Funny moments in our globalised family: accent-rich small-talks

Obviously, the English language is a big puzzle for me, which I put together with the help of books explaining the rules of a fun game called grammar.

As a consequence of above, my spoken English is even more annoying than my accent-rich writing. Just one demonstrative example of the countless: whenever I say I download apps, what I actually download are:

apes

Another task that presents a challenge to me is what we call small-talk. Whereas the habit of small-talking is virtually non-existent in the culture of my home country, in addition my personality is entirely incompatible with the practice, while living in the US I was thrown into the deepest water to improve my skills in that area. The weather is apparently a last-straw material for small-talkers everywhere in the world, so whenever I was trapped in those anti-social social situations, I invariably escaped into referring to the given temperature of the surrounding air.

As one may expect the outcome of the two challenges combined: my anxiety rising by the prospect of a small-talk always entered an inverse correlation with the quality-level of my pronunciation.

One of my dearest professors in the US, who otherwise believed my mind ticked at an okay rate, obviously had been amused by my accent, but he was kind enough to not make it a point until one day while I was struggling to survive a small-talk happening between the two of us. He returned my weather-related comment with a painful grimace, indicating he was fundamentally clueless as to what I was trying to say. I was petrified. What I was mumbling was blindingly obvious anyway from the given context (so much about the ‘practical merit’ of small talks) which was impossible to misunderstand despite my innovative language usage. Yet, to remain consistently polite, I desperately kept repeating the key-word all over again, each time expecting different results, until he decided to give me a break.

“Hut? What ‘hut’ do you mean”? he said, looking around, then looking at me with the sort of inter-cultural amusement that was impossible to misunderstand.

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6 thoughts on “Funny moments in our globalised family: accent-rich small-talks

  1. Emily Anne: Thank you so much for your comment and for mentioning my blog in your list. It is a brilliant idea to bring us together and it is very inspiring :)
    I very much enjoy reading your blog, too – please keep posting!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for making me laugh today! Out-loud, in my pajamas… I like your writing because you paint the picture so carefully, and you are great at it. It’s almost as if your reader is standing next to you, but can still hear your thoughts. I love the small-talk weather feature, this is so true. As a professional small-talker (Hairdresser for 13 years and counting), the weather is always a neatral standby when strangers come together. But a good conversationalist will take the weather to preferences of many different sorts. Whenever I initiate this topic, the guilt and amusement override each other with the rationale- it is necessary for the given situation. Communication is important in certain circumstances simply because it is necessary for cohesion in a culture. The better I can understand someone, the more likely it is that we can work together. Whatever that means.
    I am new at blogging, but enjoying myself. I am following you because a comment you made on the better man project was interesting and lead me here. Your site is funny, humor is good, and looking forward to further enjoyment!

    Reply
    • Hello Heidi : )
      Wow – Many thanks for your very kind comment. You just have had my day made, or made my day to have, or made me have my day – oh boy :)

      The way you put it makes all the sense in the world. You are a professional small-talker – oh that’s what the doctor ordered. Actually small talk with a hair-dresser could be a major topic for me. Sitting in the hairdresser’s chair is when the stakes of performing well in the inevitable small-talk run the highest, whereas my accent due to my being worried about the outcome of my haircut, drops to the lowest. And the end result is invariably reflected in my hair-do and in my consequent weeping. One of the hundreds of hairdressers I ever saw transformed my long blond hair into a freshly cut green pasture.
      Since then every time when I have to go to a hair dresser, I almost faint with anxiety. My face turns so white they often wonder if they should call the ambulance …
      Do you have some funny stories about your clients?

      PS: Re the comment you referred to, I am wondering which one you mean?

      Reply
      • hahah! Too funny! I bet there is a hairdresser out there that could connect with you, just be yourself and remind them not to judge.
        Needless to say, there aren’t too many people out there that can genuinely connect with others.

        Your comment:

        “I can sense a contradiction between the two advice: If I keep it simple and dig into what really matters, I am unable to smile.

        How can anyone be expected to enjoy the present while facing the near future as we do? I wish someone would explain that to me.”

        healing wanderer also peaked my interest, interesting choice of words. Very descriptive and not capitalized, certainly for good reason I expect.

        I have some great stories, will post some on my blog (time is always the conflict in my life), when I do- feel free to share them on yours!
        Best

  3. Heidi:
    Big LOLz back to you! Thanks for being such a good sport. For a while I did have a good hairdresser with whom small-talk wasn’t a problem either. She was a friend, that’s why. I guess the only cure for small-talk is friendship. But then globalisation blew me behind off her chair.

    Hairdresser stories – that cracks me up in advance – I am looking forward to them!
    I follow your blog – actually I thought I already did, as I do follow back everyone here.

    You can also post a comment here whenever you would like to share a post, a story or just would like talk. (This goes about everyone reading this.)

    Re: that comment on the better men project. I am glad that it brought us together. : )

    Reply

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