Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still More Adventures In English As A Second Language

During my church volunteer stint recently, I was chatting with the pastoral assistant (she does much more than that, including serving as the chief caretaker for Greg, but we'll just go with her title for now) about her duties as chaplain at a nearby Catholic girls' high school. She mentioned one of her duties was coordinating the school's "peer mentoring" program.

With her non-rhotic accent, however, I had a terrible time understanding what she was talking about. To my rhotic ears, I heard her saying one of two things initially: "pee mentoring" (a strange proposition, since most high schoolers ought to be potty trained) or "P.M. entering" (again, a strange proposition since most high schoolers are ready for all-day school).

On her third repetition, I finally understood what she was talking about.

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Blogger oldest kid said...

Hmm. That sounds similar to the problem I had with a friend from Louisiana when he started taking about bald crawfish. I didn't think crawfish had hair and wasn't sure why he was talking about them being bald. Turns out he was talking about boiled crawfish.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

That reminds me of when we asked Mom if we could play on the "heel" with the rest of the kids at Aunt Sue and Uncle Gene's wedding in Louisiana!

7:43 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

That's right! And one of the girls playing on the "heel" was named "Tricy"!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Which rhymes with "dicey," right?

12:10 AM  
Blogger Schmutz said...

I was going to add my favorite mondegreen but didn't want to seem like we were picking on our Southern readers.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

I'm sure there are a ton of things we say that people in the south can't figure out.

What I think is funny about these stories is that we kids just pronounced the words as they did and went with it. You adults were the ones confused by it. We were very happy to play on the heel with Tricy -- no questions asked.

3:36 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

I just thought Tricy was short for Tricycle! I could also mention the song "Needles and Pins" which sounded to me like "Beetles and Beans". That had nothing to do with a southern accent.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Badger said...

So what accounts for the adding of "r" sounds? When Brits want to "do American" they add "r"s to the end of words that end in vowels, e.g. "Amerikerr".

I think of "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis. "It's a champagne supernovah/Champagne supernoverrin the sky" ...

11:17 AM  

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