Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

I have a sort of linguistic question for you today.

If you have trouble understanding a person with a very thick accent, do you feel bad about it, and you apologise if you have to ask them to repeat things?

My answer:

First of all, in Polish we definitely don’t have such a variety of accents as you guys have in English. There are accents, dialects and stuff but the language is fairly universal and most peopleactually don’t even know the features of most of them unless they’re just into observing how different people speak. So, if someone speaks in Polish with an accent that I have some trouble understanding, and this person is Polish, I don’t really feel bad, I feel surprised and like “How come they talk like this their whole life?” or something. I listen to English every day, write in English and read English, but I’ve never been to an English-speaking country and I haven’t really had many conversations with English natives, so I don’t have much experience here. But yeah, I think I would feel bad. I’m normally not really a perfectionist, but I definitely am when it comes to languages, or some aspects of language learning, and I’d just feel bad about myself in a way I guess if I couldn’t figure out what someone’s saying to me. I also love accents, I love how rich English is with all the accents and dialects and everything, so I’d be frustrated if that were a significant barrier in communication for me and the person I’m talking with, even though I do know that there are still a fair bit of English accents that I don’t always understand even though I’m normally pretty good at figuring out accents or even mimicking them as for someone in whose language they almost don’t occur, Ithink. I’d also feel a bit bad for that person, I wouldn’t like them to feel that I am discriminating them in any way or something. And my social anxiety and generally anxiety in regard to communication would come up stronger probably. But I also love a language challenge so I would also appreciate a chance to learn something new and have a new experience as a result of such a communication barrier. When I was in Stockholm, I already knew earlier that people are pretty laid back in Sweden about accents and everyone talks with their own accent, it’s like there’s no actual standard version of Swedish unless you perhaps consider the Stockholm variant as such. But I was surprised how many different varieties of the same language I could hear. I also had a long conversation with a gem stones shop owner who was from Scania, I always have a bit of a trouble understanding people with a strong Scanian accent. It was difficult, and because of my anxiety a bit exhausting, but also very rewarding. The whole Stockholm trip was like that for me. And it was so interesting to hear all those different dialects, even though I think in English they are even richer and more diverse. SO how about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you ever talk to yourself?

My answer:

Of course I do! As one of my acquaintances once said: “It’s good to talk to yourself because then you can be sure that you are talking with an intelligent person”. 😀 I can only agree, plus it’s just very interesting, you can come to some very interesting conclusions while talking to yourself, and of course improve your language skills. It sometimes happens that I’m alone for the whole day or so, so then I at least talk to myself (or Misha) to make sure that next time I’ll have to talk to someone I’ll still know how to speak and my vocal cords won’t get too rusty. I’ve once read a story years ago about a monk who was an anchor living on the desert, not having contact with people at all, though it seemed more because of pride and haughtiness than being so very devout, anyway after all those years when he finally did meet another human being he as unable to speak because he simply didn’t know any longer how to do it. Don’t know if it’s inded possible, but it sounds likely so I’d rather avoid it myself, communication is already enough of a struggle for me. 😀 alking to yourself is also less stressful than talking to other people, and well just fun. What I really really really dislike though and can’t understand, and it just drives me crazy, is the connection people make between talking to yourself and being either mentally ill, or even delayed in intellectual development or something. I just DON’T get it! What does it have in common? I can appreciate that maybe sometimes when you’re delusional you make an impression on healthy people that you talk to yourself, or when for any other reason you don’t have full touch with reality, but lots of people seem to assume that anyone who talks to themselves is mentally ill. I know that nowadays it’s more of a joke for many people, like: “Oh, I’m talking to myself, I must be mental”, but while I’m all for handling things with humour and distance to oneself and the world, I think this can lead to many misunderstandings and it’s a very strange view completely lacking flexibility. I guess lots of people talk to themselves: extroverts – who are always happy to chat and can’t stop even when there’s no one to listen, as well as introverts, who, like me, often even prefer talking to themselves than to others and sometimes might find it helpful to make sense of what’s in their brains. Are they all freaks? On the other hand though, well since I live with mental illness myself maybe there is something true to it but I am just biased. 😀 Do you have any thoughts on this issue?

Anyways, I find talking to myself a highly useful and enjoyable activity, particularly when it comes to talking in other languages, since in my surroundings it’s quite hard to find anyone that would be willing to talk in Swedish for example. 😀

So how about you? Why do you do it, if you do? 🙂