Monday, September 29, 2008

A response

I thought I would make a new post to respond to a comment left in my last post.

I had posted this: "
I'm Scottish, but due to moving around a lot when I was young I have an English accent. I don't like my accent at all - this is not to say that I think there is anything wrong with being English, but I'm Scottish, and it bugs me that I always sound like a visitor to my own country. "

I dithered about posting this in the first place, because I was anxious that it would come off in a bad light.

Kirsty's comment reads as follows - and I would like to say a thank you to her for posting. I would rather someone posted their opinion and gave me the opportunity to clarify something I've posted, than they walk away thinking I'm narrow-minded.

"I would just like to point out that lots of people without Scottish accents actually like to consider themselves to live here, and not just visitors, but ingrained attitudes like that certainly make us feel less than welcome and remind us that some people are making judgements about us as soon as we speak."

I feel we are perhaps coming from the same angle, however I struggle to write with clarity on an issue that is quite an emotive one for me. I, as you, are aware of the judgements that are occasionally made as soon as I open my mouth.

However, that is not say I make those same judgements on people, and perhaps my choice of words made it appear otherwise. (I love to post my knitting life on my blog, but don't profess to being a 'Writer')

Perhaps a little more information about my past would be useful; When at school in England I was bullied for being Scottish, when I moved to Scotland I was bullied for being English.

It can be tough to feel that you don't 'fit' and so, from a young age I have longed for a Scottish accent so that I could 'fit in' with my family - who all sound Scottish. I think it is natural to want to have an identifying accent with your family and home country. Moving around a lot (inside and outside the UK) in my life has left me feeling that I have no 'home' and so my accent is one thing I feel that places me.

So for me, it is about my identity with my family/Scotland, and my struggles to come to terms with this.

I have never felt that someone without a Scottish accent shouldn't
"...consider themselves to live here, and not just [a] visitor ...". Glasgow in particular is a diverse city, with many, many people from all over the world living here, and this is one of the reasons I love living here.

Because of my experiences, I feel that I am more aware of the judgements that can be made on anyone who doesn't 'sound' like those around them, whether they sound English or Scottish (or Irish or Welsh for that matter). I've been at the receiving end of many hurtful comments in my life.

I certainly don't make that judgement myself with people, and I'm quite worried that it would come across that way in my blog.

OK, I've typed, and retyped, deleted and edited! I do hope that this hasn't come across as defensive, or negative. I'm a bit upset, so perhaps I shouldn't post quite yet, but I'm not going to be able to do anything else today with this in my mind. At the moment it's reading a bit like 'A Statement' or something, but I would rather just post it than say nothing at all.


tigerlilith said...

just wanted to say that i (as a resident "visitor" to scotland!) would never have taken your comment to be judgemental about those of us with "other" accents.
my mum was born in scotland but has been living elsewhere since the 60s, and still has her scottish accent - & i'm pretty sure she's worked hard to keep it, because the link to her country, her history & her family is important to her. on the other hand, there's me - not scottish by birth but living in scotland for the past 9 years. i don't see myself as a visitor but don't see myself as scottish either - & i started to lose my "home" accent within about a year of moving here. i'm kind of disappointed that linguistically, i'm no longer recognisable as being from my "homeland", so i can understand where you're coming from - i've now got a weird hybrid accent that seems to be completely un-placeable, so no one really knows where i'm from until i tell them, which makes me feel quite disconnected from my own history at times.
don't stress about the comment - it sounds like a simple misunderstanding & i think your explanation should have cleared things up!

Kirsty said...

Thank you for responding, I'm sorry that my comment upset you and that I ended up being so snippy. I think you just touched a raw nerve which, judging from your experiences, you probably understand. It does sound as though we are both coming from the same side but sadly I hear quite a lot of negative comments towards those who were not born in Scotland, and particularly towards English people, and I assumed this was what you meant and I am sorry for that. No one should be made to feel awkward or ashamed of their accent. Again, sorry to have upset you.

TangledFrog said...

Very well-said, Elaine. Although I am not Scottish by birth, I have lived here only 3 years and must say that I truly feel more at home here than anywhere else I lived in my 40 years. What strikes me is that I will never sound like I am from here, which I suppose is fitting. However, I'm hoping to be granted the privilege of living in Scotland long-term (forever?) and I know I will always sound like a tourist. Although this bothers me only a teeny bit, I can certainly understand why a Scot such as yourself would prefer a Scottish accent.

Flavaknits said...

Ah ken weel, hen!
I got a hard time at school for sounding posh (ME!)- one learns to adapt ones accent at times.
And as someone who has family all over the UK, I "tone" my accent to what ever part of Scotland/UK I'm in.
My Aunt and Uncle moved to Wales 50 years ago and picked up the Welsh accent - but they still thought they sounded Scottish, we never told them lol.
You've got a fine accent - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Twelfthknit said...

I understand completely - I had the same experience as you. And even now, when I apparently do sound Scottish (!) I had a hard time when I was working in Glasgow for the last few years. Scottish I may be, but I didn't sound like 'their' kind of Scottish.

Anonymous said...

Hello this was wildly emotive to me then a few years ago I thought fuck it ! Basically born in SA came to Scotland when I was 9 years old. My accent was always a sore point and I was always being judged for being English. Or I'd have to go into a long winded explanation about being from SA and that was simply awful as immediately people would start being very nice to me and telling me all about their relatives who had emigrated to SA in the height of Apartheide with out a care for the the political situation. All completely complicated by the only relative we had in Scotland was a great aunt who was absolutely lovely but a founding member of the SNP! I made a documentary about this and then did 3 years of therapy - now I think people just wouldn't dare comment on my accent. But I do fantasise about living in some enormous multicultral city like NY, london or sydney...