I’m originally from California but have lived in the UK since 2004. In that time I lived in Germany for 3 years with my English husband and 3 babies. I can’t really say I lived German since I was well covered by the British army. I was also employed by the MOD as a journalist and aviation assistant for the British Army Air Corps; all while still serving out my contract as a US soldier. Communication challenges, to say the least.
It’s safe to say I’ve encountered many accents and dialects. Once we settled in Harsweinkle, I immediately took basic German and subsequently, advanced German grammar courses in order to feel more comfortable in my environment. I found it strange that Germany entertains approximately 250 different dialects. And my measly little classes were just tips of the iceberg. The UK has approximately 56 but hundreds of variations to those few.
I’ve tried to get my head around the English geographical dialects more than any other country as I would spend more time here and there’s less to cope with. Keep in mind, the UK could fit inside California. I struggle with the vast differences, mainly northerners. People up there, or should I say, oop there, refer to themselves as a group of people. For example; ‘We loov’ ya’s’. Roughly translated; ‘I love you.’ Or, ‘Give Uz [me] a kiss.’ My analytical mind screams, ‘social multi personality disorders’- something in the water! Or at best, a general inability to do anything on their own. There must be others ‘rowing in their boat’. An English native has yet to explain that accent, to me, other than, ‘they’re stupid’.
Then you have the crystal clean, Queen’s English. You could be thick as shit, couldn’t count past your fingers and toes, but sound like a millionaire-genius if you speak with the traditional vernacular. Then I come along and question the whole damn thing. To the English, north, south, east or west, I’m a hill billy. It will never matter where I come from, because to the Brit’s, I’m worse than the Welsh. In order to get along and still maintain my true identity, I do my best to use correct, socially acceptable, descriptions and speak clear and slow- even though it makes me sound more like a shit kickin’, gun shootin’, Cali girl.
I’m still hangin’ in there, because truth be told, this country is incredibly beautiful and rich with fascinating history and diversity and above all, music and comedy. This whole country seems to be music oriented. My kind of peeps. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity, albeit minority, to live in a pretty great country and be from an even better one [ there’s no place like home]. I’m quite proud of my dual nationality, warts and all.