|German pride last June 2010 during the World Cup Soccer (The night Germany won, the USA tied England and I believe Australia won as well! )|
After taking our orders the waitress finally worked up the courage to ask what was on her mind.
"Where ARE you people from?" she asked. (Or would have if she spoke English.)
My Dad is a native German speaker, originally from East Germany, who has spent the last thirty odd years in the USA picking up an American flavour to his German. My Mom studied German at school, to the point where she sounds native European anyway, possibly Swedish. Because no AMERICANS can speak German that well! Damon has picked up enough of the southern dialect to have politer folks ask him if he is Dutch. Because, once again, no AMERICAN would speak German that well. I speak German fluently, and with enough native touch - it WAS my first language, after all - to confuse the heck out of people. Another region perhaps? Ryan's German was pretty good. The twins were only two but speaking a mix of English and Schwabisch, the southern German dialect Germans down there like to consider German but Germans anywhere else - like in Frankfurt - refuse to understand.
|Andrew tries ou the bucking bronco at the Dayboro Rodeo on May 1, 2011|
And Andrew had that really thick southern dialect down pat.
So that we're pretty used to sounding like a hodge-podge of foreigners thrown haphazardly together for a convention.
Not that our nuclear family is going to sound any LESS like a multi-national corporation when we speak English than when we speak German.
|Cowgirls, Aussie-style. With a salute to that OTHER cowgirl country.|
I think it's been pretty well-established that Damon and I come from North America anyway. Canada perhaps. Because Americans don't tend to wander this far away from their military bases. The kids are losing their German accents - which noone here ever picked up on since they assumed it was American. Andrew finally sounds American now. Ryan too.
And although the speech therapist has told us she thought Aidan and Matthew had a German accent rather than a speech impediment, we NOW have problems differentiating their 5-year old errors from their AUSSIE accents. Was that an R or a W? Or just an accent? The twins can count to thirty. Except they pronounce it thewty. Very carefully. A result of the speech therapist and lots of work to come up with an accent that sounds like a speech impediment to a North American.
Meaning that the kids pronounce Justine Bieber, Justin Biebah. And Usher, Ushah. And we all have to pronounce the neighbouring town of Kallangur as Kallangah in order for anyone else to know what the heck we are talking about.
Aidan and Matthew are yelling at me because their girlfriend's name in Saphyre. Pronounced Saphiah unless I want to be accused of mocking them.
And I still have one friend - who sounds like she comes out of a Dickens novel herself, or at the very least the Broadway version of Les Miserables (hmmm...why all those British accents for a French novel?!) - who still laughs out loud everytime she hears me say 'tomato.' Or coffee for that matter. Which I apparently pronounce KAFFEE.
So that I have taken to speaking in my American accent MOST of the time, but changing little bits and pieces here and there just so that people will understand me. And so I don't get mocked.
(Do you call this a mobil phone, I asked at the phone store when we first got here. Uh yeah, we call a mobil phone a mobil phone, I got as a reply. Smart -ass. Because it's called a cell phone in the USA and a Handy in Germany. So pardon ME for asking.)
Ms. Dance was taking roll call before the Prep Class field trip a while back. Heah. Heah. Heah. All down the line. Until they got to me. Would I sound funny if I said 'Heah.' too? And so I decided to go with "here" in my native American. All of which prompted a round of HERRRRRE'S when I was done.
The kids at school have a running joke where they get me to pronounce words they know I can't say - words like 'How are you?' Who knew I sounded like such a cowboy?!
|Hmm. The working cowboys we saw in Arizona DID manage to stay ON the bucking broncos. However, the weekend cowboys in Dayboro sure looked a heck of a lot better OFF of them!|
I remember the first accent I ever noticed. It was a beautiful woman speaking German when I was a child in Germany. Turns out she was Spanish. And I thought of how romantic it would be to have an accent too.
Over thirty years later I heard myself on my answering machine in Germany. And realised I LIKED my accent. And that it WAS romantic. (My friends in France supposedly liked my accent there too. And I remember Sarah telling me, in Haiti, that I was the first American she'd ever met who spoke Creole with a German accent!)
It's hard for me to believe that this flat, North-American twang is actually exotic down here. Young girls at the mall telling me how much they love it.
|My OWN cowboy, American AND Aussie!|
Do I even HAVE a native language?
And what will the kids sound like in another year or two?
And does it matter?
All that matters is that we are HEAH now. And loving it in any language. Or accent.