This morning, in the car on the way back from the supermarket, Boy #2 was doing his best to send me crazy. He had decided he was going to mimic the tannoy announcements he had heard in Sainsbury's by booming instructions at me from the back seat with his hands over his mouth - thus making his pronouncements impossible to understand. Our conversation went something like this:
Boy #2: "Calling all..mimm..ens"
Me: "I beg your pardon?"
Boy #2: "I said, 'calling all cmirmbintes.' "
Me: "I can't understand you, Boy #2. Take your hands away from your mouth..."
Boy #2: "No! That's the point! 'Calling all snutegetmrssns...' "
I never did get to the bottom of what he was trying to say. But it put me in mind of this post about children's accents over at A Modern Mother's blog a couple of days ago, and also got me thinking about something that happened last week...
I was sitting in the doctor's surgery with the boys when a woman of about my age came in with her mid-teen son. They chatted to each other in a mix of German and English whilst they were waiting, and it became clear that whilst she was German / Austrian / Swiss or similar, he spoke English with a very middle class accent.
Until, that is, his mobile rang.
Then he had a conversation with a friend in what is sometimes called Hackney Patois, his mum sitting next to him and stoically ignoring the whole thing.
Something tells me that if my boys spend their teen years in London this may well be my future. Good god. I can't wait, really...
For those of you who've never had the pleasure of hearing Hackney Patois, according to the Urban Dictionary, it is the result of a combination of East London cockney, Afro-Carribbean, general chavspeak and Hip-Hop slang. Essentially, it's the next step on from Ali G.
Check here if you want to know more...