English impression of American speech in the late 1820s :- )
Posted by Carolyn B on April 24, 1998 at 23:05:42:
In response to American accents..., written by Hilary on April 21, 1998 at 21:07:39
Came across some amusing bits after reading this thread. Fanny Trollope (English) in Domestic Manners in America (1832) occasionally quotes the dialect of the Americans she meets in the late 1820s. I'm not sure how accurate her rendition is. She claimed she wrote conversations down as soon as she could after she heard them, but it sounds a bit too stilted and stereotypically American (Oh, giminee! ; )
She is discussing hiring a servant in Cincinnati.
A tall stately lass soon presented herself, saying, "I be come to help you." The intelligence was very agreeable, and I welcomed her in the most gracious manner possible, and asked what I should give her by the year.
"Oh Gimini!" exclaimed the damsel with a loud laugh, "you be a downright Englisher, sure enough. I should like to see a young lady engage by the year in America! I hope I shall get a husband before many months, or I expect I shall be an outright old maid, for I be most seventeen already; besides, mayhap I may want to go to school. You must just give me a dollar and half a week, and mother's slave, Phillis, must come over once a week, I expect, from t'other side the water, to help me clean."
When Fanny and her daughters refuse to lend the servant any of their clothes, the girl complains "Well, I never seed such grumpy folks as you be; there is several young ladies of my acquaintance what goes to live out now and then with the old women about the town, and they and their gurls always lends them what they asks for"
I guess the spelling "gurls" is to differentiate the American from the English pronunciations "gels"?
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