What’s foreign to you?

Katie Paul writes:

One of the greatest things about digging (besides holding something that hasn’t seen the light of day in about 3000 years) is meeting people from all over the world and developing and understanding relationship with them.  And the way we all commonly develop relationships with new people in far away places is by simple conversation.  The conversations themselves are often the simple questions like, “what do you study?,” “what made you want to come here?,” and of course “where are you from?”

The last question may appear first when the other person has an accent or dialect unlike your own.  For instance, in Area Q we have some members with a British or South African dialect- and among those students from America there are those particularly taken with the English dialect unlike that of Midwestern America.  It’s true that within the United States there are certainly dialectical and accent difference from New York to Alabama to Minnesota.  But those people from the Midwest and East Coast, like many of my colleagues in Area Q, don’t consider themselves to have an accent at all– a “non-regional diction” if you will.  So when a team member from Britain or South Africa notices an American dialect, it’s strange to think of ourselves as the one with the “foreign accent.”

The concept of foreign is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but some American students have a much deeper interest in the British accent than “foreigners” do in the American accent. Maybe it’s movies or media but there has certainly been a fascination with the British accent floating around Area Q…


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