So I’m back in Ohio for the holidays. In a coffee shop.
There is a table to my right, with two older women and an Amish man seated. They are speaking. I cannot understand them.
The women are not dressed as Amish, and it would be odd for them to be speaking Amish Dutch.
Iba fume ieeheh. Shon shanganiz if albenen on ten. Thurrsde if lar eh iz bizzeh. Auff en war mar der car crashen.
What the hell is this? I try to focus.
It is – surprisingly – English. Is this the accent I grew up with? It sounds like these women are from Minnesota. Are they rolling their r’s? Where are these z’s coming from? Where are the “th” sounds? Why do all vowels sound like a soft “i”?
This has happened before, where English sounds foreign to me. I can zone out and unfocus to a point where it just sounds like phonetic noise. As if I were watching TV in Chechloslovakia. Meaningless combinations of consonants and vowels with an occasional understood proper noun… “Bleh nartio ard funfo par kun Wal Mart der hur friewenhsha bata da hunse bata subitastar.”
What it boils down to, is that we sound pretty funny speaking English.