Stories about accent

If you want a job in British banking, you must get rid of your brown shoes

Britain’s love for tradition is well known. From retaining the monarchy, even if just as a very expensive figurehead, to maintaining an all-white dress code during Wimbledon, Britain manages to hold on to some of its cherished traditions in an otherwise fast changing world. Test cricket still enjoys primacy in England, even as the rest of the world has embraced T20. Evening tea, the Royal Ascot horse race, the Queen’s Guard, and the iconic black taxis in London are part of a long list of lovable traditions that endure. While these are traditions that are usually seen in a positive light, ...

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Yorkshire: Where trays are ‘chrays’ and water is ‘wa-er’

One day, on our way home from school, my son asked me why English boys pronounce jacket potato as ‘jakei po-A-o.’ I didn’t have an appropriate, grammatical explanation for this very rational question. However, what I do know now is that north east England is famous for its English accent and is commonly referred to as the “drop T area”. Locals here conveniently forget to pronounce the alphabet ‘T’ while conversing. So, words such as ‘bottle’ become ‘bo—el’ and water become ‘wa—er’. Albeit, this might sound entertaining and funny, it can be a real nuisance for immigrants like myself. When I ...

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The curious case of an American cousin

Imagine you’re the parent of a Pakistani teenager. Focus on the last word there, which signifies rebellion, obnoxiousness and other ‘growing up’ clichés. Who do you blame when your child acts out? TV? Their friends? Aaj kal ka zamana? But not once will you say “Stop acting like the goray children do”. Goray children – welcome to the world of immigrant parents. There’s enough talk of Pakistani immigrants to amass a small library – from ABCDs (American-Born Confused Desi) to terrorists in Britain, from the Green Card queues to the Canadian cold.  But that’s not what’s bothering me. As I write ...

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