by Melinda Gallo

You say, I say

Some people think my accent is a little French and others don't think so. I can't really tell that much; however, I do know that once in awhile I'll say a word with a French twang. Instead of saying, "documentazione" where the "men" is pronounced the same as in English, I'll say "mawn" (rhyming with lawn). And thus, my French accent shines through. I'm not French, but I speak it fluently, lived in Paris for 6 years and majored in French Literature in college.

My friends don't seem to notice my random French twang or if they do, they don't set up a red flag for me. My former Italian teacher, Gianluca, told me that my French accent has faded a lot and it's really not noticeable any more.

Today, I decided to accompany my friend Marta to visit her friend Crystal (who is French) just so I could hear her accent. I wanted to figure out where mine was at in comparison. Her Italian is extremely good although she has a noticeable French accent, much stronger than mine. So, I felt relieved.

Before we left, Crystal asked me what time it was and I responded, "Sono le due meno venti." (It's two o'clock minus twenty minutes). She then responded, "ah, sono venti alle due." (It's twenty to two). Crystal has obviously picked up a lot more than just the Italian language; she has acquired a Florentine habit. Florentines (and maybe all Italians, but I don't know for sure) like to reword what you say. It's not that she didn't understand what I said, but she just had to tell me how she would've said it.

It's happened to me many times before and I used to think that it was because they didn't understand what I said or that I possibly said something incorrectly. But, now I realize that it's just a habit some people have.

Later while I was walking back to town with Marta, she said, "Quale libro stai leggendo?" (What book are you reading?) "Sto leggendo un romanzo." (I'm reading a novel), I responded. I was trying to be precise, but I realized that I was just being Florentine.

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