A Linguistic Discovery
When I lived in Denmark, I was a sort of linguistic chameleon. By which I mean that I had a habit of picking up the regional accent of whatever person I was speaking to. Saying it was a habit makes it sound as if it was on purpose. It wasn't, just happened – I’d start out a conversation speaking with the intonation of someone who's grown up in the suburbs of Copenhagen and within about 20 min. or so, I sounded like I was from Fyn/Funen or Jylland/Jutland.
My osmosis with my conversation partner disappeared when I came to Canada. I just can't do accents in English - perhaps it is because my own is still so close to the surface? That is, with the exception of an Irish accent. There's something about the cadence of the Irish way of speaking that hits the same place as Fynsk (as in coming from the island of Funen/Fyn) - they're both lilting, musical sounds. Which is funny because I can't sing in key at all.
And a sidetrack, but it's relevant. In terms of languages, I have a great fondness for the sounds of many, not just in terms of the way the individual language sounds in itself, but also of the way its accent colours English. Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Australian (yes, I know they theoretically speak English, but try watching watch an Australian movie and see how much you can pick up). There our also languages that never really appealed to me and one of them's Italian. I don't know why, I mean no offense to the Italian people, country or culture out there, but it just never turned my crank.
A couple of weeks ago, I dropped by my mother's place and had to pick up something from another tenant in the building lives on another floor. There I ran into an older woman, who stopped me to check if I was my mother's daughter - I admitted that I was - and mention how she was a bit confused that I was on the wrong floor. We had a bit of a chat, she introduced herself as Giovanna and despite having been in Canada for decades, she still had an incredibly charming and very heavy Italian accent. And within 3 minutes, so did I. Less heavy, but there was a definite change in the way the words came out of my mouth and the change was definitely Italian. Turns out that the lilt hits the exact same place in my head as Irish and Fynsk.
Who knew? Of course, now I'm starting to think I might want to study Italian.