Prior to my move, many of my colleagues had regaled stories of how an English accent would allow me to conquer the US, which seemed rather unlikely, as I should have imagined an English accent all to common over here. The reality of being a English person/ woman/ oddity over here has all sorts of joyous linguistic excitement though far beyond the appeal of accents.
My personal experience is that generally within LA there are so many Brits and it is so transient, welcoming many nations, that the accent whilst appealing to some is of little consequence. Use of language on the other hand provides much entertainment.
It is quite amazing the extent to which you can speak the same language and yet not understand each other. One of my favorite conversations was a convoluted affair of around five minutes, trying simply to reserve some monthly car parking and failing to gain understanding of what wanting to rent a car park space meant. Following a detailed description around buildings of many levels in which a person might pay a monthly fee to drive their vehicle in an: leave it in a designated spot, we established I should in fact be asking for a garage not car parking spaces. Nor forgetting the time I was trying to pay in Crate & Barrell (a lovely US furniture store for those not in the know) and spent some time asking for the till only to receive unusual looks in return, until finally someone said ‘oh you mean the cash desk’.
Another rather quaint story related to an American lady who thought she’d got more than she bargained for having been booked into the diary of an English CEO, since in America a diary specifically refers to ones personal thoughts and events as opposed to a work schedule. I explained in the UK your diary is your work schedule,
‘well thank goodness for that, so what do you call a personal diary?’
‘Well, a diary.’
And that is the joy of English English. So much of the understanding is via the context which can unintentionally cause some amusement.
To be fair the whole same word different pronunciation I myself can can get wrong when under pressure, having informed my brother I had appointed him ‘executor’ of my will using the wrong pronunciation. Although as I quite rightly pointed out, by the time he comes to review it I will be gone so executor in the wrong pronunciation perhaps wouldn’t be so bad (although I’m presuming he has no plans to finish me off – do you Bro?)
Where the accent comes alive is that no matter what you say, even when the odd profanity breaks ones lips (not I of course), rather than offended any American I have met so far is hugely entertained by it; in a shocked yet exhilirated kind of way. Indeed my new friends are encouraging of me departing a get together with a parting gesture along the lines of ‘I’m terribly sorry but you’re rather boring me now, so I’m going to leave’. The down side is, that should I ever actually wish to be blunt or rude chances are people will just slap me on the back and laugh in my face. I have such difficulty being taking seriously, no seriously!
I’ve now had rather enough of this now so I’m going. Good night.