Tag Archives: newfie

Where did you get that accent?

Accents are really funny things.  Even a small country like England will have very different accents depending on whether you come from the South, close to London or up in the Midlands.

Canada is the same – especially with the Maritimes.  When I first came to Canada I kept asking people if they came from Ireland.  They were puzzled and replied “No – I come from Newfoundland.”  Well – they sounded very Irish to me!
newfie joke

Sometimes however accents can really surprise you.  I was strolling around the market in Jodhpur, India a couple of years ago.  Narrow lanes filled with people, noises, smells, shouting and yet somehow a harmony throughout the whole thing.

Jodphur market 2

Naturally being a group of North American tourists we were prime targets for wily salespeople and after a week or so in India we were all becoming a bit immune to this.  But then I was approached by a young girl with literally hundreds of bead necklaces offering a handful of these for a few rupees – next to nothing in our money.   She had such a sweet smile and although the other ladies in our group waved her away with a smile I weakened and looked at her beads.  They were rather pretty.  A lot like many of the African beads that would be sold in the markets of Swaziland where I had made my home before coming to Canada.  So therefore they were not a novelty to me. But she was persistent and kept smiling.

Then she starting speaking and I stopped in my tracks.  My goodness me – was that a tinge of Yorkshire accent that I was detecting?  Or could it be Manchester?  How very strange!

“Where are you from?” I asked – which was a bit of a stupid question seeing as she was selling beads in a market in Jodhpur dressed in a kurti.  Really Lesley – sometimes I wonder.

But she gave me a dimpled smile and said (with that characteristic Indian head bobble) “I come from right here in Jodhpur, Ma’am”.

But I wasn’t satisfied and wanted to dig further.  I asked her if she had ever been to England – no she hadn’t.  Perhaps she had an English teacher at school.  She had never been to school (broke my heart).  Eventually I asked her who had taught her to speak English as I thought this would give me a clue.

“Why, Ma’am,” she answered laughing “I learnt as a small child from speaking to the tourists”.  Well I never.  Bright as a button and never a day’s schooling.  What a shame.

I happily handed over a bunch of rupees and in return received 10 bead necklaces and then 2 extra because I was “so kind”.  I still wear them today and often think of this merry little girl and hope she is able to make a future for herself.  She deserves it.
jodphur bead girl

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