear his accent (well, once in a while I do), but I do hear a steady stream of words/conjugations that I don't know. And I'm amazed! John speaks French like a French-person. I can only hope and aspire to be as good as he is.

Honey, you're cool to me!!! :-*

John [ 9:13 PM on Tuesday, 25 October 2005 ]

And there you have it, folks: My fiancée, Heather. She likes to make me blush.

I'm sure that Evan knows, as does everyone else, that my "neato" sign-off was ironic. Durnit, now I've gone and spoiled the (tiny) joke by explainin' it!

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