Wednesday, May 19, 2010

British Influence

I love living in the UK and it’s been a great experience for us as a family. The Slovak has had the opportunity to live in a Western country, not bad for a boy born in the workers’ paradise. I get treated like an alien invasion at passport control, but I love CBeebies and the concept of meat wrapped in pastry, so I cope. And Baby K doesn’t care one way or the other. (Except about CBeebies and meat wrapped in pastry, which she is entirely on board with.) The timing is pretty good, too, since we’ll return to Czech Republic before my maternity leave runs out* and K starts preschool.

One thing I’m not crazy about with spending our daughter’s first few years here is her accent getting muddled. I know, I know, proper English and all that, but I don’t really like mixed accents. I want my child to speak like other children from (all) her native countries, which I think is fairly reasonable.

When I agreed to move here, I told my husband that as soon as Baby K came home from the playground saying “Mummy, let’s pop round to the shop”, we have to move. She doesn’t call me Mummy yet**, but she does come home from nursery talking about playing in the garden and other Britishisms. Or at the playground, another child asked if she wanted to go fast (tall a) or slow, and she said fast (tall a), though usually she says fast (short a). She also has a couple of particular intonations that she uses all the time that she’s heard on TV and at nursery.

So when she talks about the “pahk” and “gahden” and all, is it just that she can’t say her R’s yet (true), that she can’t say two consonants together yet (true), or is it also the beginnings of a non-rhotic accent??

All in all pretty cute, frankly, but I guess what I’m saying is I don’t really want my child to sound like this guy.

* You read that right. Three years of maternity leave, baby.

** I wrote this a few weeks ago. Since then she has started to call me "Mummaaaaaaaayy" exactly like the kids at her school and her intonations are distinctly British. Cute, but it's time to move!

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