My latest venture, namely a YouTube Podcast was met with mixed reviews, as I expected.
The main criticism was that people could not understand me. I do try to speak slowly, but I am up against this in my daily life.
For example, in restaurants making a request for something as simple as a glass of water, is more often than not met with a blank stare.
If I were living in a country where everyone spoke precise English, I could understand, but America has not spoken it for years. So if anyone should be allowed to butcher the language it should be me, a native of that country.
The England I grew up in was a mix of regional accents, you could travel just thirty miles and find a totally different dialect. I’m sure today, with people being more mobile that is not so much the case.
I evacuated out of London early in WWII because of the bombing. I lived in the South West of England from the age of 4 years, so when I returned to the East End of London after the war, I was 10 years old and had a thick rural accent from the South West.
I was ridiculed and bullied horribly by the tough street wise kids who had stayed in London for most of the war. I quickly adapted and picked up the Cockney dialect, it was a survival thing. That is the accent I would keep (More or less.) for the rest of my life.
I say more or less, because when I first came to the US in 1979, I may as well have spoken a foreign language. No one understood a word I said. In the interest of survival I had to adapt. With the London or Cockney dialect, the “H” and “T” are not sounded, neither is “th.”
Actor Michael Caine is known for trivia, and his cockney accent. To do a Michael Caine impression one should end with, “Dere’s no’ a lo’ a people know dat.’ Translated: “There’s not a lot of people know that.” But if you sounded every “T” and “Th” it would not even be a close Michael Caine impression.
In order to be somewhat understood as I went about my daily life, I gradually started putting back the “Ts” and the “H” (Aches.) Many English people on coming to the US speak a precise BBC English, and everyone goes, “Oh, I love your accent.” Personally, I hate it. I told one young man to stop talking like “A poor man’s Hugh Grant.”
I have lived in the US for 38 years, not quite half my life. The accent I have now is a “Basterdized” London accent. But at least it is my accent, it is who I am. It is part of my personality. At over 80 years old it ain’t gonna change now. For my part, I will talk slowly and you for your part, might pay attention and listen carefully.
If I go back to England, people think I have an American accent. In the US people ask, “What’s that accent, Australian? Irish?” They will guess anything but English.
The written word is a whole different entity, it is an art form all its own, I will not give up writing here. As for the podcast, I will keep it separate from the blog on YouTube. Anyone interested can find it there. If no one is interested or they can’t understands it, it will die a natural death.