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Monday, July 2, 2012

Me? No, I Don't Have an Accent; or, I'll Need You to Enunciate


I worked this weekend, a time when the temperature was in the mid-90s and the humidity was 80%.  Did I mention that the job was outside and that I wore a black skirt and a shirt with button-down sleeves?  That's right, ladies and gentlemen, this can only mean two things:  one, that today's post is a re-post (for which you have my apologies) and two, that there is a post in the near future in which the word "swamp butt" or a variation thereof will figure prominently.


You're welcome.


So do we have time for a quick story?



At one time, I was a court reporter, one of those intense-looking women pounding out, phonetically, everything said in the courtroom.

That’s the key: phonetically.

And I was good. But there came a day when I came across a line in a transcript that I was working on that stumped me.

The deponent said she had been coming back from an appointment, that she had just gotten – and here I wrote “P S D S”.

P.S.D.S.


Oh, crap.

PSDS?

PSDS.

PSDS. I rolled that son of a gun around in my mouth for a good hour. I checked the Physicians Desk Reference. I called the library. I called my friends. "You ever had P.S.D.S.? You know anyone who has?"

I had to have this word; and eventually I did what is, for court reporters, a last resort.

I called the deponent.

“Hello?”

“Hi. This is Pearl. Your court reporter?”

There was a pause.

“Hello?”

"Sorry. Who is this?"

“This is Pearl. I was your court reporter yesterday afternoon?”

Another pause. Apparently she wasn’t expecting me.

“Ma’am, I just have one question about your testimony. You mentioned that you had had an appointment on the day in question for PSDS. Do I have that right?”

“Oh,” she said, warming. “Yes. Yes, that’s right.”

“So, um,” I said, fishing, “Does that hurt, PSDS?”

“Oh, no, not really,” she said. “Just a quick pop. The earrings just get shot right in. It heals in no time.”

PSDS?

Pee-essed Eee-yahs!

Pierced ears!




Did I mention the woman had been raised near Boston?

38 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Snort.

TexWisGirl said...

OMG!!!

L-Kat said...

Ha! I love accents.

vanilla said...

No, you did not mention that; but we guessed it immediately.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Brilliant! When I lived in Boston (417 years ago), I recorded a report of a meeting with a Mrs. Hahn and gave it to a secretary to transcribe. She gave it back to me with Mrs. Hahn's name (which I had said about 100 times) typed as Mrs. Horn every time. I had to explain to the secretary that I was not from Boston and when I said Hahn, I meant Hahn.

By the way, I have one PSD.

Lynn said...

Bostonians put as many extra syllables in words as we Southerners do. Maybe almost as many. :)

Shelly said...

Ha!!! Accents cling to me like the funnies on Silly Putty. I unconsciously start to sound like whomever I am talking with. Ugh.

fmcgmccllc said...

Okay, I gotta ask, just how did you pronounce this during the conversation?

Pearl said...

:-)

Oh, and fmcgmccllc, when I called her? I said P S D S. I honestly thought she was using an acronym for some medical condition. :-)

Roly Clu said...

LOL would have had me too :)

Simply Suthern said...

I think it would be fun to have an accent. Everyone I work with does.

This week when I think Swamp Butt I think national pandemic and Gold Bond shortages.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh,how I lurrvvve dialects and accents! Could have easily majored in it, methinks. Plus, I speak Pittsburgh-ese. Yinzers know what dat is, right? (I, for one, am looking forward to 'swampbutt.')

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh,how I lurrvvve dialects and accents! Could have easily majored in it, methinks. Plus, I speak Pittsburgh-ese. Yinzers know what dat is, right? (I, for one, am looking forward to 'swampbutt.')

joeh said...

All right, you made me spit out my mouthful of coffee!

My son is in Mass. and I tease him about living in a state that only uses 25 letters in the alphabet.

cranky

joeh said...

Waiting with baited breath for the swamp-butt post.

Stephen Hayes said...

Didn't see that coming. But a Boston accent can seem indecipherable at times.

Joanne said...

Oh, groan. I had to say it several times to get the "Boston" accent in my head.

Roshni said...

OMG!!! Never in a million years would I have guessed!!

CarrieBoo said...

