Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way people react to hearing their mother tongue spoken with an accent. The connection makes sense, but it is quite interesting regardless. While we hear people speaking in English with an accent quite often, I think other nations are not used to the butchering of their language. I don’t think I ever correct foreign people’s pronunciation of words in English. I am just quite happy that they are trying and can normally understand what they are saying. In Prague, I was rarely corrected, but most of the time, they understood what I was trying to say without correct pronunciation. They are so used to foreigners, that I think they are just surprised to hear Czech coming out of our mouths. In the countryside of the Czech Republic, I am corrected and they don’t really understand if I mispronounce words. This feature seems to grow stronger the farther east I travel. In Hungary, citizens would not understand unless the word was correctly pronounced. I did not even try to speak Hungarian. In Bulgaria, everyone in the program corrects poorly pronounced Bulgarian. I know that it is a learning environment, but they seem to guard what would be the purity of their oral language quite often. When we are chatting in English, everyone mispronounces words, but the students from BC don’t really notice and don’t really care. It is really highlighted in names. Lots of people have very difficult names to pronounce in English, and are often angry when they are mispronounced. I never correct the way my name is pronounced, even though they don’t really do the English swallowed “r”.
I am so lucky that I speak English. It is the default language here (if Bulgarian fails). Other than a group of Russians, the second language tends to be English. Bulgarian classes are swell, and I really feel like I could learn a lot of I stayed here for a whole semester. However, I am quite excited to return to Prague, and continue my studies at Charles University. I am going to miss the Slavic alphabet, but I can’t wait to get back to ř.

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