Kids Corner

Above: Ms Sharon Campbell-Rayment. Below, first from bottom - the horse responsible for her affliction.


Finally ... An Explanation For Bad Accents!




I have often wondered why the British can't speak English properly.

The Cockney Brit talks as if he has a frog stuck in his throat.

The Scotsman's brogue betrays too much time spent in cold and humid northern winters.

The Irishman's love for Guinness may explain his accent.  

The Welshman perennially sounds like he is about to burst into song.    

I do believe that it would be an excellent idea to send Canadians - we who speak perfect, accentless English - to the British Isles en masse to teach them how to speak - and spell! - in the English language. Prro-perr-ly!

I'm sure scientists and linguists alike have, like me, scratched their heads for ever over this strange phenomena.

Today's National Post - Canada's daily newspaper which has now taken over the mandate of reporting strange stories, or normal stories in strange ways, from The Toronto Sun -  may have an explanation to offer in its coverage today.

Here's an extract from it, verbatim:   

"Kent Bridge, Ontario, Canada

"As she stepped out with her horse Malachi on a routine ride around her farm in July 2008, Sharon Campbell-Rayment forgot to swap her cowboy hat for a riding helmet. When the horse spooked and Ms. Campbell-Rayment's head hit the ground, she suffered right occipital lobe damage. She sat up and fell over again, this time damaging her left frontal lobe.

"For days, she couldn't speak at all, and when she eventually did, she stuttered uncontrollably. As she regained her powers of speech, she gained something completely unexpected - a foreign accent.

" ‘I started to talk with a wee accent,' she says in an Irish lilt blended with a Scottish brogue. Along with the rolled r's, dropped g's, longer a's and softer s's, new words crept into her vocabulary. Her speech is peppered with ‘grand,' ‘brilliant‘ and ‘wee‘ - words she never used before the accident - and as she stops to collect her thoughts, she punctuates the pauses with ‘em‘ instead of ‘um.' "

Ah-hh-h! So that's what happened to the people of the islands across the pond?

Hm-mm-m. Suddenly, everything makes sense.

But wait! How do you then explain the "I yum frum Bummbey" accents from my desi friends who hail from Inja? Ever heard Mr  Aditya Jha cook up stories and rant about non-existent extremists? How do you explain his accent, if not his weird stories?

Constipation, maybe!

Or too much time spent in the Indian Consulate offices?

And Mr Deepak Obhrai, who has been kept in the back-benches by his party ever since they used to call themselves CCRAP (I swear I'm not making this up!)? How do you explain HIS accent, if not meaningless meanderings in Parliament, when he gets up to say something once every few months?

A direct fall on the head when they were shaving his head clean in childhood?

You know, Ms Sharon Campbell-Rayment does have a point. You give things time, and everything begins to makes sense - or you get to know why they don't!

June 17, 2010     


Conversation about this article

1: Shelley Barthos (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), June 17, 2010, 5:05 PM.

I agree with you ... the Brits should stay off horses and keep their helmets on at all times. In a generation or so, we'll be able to figure out what they're saying on BBC!

2: Jaimal Singh (New York, U.S.A.), June 17, 2010, 5:11 PM.

I think you were being kind, were you, by editing out the following para from the news report: "Before the accident, Ms. Campbell-Rayment had just finished her masters in divinity, was working full-time as a pastor at three local churches, running camps and riding lessons at her farm, and raising two daughters. She is now unable to preach or teach and spends much of her time in a quiet, darkened room in her home." Is somebody trying to silence her? God? (Yes, yes ... I just read your other piece on an anthropomorphic God! It's all coming together, isn't it!)

3: Karandeep Kaur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 17, 2010, 5:16 PM.

Ms. Campbell-Rayment landed on her head in July 2008. That's almost two full years ago! And 'The National Post' is reporting it today as important news, while ... at the very same time - Justice John Major has been indicting Canadian authorities for the Air India Flight 182 tragedy? This may be the reason, you know, why 'The National Post' has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy for well over a decade now. And is still staring drunkenly into the abyss!

4: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), June 17, 2010, 5:59 PM.

Would this help: A school teacher once a month has a 'sticker day'. She gives each child a sticker and asks them to write a story about it: Here is a hilarious masterpiece due to an inadvertent spelling mistake: "I like hores. Hores have other horses friends. Horses like carrots. You wouldn't think they could but they can put in their legs straight up. Hores make you feel good. My dad wants hores but mum says no. When I am 16 or 20 I will buy my own hores". More stories to come. I just couldn't wait to share this story like how England and America are two countries separated by the same language. If you throw in Indian English, you have a perfect recipe like: "I am in the well, hope you are also in the well."

5: Aryeh Leib (Israel), June 18, 2010, 4:45 AM.

My personal favorite came from an Israeli tour guide, who said, "Israelis very hospitable people. You coming here, we be happy to hospitalize you."! It goes to prove the adage, "A little knowledge is dangerous".

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