Women Who Travel Podcast: The Innate Beauty of Accents, with Lake Bell

LB: Okay.

LA: … it’s the silent G I think is a lot of what always catches my ear. You have an, uh, relationship to a language from growing up or, you know, from family members or f- friends or something that you get like a Spidey-sense when you hear it. And if I’m walking-

Lake Bell: Yes.

LA: … down the street, uh, my ears will always pick up the Turkish people-

LB: Yeah [laughs].

LA: … and I won’t notice anyone else.

LB: Yeah, so you’re laser focused. Yeah.

LA: Yeah.

LB I think that’s really interesting. I think the- the Gs, that’s… Okay. Yeah, there- there are things like, you know, my stepmother, she hailed from Philadelphia, so her whole family had those Philadelphia, um, like they say wooder instead of water, so wooder. And that oo, that little sound for me, I’m like, I can spot that, you know, I could be like reading, texting, listening to music and I can hear it, [laughs] you know?

LA: Yeah.

LB: And I’m like, “Oh, you Philly?” You know, like immediately.

LA: [laughs]

LB: Uh, “What part of Philly you from,” you know? So then, you know, uh, same with, you know, sometimes when people are trying to kind of hide their sound. Like especially in- in the UK when they’re like, their feigning a little bit more southern and posh or whatever, but then you hear certain vowels expose themselves. Or, you know, instead of T-H, a little F, you know? Those kind of things.

LA: It’s actually funny you mention that and it’s funny you mentioned a Welsh accent, because my mother is Welsh and grew up in Wales-

LB: Hmm.

LA: … but sounds exactly like me because my grandmother, who was Welsh, forced all her children to speak in a English accent. I think because she thought it would give them some sort of greater start in the world if they had the Queen’s English rather than a Welsh accent, which is a beautiful accent. Welsh is beautiful.

LB: Th- this is the core of what I find so curious in the caste system and the kind of hierarchical system that we’re still adhering to even in our modern days. We have our version of generalized American news broadcast accent.

Speaker 5: That’s the view of the president, that’s the view of the secretary of defense and there’s no reason anyone should think otherwise.

LB: This is what authority sounds like. This is what power and strength, and wealth, in a way, sounds like, right? That I have a bone to pick with, because I think that, me too, I grew up in New York and my mom, you know, it was just a different time. She grew up in Long Island, but she sounds like a news media broadcast, okay. And she, when I would come home and I’d be like, “Ay, that guy’s kinda stupid,” you know or whatever, or like, “What that,” you know, like, “I don’t wanna talk, you know, I don’t wanna talk to that guy,” you know. She’d be like, “Um, no.” [laughs]