Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Love that accent!

OK, so I have a slight Scottish accent. I speak pretty fluent Danish but, of course, there's no running away from the accent - even if I wanted to... ;) Most Danes presume I'm American - partly because I have a certain twang or lilt when I speak - but mainly because I don't speak Danish the way English people do = badly or not at all! LOL

One of my favourite books as a child was 'Whisky Galore'. Maybe you've seen the black & white film? The story takes place far away in the Scottish Hebrides, on two fictive islands, Great Todday and Little Todday. The islanders are hard-pressed (wouldn't you be??) by a shortage of spirits during the second world. Indeed, Dr Maclaren even declares that the death of one of the regulars of the Snorvig Hotel is due to the shock of not being able to get his regular third dram of whisky or third beer :)


A few days later a ship, laden with crates of whisky bound for the US, sinks during a heavy storm. The cargo mysteriously disappears...and the Scottish islanders have, of course, nothing to do with it! ;)

I love it because of the accents. Here's a passage from the very first chapter, straight from mouth of the lovable Captain MacKechnie:

"Ah, but the Sabbath's not what it was. When I was poy, man, it wass a tay. My word, what a tay, too, what a tay! I remember my mother once sat down on the cat, because you'll understand the plinds were pulled down in our house every Sabbath and she didn't chust see where she was sitting. The cat let out a great sgiamh and I let out a hugh laugh, and did my father take the skin off me next day? Man, I was sitting down on proken glass for a week afterwards."
I'm currently loving books by the Italian crime writer Andrea Camilleri which take place in (probably the most corrupt place in the entire world?) Sicily. Commissario Montalbano (the anti-hero and detective) has a small, but colourful staff. My personal favourite being Catarella, who is mistakenly given the job of answering the telephones at the station, because they thought he would do less damage there than anywhere else...

"Beckin' pardon, Chief, for the 'sturbance. Tree days ago somebody aks for you, Chief, wanted a talk t' you in poisson, but you wasn't 'ere an' I forgotta reference it to you. They said as how Vice Commissioner Tamburrano's wife was dead."
I also love these books because
  • the translations into English by Stephen Sartarelli are incredible
  • they make me laugh
  • Inspector Montalbano relishes his food. He eats at his favourite trattoria most days and the author is generous enough to share every detail of those sacred meals with us. In "The Voice of the Violin" the telephone starts ringing when Montalbano is at home boiling pasta and, to make sure not to jeopardize the proper al dente texture of the pasta, he pulls out the phoneplug :)
For any other ladies of a certain age out there, I can highly recommend watching the 'made for TV' films if you get a chance... Here's a rather nice shot of the Inspector. http://fuorivista.eu/luca_zingaretti.jpg Or you can do a search for Commissario Montalbano on http://youtube.com/

And did I already mention that the Inspector likes to swim 'in the altogether'? ;)

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