Tag: accents

Family Far and Wide

So I was at the ophthalmologist’s office, getting my yearly exam to make sure glaucoma hasn’t kicked in, or that my retina hasn’t detached (again).

In any case, the nurse looked at my chart and said, “Hey, we have the same last name.”

Now, the only people I’ve ever met with my last name are cousins or aunts or some other semi-immediate family member. So this was a little surprising.

The nurse made me go through my family history, and we discovered that we have the same great-grandfather (!). Yes, I too am impressed that I was able to remember the name of my great-grandfather. Try it sometime — it isn’t easy.

According to my subsequent Google research, the nurse and I are second cousins. She was California-born, which makes sense in that the largest population of Salvadorians (outsider of El Salvador, of course) is right here in Los Angeles. And she assumed, naturally, that I was also a SoCal native.

“No,” I said. “I’m from Wisconsin.”

Consider her mind blown.

Yes, the nurse was impressed that our family name had made it all the way to the American Midwest. But then she added that some of her cousins (my third cousins?) moved to Melbourne a decade ago.

“I talked to them on FaceTime a few weeks ago,” the nurse said. “They have these El Salvadorian kids who have thick Australian accents.”

Well… crikey.

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Later, I told my mom about running into my second cousin, the nurse. Mi madre really wasn’t that surprised.

“Your great-grandparents had eighteen children,” my mom said.

“I’m guessing they were very Catholic,” I said.

“Yes, so you were bound to run into a cousin someday.”

OK, that’s true. But I still thought it was kind of cool.

 


Accent on the X

I don’t have an exact source for this one, a sloppy exception to my usual sterling journalistic standards. The factoid appeared in one of those guy magazines – “Maximum Details of Stuff,” something like that. I only browsed through it because I was stuck in the dentist’s waiting room, so give me a break.

In any case, the magazine polled its readers (all red-blooded American males) to find out what they think is the sexiest foreign accent. To my surprise, most guys said Spanish. I guess there’s something about trilled R’s and stressed “ch” sounds that drive men wild.

Now, although this information might make recent immigrants feel better about themselves, it has limited relevance to me. The poll doesn’t say which accent American women find sexiest (my guess is Italian), and in any case, I’m married and couldn’t use the advantage even if it were relevant to my speech patterns.

The poll results don’t even help the women in my family. Most of them were raised in the Midwest like me, and they speak English in a flat cadence that is far removed from the sultry drawl of a Salma Hayek.

But as nice as it is that Hispanics can win some kind of popularity contest (for once), and at the risk of offending those readers who have the sexiest accent in America, I must disagree with the poll results. I mean, come on, what’s hotter than a British accent?

Compare Rachel Weisz with our friend Salma, above.

See what I mean? I thought so.

But regardless of what verbal tones and inflictions you prefer, let me call a truce and wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day. It’s the weekend for what we diplomatically call “romance,” but I think we all know what we’re really talking about. So stop reading this blog, grab your sweetie, and get to work.


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