Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Reason Nelson Mandela Is Cool

I really like talking to people with accents (with one specific exception). I can't really explain it, but a person with a good foreign accent is just awesome. A radio station in town has an Irish traffic lady, and I catch myself listening to her in the mornings even though I only travel on two streets to get to work. It just puts me in a good mood when I hear an Irish person say "three-car pileup" or "expects delays."

And I found out today that one of the prompts on our help desk 800 number switches to a recording of a Scottish guy explaining the different options. I've called it four times today even though I don't need help with anything.

So you may wonder what the one exception is to this (unless you have ADD and already forgot the first parenthetical of this post). Well, it's South African. But don't get me wrong. It's an amazing accent. I think it sounds really cool. But I'm completely unable to imitate it. All the other major ones I can impersonate to some degree. English, Irish, Indian, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Australian… no problem. In fact, even though you can't tell, I'm actually writing this post with a Scottish accent (not joking).  And I occasionally order at the drive-thru window with a weird accent just because it's fun (and because my wife hates it).

But for the life of me, I can't pin down the South African thing. But it's not for lack of trying.  I've seen Invictus like 150 times.  And I made friends with South African people just to study their dialect.  But I make no progress.  And it haunts me. I just know that I'll be "discovered" one day for my dialectical talents (like a male Meryl Streep) and they'll offer me a part in a big-budget Hollywood film. But they'll fire me and laugh me out of my expensive trailer when I'm told the movie is based in South Africa. And my dreams will be crushed.

If you want to know how this feels, try saying "mama" with your mouth wide open. Don't let your lips touch. It sounds like nGa-nGa, doesn't it?  See how frustrating that is?  You know you can do it, but no matter how hard you try, you can't get it to sound the same. That is my curse.

1 comment:

Leah Hollett said...

bahahahahhaha! Thanks! I needed that this morning.