I am British and despite living in Canada for the last decade and marrying a Canadian, I still sound very much like Eliza Doolittle, before the elocution lessons!
Being British is an integral part of my identity. From Monty Python to EastEnders, baked beans on toast to a nice cup of tea solving all of life's woes, I am quintessentially English.
As much as I love Canadians, and moved here solely based on falling hard for one, in particular, I have no desire to become a Canadian.
So it was with some trepidation that I realized shortly after the birth of my son, that this precious little man of mine, was a Canadian, and despite my genes, he would always be considered Canuck through and through.
That was until he started talking. I work full time from home and am his primary caregiver. I also have been known to like a natter or as my dad says, I suffer from verbal diarrhea, so my little one has been totally immersed in my constant verbiage from birth.
My husband noticed it first when our son asked for more "war-tur" pronouncing the hard "R" in the middle like a true barrow boy from Hackey market.
As he has grown so has his English vocabulary.
He calls himself "clever" and "lovely" says I am his "darling" makes personal comments regarding my choice of "knickers" and "frock" and has already caught on that Mummy doesn't do well before "a nice cuppa tea".
He eats "biscuits" not cookies, "chips" not fries "courgette" not zucchini (although that one usually gets chucked on the floor).
My husband and a few friends have mentioned that perhaps we should try to teach him Canadian English so that he doesn't sound like a new arrival when he starts school.
But what's so wrong with sounding a little different?
"I suppose I am just not quite ready for my baby to sound so different from his mama. I bitterly accepted that he calls football "soccer" and nappies "diapers" but for the most part, I like the fact that our accents sound similar."
Sociologist Ruth Useem describes children who grow up in a different culture from their parents, as "Third Culture Kids" or "TCK's".
"The third culture kid builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any"
She suggests that these children who essentially bridge two worlds, never really fit into either culture, always being somewhat of an outsider. For this reason, alone, I am hoping that as he grows and starts school, there will be an inevitable move towards assimilation, whereby he will begin to talk more like his classmates and less like me.
My husband worries that he will be bullied for sounding like an extra from "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" but as much as difference invites ridicule, it can also be an attractive quality.
I remember being totally enamored with my Italian cousins when they came to visit us in London, in the eighties, precisely because they were so different and exotic. Although my son pronouncing "bath" like "barf" would probably not be described as "exotic"!
I suppose I am just not quite ready for my baby to sound so different from his mama. I bitterly accepted that he calls football "soccer" and nappies "diapers" but for the most part, I like the fact that our accents sound similar.
I am all alone here in this vast land and having another little Brit with me is familiar, comforting and helps to ease my lingering home sickness, of which I am reliably told by other ex-pats, never really goes away.
So for now at least, its "rubbish" not "garbage" "trousers" not "pants" and "telly" not "TV" because even though residents on both sides of the Atlantic claim to speak English, we do it very differently, as Eliza Doolittle's teacher Professor Higgins said:
"There even are places where English completely disappears; in America, they haven't used it for years."
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