A Twist of the Tongue

My accent can be a real mishmash of the various influences in my life. There are some words which have been phased out of my vocabulary – like ‘ain’t’ or saying ‘good’ in place of ‘well’, i.e. saying “He did good” vs “He did well’. Some of those things really bug me now but I would never have changed the way I speak if I had stayed in Georgia.

One phrase which my ear always picks up on after I say it is ‘Come On’. In Georgian that sounds like ‘Moan’ with all of the letters all mashed up together like gravy and biscuits. I know the concept of ‘gravy and biscuits’ will have most of you scratching your head at the insanity. But to us Georgia girls a biscuit is not a cookie – it is like a savoury scone type thing. And the gravy is not the equivalent of Bisto – it is made from a roux created in the leftover bacon grease which sounds a bit gross but it is delicious. (And deadly probably but all good things are bad for us, right?) You can also make it from your leftover sausage grease – and to us southerners sausage is not always shaped like a sausage. To me the best sausage comes in a roll like ready-made cookie dough, and you slice it off and fry a patty of it. And if bits of the sausage end up being incorporated into the gravy, then all the better.

Here is an image I blatantly stole from the interwebs to show you what I mean.

When I first meet people they sometimes have a hard time placing my accent. To me, I find this funny as I feel like I sound soooo American. But then I hear myself pronounce certain words and I can see why it can be confusing. I often soften my ‘R’ – as in the American ‘Waterrr’ is pronounced ‘Watah’ here or no one can understand what I am saying.

Sometimes I even struggle to remember what word applies to which country. For example is it ‘rubbish’ or ‘garbage’ or do I ‘pop it in the bin’? And that example from above – is it a ‘cookie’ or a ‘biscuit’? Is a biscuit a ‘scone’ or a ‘cookie’? I think I just created a referential integrity conflict.

In our house we have American, Scottish, South African and a hybrid of these all chirping away, often all at the same time. We quite often take the mickey out of Norman and his scots words – like ‘book’ (poronounced ‘booooohk’ or ‘toys’ pronounced ‘tays’).

Living in SA there are so many varied accents around us and we sometimes struggle to understand some of them. But I love that I have been lucky enough to experience so many different accents, cultures and lifestyles.

Yes the crime is on the up – yes our lives are ruled by this at the moment – but I love Africa. I love the spirit of the people who all live here. We all take a little of everywhere we have been with us when we move to the next place. It is what makes us grow.

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