Sunday, October 15, 2006

hearing voices

I was told few days ago I write like I talk, given this comment was made after trying to decipher 12 pages of handwritten scrawled notes I'd taken I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but the comment was made more about the 'Britishness' of my English than anything else. Personally I think the style of what I wrote had far more to do with me trying to paraphrase people who were talking too fast about things I didn't really understand than anything else!

Yesterday I got the newsletter through by email from South East Scotland MM which had a fantastic piece by Geoffrey Carnall on how to make his wonderful bread. Trust Geoffrey to make a recipe into such an entertaining article! Having heard him relate many an anecdote over the years I could hear his voice so clearly as I read it as it was if someone had transcribed him talking. It was like having him in the room and I could clearly imagine him standing there, leaning slightly forward complete with the hand gestures that no doubt would accompany the telling.

Given my nomadic life and tendency to pick up the words and phrases used around me my accent is often difficult for people to place other than maybes Northern England (mind they soon realise if they say 'Manchester?' that they got the wrong side of the Pennines!), altho' when discussing this with someone recently they said 'ah but do you say t'internet?!' in an attempt to establish my Yorkshire credentials - well funnily enough no, in fact I've never even heard t'internet said, which given I left Yorkshire long before I'd ever come across the internet and I've hardly been back is not surprising really.

However I do have to really concentrate when pronouncing Māori words as pretty much all the letters get pronounced - which after a lifetime of dropping my h's is 'ard work I can tell you. After all, I grew up in 'Olmfirth, in the 'Olme Valley, near 'Uddersfield and when it's cold I wear an 'at on me 'ead... There's a word for how h's sound in Māori and whilst I know it probably isn't exasperated that word has got stuck in my head now and I can't think of the right one, but basically they are most definitely there and not dropped and replaced with a glottal stop! Slowly I'm getting to the point where I can see a word/place name and hear in my head someone with good pronunciation saying it which helps me have a go at getting it somewhere closer to right than not. I was quite indignant when the bus driver back from Auckland, despite his obvious Māori heritage, insisted on saying Taupo the anglicised way - how on earth are we Pakeha supposed to get it right if we don't hear it pronounced correctly by those who should know better?

1 comment:

kate said...

Um, actually I have heard the immortal "t'internet", though I forget precisely for the moment where and who, but am hoping above hope that it was in jest.... :O
Don't people who make fun of yorkshire folk realise they make the best linguists though, having an inbuilt understanding of the singlular/plural formal/informal pronoun every other englishman simply uses 'you' for?!