Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Those Irritating Foreigners

This morning Kepiblanc sent me the translation below, which made me despair — what point was there for me to continue my attempt at learning the infuriating Danish language?

But Kepiblanc told me not to fear, that as an American I have the status of an honorary Northern European. Nothing is said about Ireland, however, so Dymphna is holding her own reaction in abeyance until the results of further research emerge.

Kepiblanc sent along a commentary, but first the article from Politiken:

Foreign accents irritate Danes

Big differences in the way we regard people who can’t express themselves in impeccable Danish

The University of Copenhagen asked 232 Danes to evaluate the personalities of 16 persons, exclusively based on their pronunciation of a TV commercial. Furthermore, the test persons were asked to guess the country of origin of those accents. The 16 persons came from 8 different countries — a male and a female from each country.

Northern Europeans considered most ambitious

Holger DanskeThe study shows that we get very irritated by people who speak with accents believed to stem from the Middle East and less irritated by someone with an accent believed to stem from Germanic-speaking countries, such as England, Germany and the Nordic countries.

The persons behind those voices perceived by the Danes to be North Europeans were evaluated as independent, ambitious, effective, interesting, reliable, intelligent, polite and pleasant.

People from the Middle East were perceived as incompetent
- - - - - - - - - -
Exactly the opposite about those voices that the Danes believed to stem from a Middle Eastern country, such as Turkey. In those cases the person behind the voice was ascribed terms such as uncertain, indifferent, incompetent, boring, unreliable, stupid, disgusting and irritating.

In spite of all 16 persons having a university degree and mastering Danish on a very high level the conclusion was unambiguous among the 232 Danes.

Significant differences

According to the Danish language researcher Marta Kirilova, who designed the study, this is not about minor variations, but a significant difference in the evaluation of the people behind the accents.

“The study shows very clearly that it really does matter what country the accent stems from. There are pronounced hierarchies and — broadly speaking — Danes regard North Europeans as competent, whereas people from the Middle East are stupid and incompetent. — as evaluated solely by their accents,” says Marta Kirilova to Politiken.

And now Kepiblanc’s commentary:

During the last 20 years — or more — all our MSM and the entire politically correct establishment have spared no effort to convince us about the blessings of the new multi-culti society. They have preached, flattered, threatened, scolded, raved, and ranted about racism, bigotry and prejudices and created an entire “do-good-industry” in order to get to us embrace every imaginable alien immigrant — especially the Muslims.

And now: all this in vain.

The study proves scientifically what everyone already knows: The left-leaning politicians and their lackeys in the MSM live in a galaxy far, far away, completely dissociated from the average John Doe — or here in Denmark, Jens Jensen and Kirsten Hansen. They’ve dreamed up a virtual universe of illusions while living in their whites-only suburbs north of Copenhagen. Never have they dared to set foot in the culturally-enriched habitats to the west and south of the city.

Meanwhile, ordinary Danes have to deal with our “new Danes” on a daily and more practical basis. Especially on the streets at night, in our schools, prisons and warehouses.

So it seems reality trumps illusions. Big time.

Well, maybe in Denmark But in most other parts of the West, illusion is in the ascendant.

Big time.


Dymphna said...

I think this is cultural...i.e., the French don't like anything but native French speakers. In fact, they look down on the French Canadian accent as "rustic." I think the Parisienne accent is the only acceptable one.

And how about the English? They parse their own UK speakers very precisely in their (to me) intricate class system.

In the US, everyone knows that people with a Southern drawl are dumber than those who speak with an Eastern seaboard accent...only ones with lower intelligence are the Valley Girls' accent in CA.

In fact, as far as the southern accent goes, no one north of the Mason Dixon line can hear the difference between say, Richmond and Atlanta.

Language is a strange divider....

PS Ain't none a yew can speak near as well as we do down here. Alla y'all talk right peculiar.

Adam said...

I don't how it is in other countries. However, when I travel to out of Cali in other states, I always try to hide any accent.I am getting real good at it. Speaking ENGRISH annoys people in the states. Especially if you speak with a fast Asian linguistic pace.

Paul said...

Oh Dymphna, you've missed it on your view of folks from the southland. You must have been living to close to DC for too long.

A southerner has no need for an arrogant know-it-all yankee from New England. Or anywhere else for that matter. I well the remember to calls to 'freeze a yankee' during the oil embargoes of the '70s. We may get the chance to freeze a bunch of yankee bozos yet. I'll enjoy the experience. For the yankees with common sense I'll make an exception... but that's for the ones with common sense.

Perhaps the yankees are a little like the that stuffed-up strain of arrogant Brit. (And that doesn't include all Brits, mind you...) Being Irish, you must know about that.

I tell you, I'll take a southerner any time over a yankee. Ronald Reagan was a southerner-at-heart you know.

Subvet said...

Being a native of New York transplanted down here to Texas I'd say I see more similarities than differences in the arrogant, know-it-all attitudes I encounter. Here are some I've noted;

1) We're absolutely better than y'all/youse because....well we just are!

2) If y'all/youse don't like it the way we do it here, the interstate that brought ya will take ya back.

3) Your gun laws are stupid, so are you.

4) This used to be a nice place till your kind showed up.

And the list goes on and on. As I said, there are more similarities than differences. When I tell my coworkers that they grumble and move away.

Which is the same thing they used to do up north.

Birkebeinr said...

Anyone trying to learn Danish should take a look at this "documentary" about the Danish language. It's not easy. Not even for danes themselves:

Don Miguel said...

Subvet, you may have noticed that some Texans think that anyone from north of the Red River is a yankee. :)

Vol-in-Law said...

"When I tell my coworkers that they grumble and move away."

I think that's the difference - Southerners generally know that if you don't have anything nice to say, it's best to keep your mouth shut. >:)

From my experiences in the Southern USA, Southerners are really polite & charming as a rule, but one thing that really annoys them is Yankees who complain all the time...

Baron Bodissey said...

Subvet, Vol-in-law --

Actually, you can leave off all the modifiers and subordinate clauses.

What annoys every simpleminded swamp-dwelling moss-draped cracker is simply Yankees.

If y'all catch mah drift... ;)

Subvet said...

Baron, LOL. Got it!