Thursday, August 21, 2008

At least *I'll* be speaking English by the end of this course!

Time has lost a bit of it's meaning for me here in Thailand. My course is technically from 10am - 6pm. but I've been getting there closer to 9 -9:30, and regularly stay until nearly 7pm. But while I'm there, at no point do I want to be anywhere else. Whereas at my old job, I would roll in as late as possible and live for the next opportunity to leave. Sure I stayed late when there was a big project... but it was never because I just wanted to be there.

On this course, there's just so much to do, so much to think about, and so many opportunities to interact with the other trainees that I completely lose track of time. I just got home and was rereading the post from last night - beer with the guys (the money post was one I'd written a while ago and post-dated) and it took a minute to sink in that that happened only last night. Nothing especially exciting or interesting even happened today... just lots and lots and lots of stuff.

But I did want to share something I noticed today. Both of the instructors on the course are from England, and as I've mentioned, there are four Aussies, a Brit, a Canadian and one other American. And of course since we're all interested in language, we've talking about each other's "accents" (or should I say pronunciation style, since here at least, we all have accents). Anyway today we were learning about drilling sentences so the tutor had us repeating after her "He drives a fast car." "He smokes a cigar." and the style she uses we listen twice repeat twice as a group then she starts calling on pairs & individuals. By the end of all this drilling, when she got to me I couldn't help but say "He drives a fast cah.." "He smokes a cigah" - completely leaving off my all-American "Rhotic R". Proof I guess that the technique works!!! Then later, the other (otheh.. ;) ) American asked me something and I said "I might do." instead of "I might"... simply because I keep hearing my other tutor say that*. I just looked at OA and said "Did I just say that?" and he laughed. If this is how I sound after less than a week, I expect to be speaking The Queen's English** well & proper by the end of the month.

*I don't actually think that's how "might do" is even used... bonus points for anyone who can tell me what type of language acquisition mistake that is.

** aka RP or "BBC English" =P


Olga said...

gee- don't know. But I envy you getting to hear all those accents- It would be easy to fall for a guy who has an accent.

Ginger_Curls said...

I have no idea what a "language acquisition mistake" is! As a native of "Queen's English" I would say, based on what you have written that your response looks like it was probably correct; but, it depends what the question was. But lets face it, most Brits don't speak "proper" English!

marissa said...

i'm pretty sure that is how they use "might do." i remember i sounded british for like a year after i came back. i miss it... it beats the crap out of sounding like a valley girl, which is my default "accent."

Magatha said...

Two different verb tenses is all my feeble brain can whip up.
Might is past tense and do is present. It should be, "I might have done." or "I may do."

??? huh huh huh ???
I might have know idea. ;-)

d said...

i'm not sure about might do, but in the south it's 'might could' in place of 'maybe'. i haven't lived there for over 10 years and i still find myself saying it every once in a while.

Rebel said...

Oh - maybe it is right.

It's just that I kept hearing him say "you might do..." and didnt' think "I might do" was correct. But it's one of those things like when a child starts saying "She goed to the store"... learning the rule and then experimenting with it to see if it fits in other structures. I actually can't remember what it's called.

More on language analysis next week.

Michael5000 said...


I lived in England for a year, and came back without the slightest change in my accent. Some people come back marked for life. So, mileage varies.