Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

The Bletchley Circle (ITV)


Ladies who lunch (and break codes and solve mysteries!)

Since Downton Abbey ended a few weeks back, I’ve been sad without a British period drama. Lots of searching turned up The Bletchley Circle, a three-episode series about four women who did “clerical work” at Bletchley Park during WWII teaming up to solve some grisly murders almost a decade later. (Bletchley was where Allied Forces codebreaking happened, most importantly the Nazi Enigma code.*)

She’s Scottish and sassy

It wasn’t until the “previously on” of the last episode that I was able to put my finger on the one thing that had been nagging me. One of the women, Jean, had an accent that was slight but distinctive and I just wasn’t sure what it was. My first thought was Welsh since that’s always a good guess (for some reason, a disproportionate number of UK actors are Welsh) but then I hit on it: she spoke almost precisely like Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper on Downton. Two quick IMDb searches later and I confirm that they’re both Scottish!

This reminded me of the few times that accent-identification has come up with other expats. A German friend of mine was unable to distinguish between Spanish accents and a Venezuelan acquaintance wasn’t able to say which part of the Spanish-speaking world I hailed from. I’m not yet conversant with the French accents, but I can tell if one person speaks differently and when I first came north from Lyon, I noticed a marked difference in speech between the two regions.

Can you differentiate between different accents in your native and foreign tongues? Am I am outlier in this respect?

*Seriously, I know way too much about WWII for someone my age. It’s not normal.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

2 thoughts on “The Bletchley Circle (ITV)

  1. Accents are a tricky thing and I think it takes a good ear and lots of knowledge to distinguished them between regions of a country unless they are very different. I think some people are better than others at hearing the differences between accents.

    You are right that Parisians have a very distinctive accent and you probably would be able to pick out that I am a French-Canadian as my accent is quite different as well. We were in Marseille last weekend and their accent is very distinctive as well. You always can recognize someone who comes from the South.

    I don’t think I could pick out a Welsh accent but I can normally recognized a Scottish one or distinguish between an Aussie and Kiwi accent though sometimes I am wrong.

    I find accents to be a fascinating subject.

    P.S. There is nothing wrong about knowing a lot about WWII. It was a very traumatic event in Europe and I think it still has influences on how people act and react to thing.

    • I guess I have a good ear for language things, but I still find it surprising that not everyone can distinguish at least between their own and another one.

      And WWII is interesting (and still relevant in Europe) but I don’t know of many American-born people my age who know so many weird facts about it. It’s all Hollywood’s fault (or thanks to them).

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