Dear Citizens of the United Kingdom (and other European countries as well, but mostly the UK),
It’s been awhile since we’ve talked in this vague sort of way. I believe the last time I wrote you I mentioned that my name is Caro-LYN not Caroline. If you could keep working on it I would really appreciate it, because while you’ve gotten better you certainly haven’t won the war. In fact, if I were giving you an Employee Appraisal (if you, the entire United Kingdom, were in fact my employee) I would give a 4, Needs Improvement. But keep up the good work, I appreciate the effort you’ve made, small though it may be.
Today I’d like to have a quick chat about accents. Specifically, American accents. Did you know that there are tons of different American accents, just like there are tons of different accents over the much smaller space occupied by the UK? No? Well it’s true! This is not something I would lie about. My accent is that of a Michigander, that’s right a Michigander, specifically a Michigander from the southeastern part of the lower peninsula. Travel a few hours north and you will encounter a whole new world of accents (just like here, really!). Oh and in case you were wondering, Michigan is the bit at the top of the country that’s shaped like a mitten, it’s near Canada, when it snows there, the whole place just keeps on functioning, but with hats and gloves, it’s pretty remarkable. Anyhow, just like someone from say Newcastle or Liverpool has their own accent that is specific to their region, so do I!
My friends who grew up in Chicago, they have a slightly different accent from me, and my friends from Arkansas are even more different, same goes with the citizens of California, Texas, New York, Maryland, Indiana, Oregon, where ever. The USA, in case you hadn’t heard, is pretty freaking huge, so it stands to reason that we would all sound a little bit different.
I can hear you now, you’re saying ‘Gosh, Caroline, oops I mean Carolyn, this is all fascinating, but why are you sharing this scintilating linguistic knowledge with me?’
Here’s why, when you and your fellow citizens decide to do my accent and talk American you are actually talking like an idiot (I say this as a friend). I am not from Texas, so I don’t actually sound like George Bush on downers. Likewise, I am not from either New York or New Jersey so I also don’t sound like an extra from the Sopranos. And I don’t know if you noticed, but I also am not a Valley Girl, it’s true, I’m not, the topography in Southeast Michigan is pretty flat, just like my vowels.
So let’s make a deal, here and now. How about this, I will continue to avoid trying to emulate your accent (with the exception of mocking Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, because that’s fun for everyone and the occasional adventure into putting on a posh voice to make people laugh) and you, unless you are actually trying to impersonate either of the George Bushes or Joe Pesci, will refrain from talking American for me.
What do you say United Kingdom? I think this is a good bet for both of us. There’s been enough unintentional humiliation already, we’re both better than that.
Just think about it.