I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband is Australian. (And, since earlier this year, Canadian now too!) We have been together for about ten years, and we only spent one of those years in Australia.
Maybe that’s the reason that in the battle of our accents, mine won. (I actually didn’t think I had an accent, but I have been informed that I do. I was talking to one of my people in Sacramento the other day and she said, “I love when you call me with your cute little accent,” which mystified me because I really really really thought that she and I had the same accent.) Or maybe it’s because my accent is dominant, and his is recessive or submissive or whatever the right word for that is.
I swear I never set out to get rid of his accent. But first he started pronouncing “R”s and it all went downhill from there. He now sounds mostly Canadian to people who don’t know better, and vaguely foreign to people who do. He rarely gets pegged as an Australian anymore though.
One thing they don’t tell you about accents is that it’s not just the way you talk – it’s the way you hear. And it would seem that this part of a person’s accent does not go away. And so we have conversations that go like this:
Me: Have you talked to Aaron lately?
Him: Who’s Aaron?
Me: Um, one of your best friends? He was a groomsman at our wedding?
Him: Oh! AARON! You said Aaron.
Him: Aaron’s a girl’s name. My friend is Aaron.
Me: I have no idea what you are talking about right now.
Him: They’re different! Listen: Girl name – Aaron, Boy Name – Aaron.
Me: You’re just messing with me here, right?
Or this one:
Me: I’m thinking I’ll take the ferry to Victoria for the weekend.
Him: Hee hee hee.
Him: Taking the ferry. Hee hee hee.
Him: I’m just picturing you turning up in Victoria on a little winged lady. It’s funny.
Me: I meant a ferry-boat, obviously.
Him: But that’s not what you said. You said ferry-boat. Like, a boat full of ferries. Like something from a fantasy.
Him: THEY’RE DIFFERENT WORDS DAMMIT!
Or this one:
Him: This weird thing happened at work today. I asked my boss where I could buy some caulk and she started giggling.
Me: Oh, come on, really? You just asked your boss where you could buy some cock.
Him: No! I asked for… oh! Is this one of those words where Canadians think they’re dealing homophones when they are actually dealing with two words that sound nothing alike?
Me: Not exactly how I’d put it, but yes, I think so.
Him: Oh my god, does my boss really think I’d ask her where I could buy some cock?
Seriously, if you know any Australians, you can probably orchestrate conversations exactly like these any time you like. Good times.