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Tomayto or Tomahto?

Having a daughter with an English accent is an adventure in itself, especially when she takes it upon herself to correct my 'American-isms'

26/06/2015

 

Pardon me?

My child talks differently. She doesn't have a lisp, or a speech impediment, but she does have an English accent. I'm American, really American, like a Yankee or a Texan.

Sometimes it's odd that the fruit of my loins sounds so different, for example, a typical dinner conversation in my house goes like this:

Me: Would you like a tomayto?

Her: Yes, I'd love a tomahto.

Me: Okay, here's your tomayto.

Her: Thanks for the tomahto.

Using the lingo

It's not just accents, it's the actual words as well. At the age of two she corrected me for saying, "Sweater".

"It's a jumper." She said.

"Well, I'm American, and that's what we say in America." I replied sweetly.

"Well, we're not in American, are we?" She said, not as sweetly.

Slow change

I've lived in England for nearly 10 years now. I've adapted certain words in my vocabulary to make myself clear, and that's fine. In fact, all my child-related words are the Brit version because I never had a child in the U.S.

That said, one day when I went to pick her up from school and heard a multitude of British children singing "God Save the Queen," it did feel a little Pink Floyd, The Wall (funnily enough, Bob Geldof's daughters went to her school).

Like a Brit-speaker

I know for me, and many of my fellow Yanks, we live in fear of "Brit-speaking" like Madonna. The minute I open my mouth you know where I'm from - that, combined with obvious Briticisms, sounds ridiculous. The Queen's English, when spoken properly, is beautiful - not when mangled by a New York/Texas hybrid twang.

Sort of Soprano

When my daughter and I head back to the States over the summer and she's with my family, the accent differences are even more obvious. My dad, mom and stepmom all have hard-core New York borough accents - two Bronx and a Brooklyn, respectively. Meanwhile, they're wandering around with my little English Rose crisply pronouncing her "T's".

G'day, Mate

To further complicate things, my husband is Australian. You do not want to be in my house during the Olympics. It's ugly - there are flags!

Two years ago we went to visit his family in Australia; where they live there isn't a capital city in sight. My mother-in-law and I took my daughter to meet Santa. She started chatting to him in her crisp little English accent and he said, "Well, you're quite the little Pommy, aren't you?" Jeez Santa, give it a break, she's three!

Jolly good

Truthfully, I love her little accent, it's the only one she's ever had. That's how she speaks. I'd be so sad if we moved and she lost it.

My only victory is to get her to call me "Mommy," not "Mummy." Well, at least to my face...

Sharon, Working Mom and Native New Yorker

 
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