Faking Foreign Accents: a social experiment

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today after watching Megamind at Savoy with a bunch of friends (hilarious movie btw – you must watch), me and R-underscore decided to annoy everyone by faking Cockney accents throughout the rest of the day. We were pretty convincing too.

Cockney is the type of almost indecipherable-to-the-average-srilankan-ear English that some Londoners use. Of course, we digressed somewhere in the middle and the accent tended to fluctuate between Cockney, Scottish and the queen’s accent. And maybe some Steve Irwin esque Australian thrown in.

But it was so much fun and so hard to let go towards the end of the day. A golden moment was when we walked through Galle Face talking about how “the natives appear to be performing some sort of homo erotic chanting ritual, old chap” (translation: “those boys on the beach are singing songs in our direction like a bunch of retards”).
Sometimes the accents transcended beyond our fathoming.

R-underscore: Shlwoar.. <an attempt at saying something in a strong accent>
Me: What did you just say?
R-underscore: I have no fucking idea.

Anyway it reminded me of this other time when me and a friend went around faking british accents to punk people around us and see if they bought it. They did. And the results from our experiment were unnerving.

People are so nice to you if you’re a foreigner. It’s just not fair.
I remember asking this guy who worked at the Cinnamon G, where the washroom was, on an ordinary day without an accent. And he just pointed while walking away.

With a british accent, though, a Cinnamon G guy takes the trouble to get out from behind his counter and physically show me the way to the washroom, and after we came out, he smiled obligingly, asking where we’re from and how our stay was etcetera. My ass almost filed a restraining order against his kissing.

Without the accent, it’s hard to get a seat at a popular restaurant down the Galle Face stretch of road. With it, two men came up and almost fell over themselves to get us to stay, promising a table in 3 minutes at most, all along with facial expressions that so tragically screamed ‘we’re so sorry for keeping you waiting cuz your britishness makes you worthy of owning any table in the room cuz we’re total tools who are trained to worship foreigners in the time that we are not treating people of our own country like poop.’

Without the accent, those ladies in those high end shops with pretty designs but stupidly absurd price tags, see you walk in and go back to reading their magazines like ‘k wodeva, luzr.’ But when they heard us saying ‘I feel like a cuppa tea now, with a spot of lemon! Mighty ho!’ their ears prick up and they rushed to our sides, with that annoying self deprecating wide smile, and sickeningly obliging mannerisms (and I am aware ‘mighty ho!’ doesn’t even make any sense, but string together random words and say it with a strong enough Cockney accent and you can make it sound like foreign slang.. eg. don’t be a bloody burger dingo!).

Why are people so super nice to british visitors.
They’re the reason I cry into my hands when I feel the need to pee when at Crescat and find no water in the toilets. Really, would it be so bad to have both tissue and water at places like these?

I think maybe it’s cuz they’re all believed to be rich and people feel being nice to them will earn them a big tip. I’m hoping it’s that and not because the losers who worship the ground they walk on don’t really think they’re superior to locals or something. It sucks either way. I guess it’s part of the whole tourism thing right? Come visit Sri Lanka, the land of the friendly! (If you already live here though, screw you.)

  1. Sha says:

    Hmm..well, I’ll have to try my little Gordie accent next time around at Cinnamon G.!

  2. ConcernedMe says:

    I don’t get how you can pull this off? Don’t you look like a Sri Lankan (I mean, with brown skin and all)?

  3. dee says:

    omg so funny “. My ass almost filed a restraining order against his kissing.”

    hmm this “accent for service” is new for me. let me try eet! 😀 ps- LOVE how you write.

  4. When I used to watch Mind your lang when I was really small when this guy Sid talks I used to be like O_o all I hear was a random jib jabber. xD

    lol I wonder how they would react to an American or French accent.

  5. Jack Point says:

    Its probably a combination of “I think maybe it’s cuz they’re all believed to be rich and people feel being nice to them will earn them a big tip.” Plus maybe a bit of the other (think they’re superior to locals or something.)

  6. Ahamed Nizar says:

    Thats why I get service where ever I go. I have a polished accent and that puts people off. They must have thought that you were Maldivian and they’re quite easy if you ask me 😛
    Joke Joke.
    But please demonstrate your accent to me tomorrow 😛

  7. Gehan says:

    hahaha social experiment ftw! i cannot believe u actually pulled this off.. jolly good i say!

    this reminds me of one of my friends in india. we were in goa and some of the clubs didn’t let in locals, can you believe it. so this dude, who’s rather dark skinned even for an indian, imitates a jamaican accent and tries to get in.

    total fail. but man we ripped him for months after that.. lol..

  8. crystal says:

    this sure is true. people are uber nice and friendly once they learn you ain’t a local. awesome experimentezad!

  9. Sarah says:

    I agree. One time, my friends and I faked accents at this eating place and everyone was like ‘omg foreign kids, we have to treat them like royalty!’. Needless to say, it was odd.

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