Corn Flakes have appeared in my life again after many years absence. I had them for breakfast this morning, admittedly in a sort of de- constructed, self conscious “foodie” way, but they were very good and served to reawaken childhood memories of a time when breakfast was not breakfast without the presence of the big box that dominated the table. The illustrated edifice afforded a legitimate and effective hiding place from over attentive adults, and it was covered with stuff to read — over and over again or, even better, until it was empty and a new packet, with a new gift and new stuff to read, arrived. This genre of box, from the 50’s, is probably the style that remains uppermost in my memory. I think the reason for that is that I identified the box, even then, with that fantasy land called America. I only knew America from films, comics and history books and nothing much has changed except for two lightening visits during which I learnt less about America than I had gleaned from the cereal packet. I have met more Americans in the past 5 years, through Camerahols and my blog, than during any other single time in my life and the differences in life, and language, on either side of the Atlantic ocean have become more defined. Spoken and written language have always fascinated me in that written language is also affected by spoken intonation. The English speaking nations all speak the same language with incredibly different intonations so that the same group of words spoken by natives of Cardiff, Mumbai, Glasgow,Sydney and Dallas would be initially unrecognisable to each other and certainly hard to understand. The following is an interesting example of a well known fairy story that is only recognisable when read with a broad, mid western American accent – I think. On second thoughts it works better with an extreme Southern accent – maybe from Charleston.
Want’s pawn term (is spoken as “Once upon a time” is your starter) dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge, dock florist. Disc ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, end fur disc raisin pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
See what you make of that.