L is trying to inspire me to be more of a wheeler-dealer, so I was looking around on facebook for some groups to network with, when I found this video. The writers get laughs off of foreign language stereotypes by placing them in the mouth of a character that’s an idiot. Aren’t culturally insensitive people funny? Or are we laughing because foreign people sound CRAZY?
Anyway, I’m posting the clip not because I think it’s funny (I don’t) but because it shows how little it takes to *sound* like your speaking a foreign language. So then why, then, don’t more people use that knowledge when speaking their second language? What I’m asking is, if it takes so little to sound like you’re speaking a foreign language, why are gringo accents so gringoriffic?
One time, in a French class I was teaching, for some reason I started doing an American accent for fun, and my students started cringing, saying “ok, stop!” and then asking me, “is that what we sound like?” Um YES. Then one of the girls asked, “so should we try to speak with a French accent, or is it…” Um, YES. Yes, you should try not to sound awful.
Apparently, the students were under some delusion that trying to *sound* French while speaking French was making fun of French people, and therefore disrespectful. Actually, I think the real reason is that they were high school kids, and it’s not cool to try all the time. In any case, I broke them of that delusion by speaking gringofied French to them. Who knew.