Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down

Mimicry

28 February 2012 by Nicholas in Personal

I have a habit, I don’t know how conscious it is, of picking up people’s accents and sayings when i spend a lot of time around them. My recent foray into working at a bank has left me with the habit of calling women “love.” Now this is something that I have never really intended to do and I used to bristle against when I heard people do it. One of my formative memories is hearing a woman complain to a (cold-) caller on the phone calling her “love.” She told him it was patronising. I started doing it because everyone around me did and because it was easier than remembering everybody I had to deal with’s name.

Previously I picked up the habit of calling people “mate.” Wayne is fond of telling me that it doesn’t sound like me and sounds like an affectation. I think much the same when he uses the word “dude.” I am going to try to ease it out of my language though, I don’t particularly like it and I am making an effort to adapt my speech pattern. I want to be more proper and I want to be more polite. I have my reasons, partially I have decided that I don’t communicate as effectively as I might.

Recently my dad took offence when I said “cheers” to him as he passed me something. He thought I said “chiz,” which i hadn’t, but it is another example of me coarsening my language in mimicry of those around me. There is no reason for me to say cheers and I should be looking at using other phrases that suit me better and also get across what I want to say better.

I swear too much. Swearing at all is wasted apart from in moments of anger and a lack of ability to articulate caused by a rush of blood to the brain. I’m looking at cutting back on that too. I have a good vocabulary, it can be used more and I can be funnier and more cutting without being lazy.

There are also problems with my pronunciation. Mainly I am too quiet, but that is getting better. There are also estuary vowels and lazy moments of dropping Ts and letting the endings of world go missing. I am reminded of Tony Blair and his rather fake blokeish act. It doesn’t suit me.