Tag Archives: accent

Unofficial Translator

It’s summertime again and that means that my workplace has been flooded with dozens of Europeans with J1 Visas. They stay in the U.S. for a couple of months, work hard and party harder, and then go back home to their various countries. They all speak English as a second or third language, but most of them have different dialects and delicious accents. They speak Russian, Gaelic, Croatian, Slovak, you name it. They are awesome to hang out with, so of course I hang out with them. And I’ve become an unofficial translator.

I can’t speak Russian, Gaelic, Croatian, or Slovak. I speak J1. It’s like English but a lot slower and it involves a lot of hand gestures. You have to be able to explain things in a relatable way. One of my J1s went to get a tattoo and had to fill out paperwork. Initial here, here, and here, signature here. I had to tell her what her initials were and what to write. I went shopping with another J1 friend and the salesman made a pitch that he didn’t understand. He asked the salesman to repeat himself to me so I could decipher the message and relay it back to him.

I’m not saying that Europeans suck at English. I’m saying that Americans suck at English. They use fancy and proper words. They say advocate instead of lawyer. They spell color like colour. They add the U. Fancy. Proper. Americans have dumbed down the English language, so that even when Europeans say something right most Americans can’t understand what they are saying. That’s where I come in. I can turn casual speech into proper speech and vice versa so that a more cultured society can understand our primitive selves. It’s enough to warrant myself as an unofficial translator. I’ll take it.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

translator

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Subtitles on Someone with an Accent

It’s no secret that white people be racist. That’s why you always see subtitles on someone with an accent on PBS/Discovery Channel documentaries. There will an esteemed professor from an acclaimed universe talking about the nature of black holes in perfect English, albeit with a slight German accent, and the network will slap on a bunch of subtitles because they think you have no idea what he’s saying. He’s still speaking English and I understand English so they don’t need to degrade him with unnecessary subtitles. Save the subtitles for the ones speaking in a foreign language, not for all foreigners. Nobody wants to read when they’re watching TV anyway.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

TeletextNews

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Accents

I’m a big fan of accents. They tell a story. They tell you where the person came from, if they speak another language, and different regions have different speech patterns and different sounds so you can learn a lot from their vocal nuances. I like southern accents and English accents, but the best accents are from people who speak English as a second language. Language is like music and accents are like different instruments. You don’t always want to hear the same song on the piano. Sometimes you want it to be played on the guitar, or banged out on the drums, or tooted from a saxophone. When you hear a particularly delicious accent, you immediately want to emulate it. You want to hear that sound roll off your own tongue; you want to experience it too. So don’t be offended if you have an accent and I’m constantly copying you and asking you to repeat particular phrases. I’m not making fun of you. I like the way you talk and I wish you’d talk some more. Especially if you have a mysterious European accent.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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