A friend on Facebook shared this video...and I was in stitches. Warning, there's a lot of Scottish...perhaps there's foul language, but it's Scottish...but can anyone really tell?
It reminds me of growing up, and the variety of languages and dialects that I heard. We had in our immediate neighborhood: Irish (from Muenster), Scottish (from Glasgow), Filipino (specifically, Tagalog), Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hindi. If you expanded it to those I went to school with, you'd have to include the rest of the English-speaking world, half of Polynesia, various dialects of Spanish, at least two regional dialects of Italian, Greek, Armenian, Farsi...wow, the list goes on and on. I grew up hearing so many versions, pronunciations and combinations of English, it's a miracle that I came out with the 'standard West Coast' dialect myself.
Thanks to Hollywood, everyone things that California is this liberal utopia (save for Orange County), but in fact the Central Valley is home to many 'country folk'--or redneck, if you're a Jeff Foxworthy fan (
I noted as a child how my dad sounded 'normal' at home and in our area, but the second he was in the company of his sister (the only one of his (at that time) 5 siblings that he liked), he would immediately sound 'country'. And he knew it, so much so that the whole hour-long car ride back home to the Bay Area he would talk a ton just to get the 'country' out of his system.
Today we all spent time with that same aunt of mine--one of my cousins passed away unexpectedly, and today was the funeral. Dad's gotten over his linguistic self-consciousness, and didn't even care that he slipped back into his ancient speech pattern. But what I wasn't prepared for was the fact that I did it, too...I started sounding country, just a hint of it, like when I lived in Texas.
There is a theory of socio-linguistics that holds that there are people with strong ties to their speech community, and others who have weak ties. Those with strong ties will never lose their speech patterns--their 'accent', if you will--and do not associate with many people outside of their speech community for any length of time. The ones who have weak ties to speech communities are the opposite; much like honey bees, they go to various speech communities, sound a little like all of them, tend to have neutral speech patterns (which helps communicativity in various groups), and are the ones who introduce change to different speech communities. Just like the honey bee that goes from one flower to another to pollinate them all, those with weak links bring various modes of speech to various speech communities, just to see what sticks.
Clearly Dad and I are weak links...and not in the Anne Robinson meaning. I can't speak for him, but perhaps that's part of why I never did feel comfortable about that side of the family. Eh, it's all good in the end.