Accents are like salt and pepper. Try to picture the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with everyone speaking in the same accent. It would no doubt lose its beauty.
There is a joke about us Chinese. A Chinese guy wanted to order some rice to his food in a restaurant. What he said to the waiter is:
– I would like to have some LICE.
It is nothing to be embarrassed about to have an accent. Even Americans and British people who both think their English is the best laugh at each other. I just want to make a point here that it is hard to image how strong influence we can get from our mother tongue.
So, what accents do Swedish people have? One fantastic example is the ambassador of Tele2, which is one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Sweden. It’s slogan is Born to be Cheap.
I did not understand why even when my Swedish friends tried to explain to me: “You see, Carmen, that is a sheep, that’s why they say born to be sheap.”
“But why does sheep have anything to do with cheap?”
“Yes, Carmen, sheep, sheap, something.”
Then I realized, he could not tell the differences between the “sh” and “ch”. No wonder my friends always said to me, “sheck it out”. I thought that was a slang that I did not know. It was in fact “check it out”!
We had a British teacher later on, in whose class we discussed the Swedish accent . He gave some examples and asked some Swedish students to read. Most of them failed to say “ch” if they didn’t really pay attention to the pronunciation … If you are a Swede who is reading my blog, try to say the following words:
chip, ship; cheat, sheet
Say the difference? If not, you have the Swedish accent, too.
By the way, I like the Swedish attitude towards humor: We don’t laugh at you; we laugh with you.