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The Politics of Accents

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Well, I enjoy the research.

Not teaching?

I think I would if teaching’s all I did.


But it’s all the stuff around it.

I’m trying to figure out where that accent’s from.

I hear it now! Toul, towel, toul.

Ah, ha.

It comes out every so often. Why’s that?

Well, now…

Oh there again: Now. N-o-w…


I get that a lot.

Where’s your accent from, then?

I’m from Northern Ireland. My accent, I’m not so sure.

You don’t sound Northern Irish.

It’s a BBC Northern Ireland accent. RP: Refined Protestant.

Ah, ha…

Did you ever have an accent?

What are you on about? Sure we all have accents

No one doesn’t have an accent. But I get you.

You’re looking for a real, untampered, pure accent

One that you could put your finger on, feel the pulse of, pin me down with.

The answer is, I don’t know. I only know

that I shamed it out of myself because

you might be able to get away with being shy, rural, or gay,

but not all three. Something’s got to go.

And the metropolis calls to difference

like a siren calls to her prey: enticing, fickle.

The words I speak now ring with the sound of self-destruction.

I will never not be killing myself,

even when I tell you my name.

Is what I should have said but instead I asked for a light.

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