04 September, 2016

"Tell her to speak English please."

04 September 2016

R. Linda:

Since me Mam moved in with us, when Dragon comes to visit she is having a very hard time understanding not only me Irish accent (which has American inflections creeping in, so I be not as hard to understand as I first was), but with me dear old gray haired, apple cheeked Mam. Dragon is in a quandary over me Mam's accent. I be told when I be in the room with me Mam, any American inflections to me accent disappear like smoke and she is once again sitting with "foreigners" who don't speak English.

Oh yeah, that's what she complains loudly about the house. I, for one could very well take a mind to me speech and make it easier for her, but me heart won't let me. As far as me Mam be concerned, she grew up in Ireland, born and raised, and with the little time she has spent in America, she has not been exposed (language-wise) to any inflections of Americanisms in her spoken word. Yes indeed, she be a daughter of Ireland and will so remain. I get it, but Dragon does not. She be of the mind (like Donald Trump) if you live here speak the language. The problem IS me Mam does speak the language only with an Irish accent! And when I inform Dragon that she is the one with the accent she makes like she doesn't understand a word I say.

So Dragon took me aside (yes she be here AGAIN) and tried to reckon with me to get me Mam to try to be American. Like that's going to happen. I, in turn, tried me damnedest to explain it wasn't that simple to drop one accent for another unless you were a linguist trained for such things. It went in one ear and out the other. She wouldn't have it, certainly we both (me and Mam) could be more generous when we speak so the American ear can halfway understand what on God's little acre we are talking about, otherwise, what was the need to even be in the same room? Indeed, I wanted so much to opt for not being in the same room ever, but the wife would be upset and three people already upset didn't need a fourth in the mix.

I told Dragon privately, I would try to translate me Mam's words the best I could. So that was that until, yesterday when Dragon comes into the kitchen where both me and Mam had got up early enough to have our breakfast in peace without the Dragon.

Dragon threw a good morning to us, we back, well me Mam with "good morrow," instead of "good morning," the Irish greeting that has been around for hundreds of years. And I sighed, Dragon sighed and went to look out the window. She was checking the dawn weather and murmured something about it looked like rain coming.

Me Mam, not really thinking just wanting to be sociable says to us, "Oh ay, dere be a chunce (chance)  of light rain 3% an' a chance of torrential rain 97%."

Eeeyup! Said it just like that to which an exasperated Dragon turned around and looked at me, like WTF? I shrugged, like there was nothing to be done about it. And then it started to rain.

"I tole ye," mutters me Mam, "prolly clare (clear) oop on the morrow." And seeing the furrowed brow on the Dragon and thinking it was because of the weather adds, "when it gits dockah (darker) ye won't notice da bod (bad) weathah (weather) so mooch (much). At least da buyos (boys) hovent (haven't) any skewl (school). Be a goud (good) day fer da buyos ta stoody (study) dere skewl werk."

I put me hands in me face at Dragon's sour look. She poured herself some coffee and me Mam thinking Dragon not sociable first thing in the morning, decided to talk it up. I tell ya!

"Da rain will green oop da groahus (grass)," she rattles on, "git da sneaks (snakes) back in da wooods (woods) an' da buyos won't feel so bone rubble (vulnerable) goin' oout (out) in da yad (yard)."

Seeing this bought more silent so she went on.

"Got Kerry Gould (Gold) buttah." She inched the butter dish towards Dragon. "I bought a taub (tub) of it."

The Dragon made no move to make herself some toast, no just sat there staring at us both as she sipped her hot coffee, as if it was all a bad dream.

This further threw me Mam into conversation of the Irish kind.

"Do ye wan' a sue-flay?" Me Mam asked Dragon who looked at me and I translated souffle.

"No thank you." Dragon said slowly pronouncing each word as a hint me Mam might try the same.

"Gabe's vather (father) uoosed (used) ta like dem. Only he liked em' bootery (buttery) an' I tried to tell em' he woz (was) cryzee (crazy) dey were made only to poof (puff). One day I kooked (cooked) em' won (one) wit (with) booble goom (bubble gum) in it." And she started laughing at the memory as Dragon's eyes got big over the rim of her coffeecup. "He taught (though) it were mogic (magic) da middle grew and grew and grew!" Another outburst of laughter which I admit made me chuckle because I remember that scene from childhood.

"Da (the) colah (color) woz off an' he's (his) face an' ee' said jus' befur (before) it boost (burst), it were da strangest sue flay he'd ever taw (saw)." And into gales of of laughter her and I at the memory of me Da's face dripping exploded bubble gum. You had to be there. It was the last souffle he ever requested. She never made another and told me later how much she hated making them so I knew she was toying with the Dragon who would never request one now for fear of what might be hiding inside.

Me Mam wasn't looking at Dragon's horrified look but out the window. She got up and said as she left the room, "Dat chunce of rain weirdly low roight (right) now, apart from the drizzle and slanty rain." And off she went leaving the Dragon in consternation of just what she meant by that.

I hightailed it out of the kitchen meself as I wanted no more complaints on me Mam who (and I knew it though Dragon did not) had overheard the accent conversation the night before and made sure she was on her most Irishness as much as she could be just to rattle the Dragon's cage.

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  1. Gabe I doubt your Mam will lose the accent my Mum never has and she's been here for years. As English as the day she left. Myself like you have taken on a few Americanisms but it all comes back when visitors from England come. So much so I get the stop trying to put on the accent comments from me lads lol. But I swear to god it just comes naturally. You know. Enjoyed the story.

  2. ROFLMAO. I love it! That's whhy I wanted you to make those wavs for me. I like the accent. I coul listen to your mother all day! I don't mean send her, but for major irritation points, have her record stories for me with her thickest accent where dragon can hear. Perfect prezzie!

  3. I never laughed so hard. I had the same problem when I first came here. My Da is exceptional with accents, but he speaks seven languages and lived everywhere. He'd give that old bird a run for her money. I particularly liked the weather reports and the 'booblegoom' in the 'sue-flay' that was priceless.

  4. lmao!!! bone rubble, now that's a good one. love your mom

  5. I say good morrow all the time and never get anyone looking askance for it. Your mother-in-law is strange to say the least. Why is she back? Jealous your mam is there and doting on the grandkids? You gave me a good laugh, needed it. Thx

    1. Yeah that's a part of it. The excuse is she has a few more homes lined up to look at. That's where she is now with Tonya, looking to move up here. GREAT!

    2. Time for you to move down there when she moves to your neighbourhood. Fix her.