Wah wah v2
11 Jun

Cor blimey, mummy!

Between you and me, I’m tired. Tired of being in the dumps, that is. Therefore, I’ve decided not to wallow in feeling sorry for myself anymore. I want to enjoy motherhood. I am entering a new era of positivity, an era in which I can get to know my baby girl, watch my husband bloom into a great dad, and spend more time worrying about the real issues – like what kind of accent my daughter will  have.

Seriously, I think about this. You know and I know that there are some pretty nasty British accents out there. One street can make the difference between “nothing” and “nufffink”. Growing up in America, I was reared on the romantic fairytale of the plummy British accent. I’m talking Julie Andrews, David Niven, and James Bond, not Jordan and Kerry Katona. I once heard a comedian joke that Leicester Square is full of disillusioned American tourists, not because they’ve finally realised they’ve been pronouncing Leicester wrong, but because the guy who just robbed them of a bob wasn’t a disgraced country lord with a dreadful cocaine habit to support. It’s the same flavour of disappointment that Brits feel when they realise that I pronounce the R in “New Jersey” rather than rhyming it with “noisy”.

So how do I get Baby talking like Annette Mills in “Muffin the Mule”?

James was raised in Wales. But he sounds like Mr Darcy (part of why I fell in love with him). Apparently, his Welsh accent was beaten out of him at school. I’m hoping I won’t have to hire Baby her own personal Henry Higgins to whip her haitches into shape. Because I’ll do it, you know. Just you watch.

To put this into context for my British friends, what if you moved to New Jersey and your kid started tawkin like Tony Soprano? Or your little Dudley turned into a Dude in California?

I worry about this now because I’m sure I’ll have much more serious things to worry about when she’s older, like whether she’s up to the same shenanigans I got up to when I was her age. Or whether she got a few points off on that math exam because mommy gave her some formula as a baby.

In the meantime, I’ll have to remain vigilant to make sure she isn’t dropping the H’s in “wahhhhhhh”.

6 Comments

  1. 11 Jun

    Karen

    Julia we have similar thoughts. Our babe was born in London. She’s half Greek, half Australian and now we all live in Oz. The only problem is, she has a beautiful Greek name that sounds hideous when said with the Aussie twang (I can write that, being an Aussie myself). We shorten it to something that doesn’t make us cringe.

  2. 11 Jun

    Murray

    Well now, you will be fine until she goes to nursery and starts mixing with other children. The longer you can avoid her going to nursery the better, perhaps you could request she only plays with posh kids with nice accents. Wimbledon is hardly Essex or Bow. Seriously though the best you can do is to annunciate correctly at all times. A soft welsh lilt would be OK. My son’s 18 mth old is starting to string words together and although her parents do not suffer too much I fear she will grow up with the accent of Norwich. You will have to accept that she will learn to spell properly though – mummy has a u in it as does mum. Other fine examples include realise and specialise, not a z in sight.

    You talk about enjoying motherhood and this may sound strange advice but as soon as you feel confident go out with James for lunch or dinner without her. It will do both of you a huge amount of good. There is a creeping claustrophobia that envelops new parents and before you know it a year has gone by and you forget what it’s like to just enjoy each others company. It’s important. One of the advantages of being a grandparent is you can observe and advise having been there and shredded the T-shirt in frustration!

  3. 11 Jun

    Mavis Dee

    It’s fine, the wondrous thing about your own children is that you can correct them endlessly. Scots have a habit of dropping consonants (I don’t, I am Scottish not Sco’ish) and I spend half my life saying “buTTer” or “fooTbaLL”.

    The worst part is that they are currently learning how to write and spell, which they do phonetically. Some of their efforts make me want to weep, as they phoenetically spell out regional pronuciations. It took me a while to translate “cishun” as “kitchen”.

    Fear not, most kids sound primarily like their parents x

  4. 12 Jun

    Waylandtb

    My wife was born in Cardiff of Welsh/Irish parents. She grew up in Birmingham then worked in London and Paris.
    Her accent confuses everyone.

  5. 12 Jun

    Birgitte @ BabyBeamers.com

    I know what you mean. Esther frequently comes home from pre-school with very questionable pronounciantions. I can hear the panic in my own voice as I correct her “It’s called MINE, not moin, and WATER not worder… and it’s not exactly Mary Poppins clones looking after her over there for all those hours of the week, but they love her and take so good care of her, so I shouldn’t complain really. And there’s still time to correct her English right? Right?!

  6. 13 Jun

    Antonina

    At least you only have to worry about version of English accent! I worry about 3 different languages and them getting mixed up in my baby’s brain. Or him speaking my native language with an English accent. Now THAT I won’t be able to handle.

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