Author: Keziah Kersey

Why Americans fall head-over-heels for foreign accents

Hundreds of ethnicities prowl our halls. Although many natives of Utah claim a lack of culture, it is unquestionable that our campus is a sea of diversities. Along with the spectrum of different backgrounds and languages come hundreds of different accents. Though most foreign students are unaware of the ‘sexy factor’ of their accents, they can be sure, whether they are a young Russian female or a strapping lad from Belgium, that once they open their mouths, heads will turn. Now, it is ridiculous to believe that the way you pronounce the word “tomato” can turn someone on. Yet, according to acclaimed writer Kathryn Williams, that’s exactly right. In her excerpt, “Oui, Y’all: Why Accents Are So Attractive,” she clearly outlines why humans (specifically Americans) view accents as such a ‘turn-on.’ “A lot of it,” Williams writes, “has to do with exoticism. We’re intrigued by that which is different from ourselves, charmed by the unfamiliar.” Although this seemingly knowledgeable writer provides a good answer, this fails to answer why we find some accents attractive and others irritating. She replies to this by stating the following: “The media, in all its forms, plays a large role in creating these accent associations. … South Africans, you can thank Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond. Spaniards, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz will gladly accept your gratitude for making Spain even sexier. Germans, you...

Read More

‘I hate the French’ Learning to overlook stereotypes

Whilst waiting at a bus-stop on a little Island off the coast of Morocco, I was approached by a middle-aged American man sporting a Red Sox T-shirt. He heard my British accent and we immediately struck up a conversation concerning England. The man raved for a good ten minutes about the beauty and culture of England, not stopping long enough to notice my bemused expression. As soon as he learned that I had spent the last year in France, however, his expression transformed from a gleeful grin to a disgusted grimace. As I started describing my experience to him, he cut across me- loudly and boldly proclaiming: “I do not like France in the slightest! England I will visit, but never again France. The people are snobby and rude – and I hate them all!” I was stunned. Never before had I been so offended. A barrage of hateful retorts surged through my head, but I reminded myself that he was simply ill-informed. I finally settled on taking a more passive approach. “Where in France did you go?” I gently asked him. “Paris,” he responded, nose still wrinkled. I took a breath. Choosing my words carefully, looked him dead in the eyes. I explained that the French are not unlike any other nation. Every person is different, and though he may have found a higher concentration of rude people...

Read More

French food: fowl or foul?

Having spent the previous year in France, I encountered many less-than-appetizing looking dishes. One that particularly stuck out in my memory was a salad, but not just any salad. This was an exploded pigeon-gut salad. As I reached for my fork, I surveyed my platter with disgust. How could anybody eat this? As I scanned the room, however, I noticed everyone was happily tucking in to their delicious pigeon-gut salad. I cringed. France is famous for many things, and it is those things that entice us to visit and experience this explosion of culture. When asked what three things she associated with France, freshman Brooklyn Venturella responded with the Eiffel Tower, wine and – you guessed it – food. But is this famed nourishment really as good as we all claim it to be, especially when half the delicacies are things most Americans would turn up their noses at? Such things as foie gras (duck or goose liver) and frog legs are on menus in most refined restaurants. Many students intend to participate in a study abroad program and a choice destination is France. Will these studious youngsters accustomed to their run-of-the-mill steak and fries experience culture shock as they delve into a lovely fish-eye soup? Fortunately, nobody has to do this alone. Here are some guidelines to aid with the adjustment: Be prepared for something out of your...

Read More