Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hooked on Phonics

So I'm back in the land of Saints and Scholars (that'd be Ireland then, for anyone not familiar with that particular idiom), and what an interesting return it is indeed! After an utterly painless flight (well, I had some issues with the moron in front who leaned her seat back onto my knees – but that's hardly worthy of discussion), I found myself standing at the baggage carousel in Shannon, where the first strains of an Irish accent battered my ears for the first time in quite a while.

It is here I realised that to me at least, the Irish accent is filth.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't mean 'filth' as something I would rather not be marred by, but rather the kind of filth that I want to strip naked and belly-flop into, smearing it over my arms, legs and face, feeling the sheer dumb fun of it covering my every extremity as I wallow in the slop.

After months of speaking in an augmented, slightly neutered accent that was gentle on colloquialisms for the sake of being understood by my American brethren, I was worried that I would grapple to get back into the swing of things. When my father picked me up at the airport on Thursday morning, and the use of my voice was necessary, I was reluctant to dive right into the intimidatingly thick bog of linguistic incongruities that is the mid-western dialect. I dipped my toe in, (figuratively speaking of course) by initially slurring my 's' sounds into a 'shhh', and beginning a few sentences with “Ah shur...” (it should be 'sure', but that's no fun). I was careful of course, not to overdo it, for fear my father suspect I was overcompensating to hide any American accent I could have picked up (God forbid!).

By Friday night, my reticence had utterly dissipated, and I was revelling in the simple, inexplicable joy that is talking with passion. Entering a room and saying “Hello everyone” was out of the question. “Howrya dewin' ladssh?” was the greeting of choice. I was unable to reply to a single statement without the prefix “Ah shurr Jaysus...”. Every sentence was a partially digested mish-mash of syllables that were chewed up and spat out as appropriate. “I don't know” became “Ah dunno”, “yes please” was now “shurr why not?”. There wasn't a phonetic construction that wasn't at least heavily splattered by the 'filth' I took such delight in splashing around in.

I'm not quite putting on an Irish accent any more than I was 'putting on' a neutral dialect while Stateside, (and my Pittsburgh friends will vouch that even the 'neutrality' cracked now and again), so I don't want any mid-western Irish people whining at me for slagging the mellifluousness of our Hiberno-English, but rather I want this entry to serve as testament to the fact that I missed it, and look forward to immersing myself in it some more!

3 comments:

Mega said...

Ah shur twas a nice auld post ya writ dere Sull. Ya speak da honest truth so ya do boss, no word of a lie atall atall, toura lura lura, fiddley di, be garra and all dat

Anonymous said...
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Jason said...

Dere sum big wurds boss! You a book lerner? Whatchu readin for?

Wait...where's the edit button.

"Don't get me wrong though, I don't mean 'filth' as something I would rather not be marred by, but rather the kind of filth that I want to strip naked and belly-flop into, smearing it over my arms, legs and face, feeling the sheer dumb fun of it covering my every extremity as I wallow in the slop."


That is the greatest sentence I have ever read in my life.