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Manipulating My Mother Tongue






C O N T E N T S

Preface. 4

Manipulating My Mother Tongue. 5

Is Russia the Better Brand?. 7

Environmental Apocalypse Now.. 9

Trouble in the Family. 12

Marriage for love. 14

No sex please, were parents. 16

Russian Culture Goes Pop. 19

Aids and our Family Shame. 21

All the experts admit that we should legalise drugs. 24

Advertising can sell you anything. 26

Men Cash in. 28

The Pursuit of Power Isnt Pretty. 31

Slavery in Our Times. 33

Get in shape and look sharp, lecturers told. 35

Beating the Bullies. 38

Meet the Burglar 41

What Can We Do to Beat the Menace of Child Sex Abusers?. 43

Binge Drinking is Creating Wild West Towns. 46

Shopaholic? Heres How You Can Save Thousands. 48

A Surrogates Story. 51

Dont Leave it to the Doctors. 53

Its all a Conspiracy. 55


P R E F A C E

 

This Guide is intended for the students who master their English as second foreign language on the advanced level in accordance with both the requirements of the Standard Curriculum Second Foreign Language (English, German, French, Italian) and the latest Educational Standards of the basic module Practical Course of the Second foreign language, part Culture of foreign language communication.

The Guide contains twenty-two texts from English and American newspapers, magazines and web-sites. Each text is followed by a Language and Culture Focus section which comments on the key-words of the text and provides certain sociocultural information; sentences for the translation from English into the native language and a set of comprehension questions which enable students to discuss the texts, express their own points of view, make presentations. These activities agree with the principle of sociocultural, communicative and cognitive learning approaches and enhance the students competences.

The Guide can be used both in the classroom and for extensive reading autonomously.

 

 


Manipulating My Mother Tongue



By Malcolm Beith

 

I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Or rather, I was born with a British accent in my mouth. Actually, to be honest, I wasnt with the accent, I developed it while spending my formative years at a British boarding school. So I lied. But thats the point: here in America, it doesnt really matter whether Im telling the truth. When I speak, most Americans believe me. And its all thanks to my British accent.

Americans have always been suckers for an accent, none more so than a British one. If I had a dime for every time a Yank has told me that I should play mine up, because chicks dig it, Id have, well, quite a few pounds sterling. But its the assumed wisdom of my words that never ceases to astound me. Once when I was in college, a friend actually pulled me out of a conversation I was having with some other students. Malcolm, she whispered, From now on, you really have to preface everything you say with I believe or I think. Apparently, my peers took my wacky drunken theories as gospel, simply because of my accent.

This acceptance of all things said in British translates elsewhere. Why do Americans love Tony Blair, ask friends back home? Because he seems so smart because he speaks proper. Brits also get away with murder or at least adulterous solicitation here. The fact that Hugh Grant was busted with an L.A. hooker didnt matter to a lot of people, says one friend of mine. He had that accent, so the Yanks still thought he was cute.

This is all quite liberating for us Brits. I can sprinkle my conversation with relatively vulgar Anglicisms like wanker, bugger or tosser and still get the same response from American women That is sooo cute! (Who cares what it means?) If I tell a joke in British, people will often laugh even if they dont get it they know that Brit equals wit.

What I love most, though, is that there really is no such thing as a British accent. The queen speaks her way, Brummies theirs, a Mancunian sounds nothing like a Liverpudlian, and Geordies sound more West Indian than West Country. Its said that in one Yorkshire town, two very distinct tongues are separated only by the main road. Britain, according to linguists, has one of the most diverse dialect pools on earth. And Americans simply cant get their heads around this. To them, traditional BBC English is British.



Actually, I must confess, I lied again in that last paragraph. What I really love most is that even though Ive lived here for nine years running now and my accent has faded to the point of no return, I can still play off my speech. Unless I am introduced as British, many Americans dont even assume I am anymore. (Particularly if they know someone with a real British accent.) But, detecting just a hint of Brit, or nothing a peculiar expression I use, they often ask me if Im from somewhere weird-like Canada? Ive actually found that being a mystery is far more fun. At a party recently, I decided to revisit a joke I used to play when I had a strong boarding-school accent and clueless Americans still asked me where I was so obviously from. Intrigued by my peculiar patter, a young lady took the bait.

You sound You have an accent Where are you?

China, dahling, I informed her, in my best impersonation of BBC English.

Really, how interesting, she replied, without a hint of sarcasm.

By Jove, I thought. Ive still got it.

 

Top Nigel Norrington Camera Press Retna Everett

 

 



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