The Linguistic Perils of Travel

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Just back from a lovely family vacation in Scotland, hiking the northern islands of Orkney and Shetland. Met some wonderful people, ate some great food (really!), saw some remarkable neolithic sites, standing stones, dramatic cliffs . . .

It was a really, really bad idea.

You see, all that time I was also trying to bang (cajole, insinuate, bludgeon, etc) some of my Aloes lines into my head. I’m also, therefore, working on my rolling Africaans accent. I was beginning to get it: I love the rolling Rs, and I know I’m nailing some of the vowel shifts.

But all around me folks were speaking these marvelous, liquid Scottish accents—and actually, quite a variety of them: Highlands, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Birmingham(?!) . . . and the Orkney accent is something strange and special all by itself.

And, of course, the Scots also (often) roll their Rs. And some of the vowel shifts are the same . . . and some are not. Oh, dear.

I’m slowly working the voice in my head back toward South Africa. I think I may be somewhere off the coast of Spain . . .

But next week I’m spending in Beckett’s Ireland (with Sandbox Radio as part of the Beckett Fest). Mary, Mother of God, and all the saints preserve me!

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