Friday, 9 July 2010

Accentophobia

The clearest evidence to point at the fact people should get around more and learn about the world we live in is to do with accents.
A few years ago there was a bit of a commotion in Australia when we learned that Australia’s biggest cultural export (at least money wise), The Wiggles kids TV program, have been voice dubbed in the USA to get rid of their Aussie accents and replace them with what those ignorant Americans regard as a proper one. If there was anything redneck Aussies needed in order to prove their claim regarding the stupidity of the average American, that was it.
Turns out accent xenophobia (accentophobia?) is not limited to Americans alone. The best TV program ever, as far as our three year old is concerned, is a Canadian stop motion animation production called Lunar Jim. The version aired by ABC in Australia features the original Canadian voices; however, this week we learned that the UK version of the same series and the same episodes we’ve seen so many times before is dubbed with British voices. Aside from making all the characters we know and love sound different, they all sound like a Prince Charles; and given my affection to that idiot of a prince I consider the British attitude to have been totally in the wrong. What do they have against their fellow Commonwealth members, a nation that – like Australia – still regards the Queen as its head of state?
My personal experience in Australia goes to prove the point about openness to accents the best. My accent is perhaps my most un-Australian feature, and this week it led me to new heights when I called our son’s childcare to have a chat with its manager:
Me: Can I speak with Tricia?
Lady on the other side: Are you after Lisa?
Me: No, I'm after Tricia.
Lady on the other side: I'm sorry, Lisa is not working here anymore. You need to speak with Tricia.
Me: Yes, she's the one I'm after.
Lady on the other side: I'm sorry, Tricia is out for a meeting.
The defense rests.

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