Monday, October 27, 2008

Linguistically Challenged

So, some of you may know that I'm a Canadian. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto and lived in Canada until I was twenty four years old, or so. Canadians think Americans talk funny. Of course we do everything the proper way: We speak properly, we have better manners and, truth be told, we are smarter. Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just stating the facts.

I used to think all Americans talked like they were from down south. I called them Ah-Mah-ri-cahns because of how round they made their vowels. I thought it was funny to hear them talk.

Now, when I came to the States, many people couldn't understand certain words I said. You might not think there can be a big difference between the two countries, but apparently some Americans couldn't understand what I wanted when I said "garbage" instead of "trash", "bag" instead of "sack" and "pop" instead of "soda." 

But the real problem comes when I pronounce any word that has an 'ag' sound in it, for instance,bag. An American listening to me, would think I said beg. So I made a concerted effort to pronounce things more carefully, emphasizing the long a sound in the word bag

Lately, though, I've been having a bit of a cunumdrum. For some reason, I can no longer remember how to pronounce words, and very often I find myself stuttering over a word because what comes out of my mouth does not gel with how the word sounded in my head. It's causing me a great deal of turmoil. 

Who am I? How am I supposed to talk? It's a life crisis of major proportions because I nolonger instinctively know if I should sound like a Canadian or like an American. You have no idea how much difficulty this causes me.

And, the turmoil runs deeper to my long-accepted understanding that Americans talked funny but Canadians did not. For all my thinking that American's talked like they were all southerners, and maybe a little stupid, I'm finding that Canadians talk like they have a lemon in their mouths and a stick up their, ahem, you know where. 

Maybe I just shouldn't talk at all. I'll take up ASL, or maybe mime.