At first when we arrived here in New York I noticed I was having a bit of trouble being understood. I know our accent can be hard to understand. Is it really that difficult? Well the answer is a big fat YES! Over the telephone would have to be the worse too.
Honestly sometimes I am in a fit of laughter as I cannot believe what they think I have said. It is not that I think they should understand the way I talk but it’s just one of those experiences that makes me grow as a human being. The observation I have made is that us Aussie’s grow up with so much American influence. We all grew up with shows like the “Brady Bunch” and “I dream of Jeannie”. I think this is why we seem to understand them quite well. However it seems “Skippy” and “number 96” where not big hits here otherwise they would be able to speak my lingo.
I have quickly and efficiently learned to make some alterations to the way I say things. I have even had to change my spelling as well as they use “z” a lot where we use “s”. An example is “memorize”. I have had to learn to really pronounce my “r” like when I say Waterrrrrrrrrrrr. And then the opposite with my T’s as they are not pronounced so much like we do. It’s almost like saying “waaa-t-rrrrrrrrrrrrrr”. Hugo is a natural as I think those years at an American School in Brazil have paid off.
Anyway suffice to say I have to think before I speak but surprisingly it’s becoming more and more natural. There is also words that are different like garbage and diapers but that is all coming along nicely. The girls are also adapting well so they too can be understood. Isabel has adapted well and affectionately calls me “Mom” now. I know she does it to try and fit in and slowly I am noticing she is saying things slightly different. Annika is full on developing the American accent. She is now 2.5 and she was an early talker regardless. She is also surprisingly picking up a lot of Spanish too. Hugo is still battling on with a bit of Swedish .At this rate Spanish will definitely going to take over . The carer she has at the Gym is from the Dominican Republic and now talks completely to her in Spanish. I go three times a week so that is a lot of exposure.
I myself am also trying to improve my Spanish. The last time I used it was when I was flying for Ansett. Spanish is a second language here and its quite common to see a lot of kids fluent from their Latin Nannies.