I love This Old House for hearing that accent. How funny!

Laraine Eddington said...

PSDS is a medical condition. Especially when you let your 11 year old friend pierce your ears with a needle from her Mom's sewing basket, sterilized with whiskey...but I digress.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Remember when James Bond movies starred PS Brosnan?

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Swampy! Second time round, I still laughed! Roth x

the walking man said...

I wonder if Edgar Guest was a court reporter part time while he covered the Police Beat in Detroit in 1915?

I have a favorite piece of his written phonetically also titled HOME. It is one of the few pieces i have never been able to read in front of an audience and make it sound right.

Home
by
Edgar Guest

It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home,
A heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye sometimes have t' roam
Afore ye really 'preciate the things ye lef' behind,
An' hunger fer 'em somehow, with 'em allus on yer mind.
It don't make any differunce how rich ye get t' be,
How much yer chairs an' tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain't home t' ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o' wrapped round everything.

Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it's home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it;
Within the walls there's got t' be some babies born, and then
Right there ye've got t' bring 'em up t' women good, an' men;
And gradjerly as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn't part
With anything they ever used—they've grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an' if ye could ye'd keep the thumb-marks on the door.

Ye've got t' weep t' make it home, ye've got t' sit an' sigh
An' watch beside a loved one's bed, an' know that Death is nigh;
An' in the stillness o' the night t' see Death's angel come,
An' close the eyes o' her that smiled, an' leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an'when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an' sanctified;
An' tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories
O' her that was an' is no more—ye can't escape from these.

Ye've got t' sing an' dance fer years, ye've got t' romp an' play,
An' learn t' love the things ye have by usin' 'em each day;
Even the roses 'round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they 'come a part o' ye, suggestin' someone dear
Who used t' love 'em long ago, an' trained 'em jes t' run
The way they do, so's they would get the early mornin' sun;
Ye've got t' love each brick an' stone from cellar up t' dome:
It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home.

JeannetteLS said...

When I was in the hospital in Dahch'stah, I asked when the nurse was coming around with the shots.

"The what?" the young woman asked.

"SHAHTS. I need a SHAHT in my arm." I was very precise.

She laughed hysterically and said, "Ya get a Shought in yuh ahm. Ya wayah shats in the summah."

Thank you for reminding me...

Gigi said...

I would have NEVAH guessed!

But then I'm Southern. I don't speak "Bostonian".

Fragrant Liar said...

Baaahahahaha. So needed that today. I need to get some new PSDS.

I Wonder Wye said...

Oh my...and people think Southerners talk funny...

Eva Gallant said...

Priceless!

Pat Tillett said...

HA! That is a good one Pearl! Those folks up there don't just have an accent, they speak another language.

jenny_o said...

Heh - everybody thinks it's everyone else who talks funny :)

Murr Brewster said...

One of my best friends Linder is from Reveah, Mass. Every time she drops an R (an ah), it shows up somewhere later in the sentence.

Symdaddy said...

Just a little snippet of info re. Boston and the Bostonians:

Did you know, and I'm sure you didn't, that Boston English is probably the nearest thing to English spoken by the original Mayflower crew and passengers?

NellieVaughn said...

Oh my sweet lord. I would have never guessed. The Boston accent sure is lovely.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

A southern summertime tourist visiting rural Northwest Ontario once asked us for 'DEEREKSHEENS' and 'WHILI'ZZAATTITT' IFF'N we knew 'WHERAABUTTS' they could 'GITTAKUPPLA SAMMIDGES and a GOOD KUPPATAAY.

It really is a wonder North Americans can communicate at all. Interestingly, that same incident raised my awareness of dialect; It is kind of weird, some of us seem to adapt dialect to the people being spoken to --without even realizing it. ":))

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I just burst out laughing. And now people are laughing at me. Again.

Bad woman. Bad! :)

Diane said...

We were in a restaurant in France and the waitress asked us to just read from the menu because she 'just loved our Canadian accents!' Wha?
I can usually follow people speaking English, no matter the accent, except for one time in Scotland. I swear he wasn't using real words . . .

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

*groan*
Too funny.

Pat said...

Could be a whole new way of teaching British actors to 'speak American'.