Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do You Have An Accent?

Do you have an accent? I used to. Actually, I sometimes do. l grew up in a German village in Iowa and did not step foot into Germany until I was 23, but I had an accent. It was inherited from mom and dad and Oma and Opa and all the neighbors and friends. My mother's accent was very heavy. I remember many years ago she was ordering something over the phone and when asked for her address, she was repeating it over and over. When asked her street, she lived on "V Street", she kept saying "Wee Street, Wee as in Wictor." I actually thought it was cute.

So, in high school, I started working with a tape recorder, as antique as tape recorders were in those days. I kept repeating with words over and over that I heard on the radio, etc. I actually did quite well. Of course, when The Trout and I moved to Heidelberg, Germany, courtesy of the American Army, the accent all came back. In fact, the landlady we had pinpointed , my German accent to exactly the place where my ancestors had come from over 100 years earlier. How's that for carrying on a tradition?

Through the years we lived in Louisville for a short time (finally learned the correct way to say the name of that city). Ten years in Michigan did not change my accent much, but the 20+ years in Wisconsin marked me for upper midwest, especially Wisconsin. Still, in all this, I kept a pretty normal tone of speech. That is, until I get within about 12 miles of home (Iowa). Even my husband says my accent comes back quickly.

Last evening I was Skyping with my childhood friend, Dave, whom I have known since Kindergarten. In those days, teachers were so organized all the children had to sit in alphabetical order. Dave and I had last names starting with K so we were always next to each other, all those years. He mentioned that he thought my accent was back as we were talking. It is what makes me who I am and it is a good thing, I guess.

On a real happy note, my friend Mary, at her wonderful blog just awarded me with a "Friendship Award" and I am thrilled. Mary has been a daily reader, as I have been of her blog. It is wonderful the friendships you can make by blogging. I would never have imagined. Thank you, Mary.


  1. Dave K9:59 AM

    Susan, your accent did come through yesterday afternoon. For a couple of seconds I thought I was back in our home town! I Skyped with Connie last evening and her accent is more pronounced than yours.

  2. Anonymous11:47 AM

    David: That is because I still live with the Germans here. When the Committee of 5 gets together, we repeat an old expressions in German and we all understand it. Like when Gaycia said to her cat: Du kleine Mups! Remember Mups? Ach Himmel There are worse things than speaking in the old country's accent. Cussing (FLUCHING) in German can get a load off too and no one knows!!

  3. Congratulations on your award dear...n yes the beauty of the human being is in its imperfections...sets us apart.:)

  4. Yah sure, I've got an accent too. I'm from Fargo (or close to it) and you remember what they sounded like in the movie. Actually, a cashier picked out my accent yesterday when I went through the checkout line - guess I sound different than all the natives of New Mexico and Arizona!! Gee, what a surprise, huh?

  5. I like what you say about an accent making you who you are. It also means that you've had to work hard to learn another language . ..which pople who have never done so can't relate to.