Having moved to the UK at the age of 3 has its pros. For example, she speaks Italian without sounding like someone who learnt it online from an anglo-russian teacher.
At the same time, being at school for 6 hours a day has allowed her to learn that amazing British accent I can only try badly to fake.
The thing is, I truly am the immigrant mom whose little girl speaks better than her EVEN WHEN she doesn’t speaks at all. It’s the attitude. While she’s perfectly mimetized among the British kids – so pale, blonde and with her school uniform – I still struggle to get rid of some of the Italian overrated sense of fashion, and trade it with an edgy London style.
Well, the thing is: sometimes I don’t understand her.
One day she was like: ‘mom, have you seen my ooot box*?’
‘My oot box, it was here yesterday.’
Hot box? Do we own a hot box? And what the hell is it? And why do I let my child play with something HOT, whatever that means?
‘What’s a hot box, sweetie?’
‘That box with stuff inside…’
What effing kind of stuff, honey? ‘ What stuff, honey?’
‘Stuff for, you know, painting, cutting, drawing…’
So, she was looking for the ART BOX. Blame it on our non-mothertongue English teachers, but we learn to pronounce art like… well… art. Just rolling the a and r a little bit. Oh, how I felt stupid…
Another time she told me: ‘mum, I don’t like the doooc.’
‘Well, everyone has to go there sometimes.’
‘I don’t want to, it’s scary.’
‘No, it’s not.’
‘It is! I can’t see anything!’
‘I can’t, it’s all black in the doooc.’
In the dark. How could I missed it?
After that, I got more and more committed to improve my accent. I couldn’t allow being that kind of foreigner mum, the one who lets the kid correct her. I did my best to correct my pronunciation and I was pretty satisfied. Now I can say garden, first, weather and fraud just like a Londoner. Forget about the rest of the vocabulary, aren’t these the most common word in England? Well, apart from fraud but I get some little shivers while telling it. Fraud. Mmm.. I like the way my accent sound,
I could post a video believe me.
So I thought that was it. Problem solved.
Until I asked her: ‘How’s your friend, Carla?’
Carla is an Italian name. I met a few girls named Carla or Chiara, they maybe sound like exotic names here. Well, they’re Italian anyway.
‘You mean Coooo-la.’
‘Sweetie, I know how to pronounce it, it’s an Italian name just like Matteo.’
‘You mean Mah-teee-o.’