Tag Archives: accent

audible minority

Everyone says I don’t have a very strong accent, but I’m sick of being misunderstood. I have been offered Wild Turkey when I asked for water, and my house number – 36 – is a constant source of confusion. Bell got it wrong for a couple of hours when we first got our phone in 2002, and so the poor folks at 56 have been getting our junk mail ever since.

Last straw came during the last power outage. Toronto Hydro has an automated voice recognition system which first asks your postal code, then your street name, then the house number. It got the code and the street right, then assumed I was saying big ol’ 56 again. It took me right back to the postal code question, even after confirming it and the street name before.

Rather than going postal, I ended up having to slur out my mooshiest “thihrdheesihx” before it took it. C’mon people, consonants, consonants!

Hate to think what it’d have made of the Glaswegian ‘thehrty’, which my Gran always decried as “common” …

tunes I must learn (eventually)

Not all of these could be classed as banjo tunes, but I’d want to try, anyway:

  • The Coo-Coo Bird (it’s not optional)
  • The Old Plank Road (Uncle Dave’s delivery, which was more demented than the Rounders)
  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (like HMR; just how does one spell moo’m moo’m moo’m de boo’m boo’m de boo’m?)
  • I’m Going In A Field (Nic Jones style)
  • Bridges & Balloons (Joanna’s song’s just crying out to be covered with a broad Glasgow accent)
  • Needle of Death (too many banjo tunes are too happy)
  • Ghost (the Neutral Milk Hotel one)
  • something by Sufjan (even if Peter Stampfel says he plays banjo kind of boringly)
  • I Love How You Love Me (like Mangum, not Spector)

bankie haircut

I had my hair cut last night by Arthur, who came over from Clydebank in 1969. His workmates were amused how broad his accent got when we were talking.

It was at The Barber’s Chair, a chain (franchise?) of old-style barber shops. I think I’ll be back.

dealbreakers

Okay, so if I were to buy an iBook, I must be able to:

  • have virtual workspaces, like X11
  • use a compose key for accented characters
  • be able to do my usual Perl/Bash things in the terminal
  • get basic, useful applications for free.

Since I can do these things on Linux now, there’s no point in me switchin’ in the kitchen.

compose yourself!

Just one of the things that I really, really hate about Windows is its lack of a sane way of entering accented characters. People are forced to do is remember arcane character codes, like Alt+0235 to get ë. I’m sorry, but I don’t get why one should need to remember these numbers.

Suns have a Compose key, that works conceptually a little like backspacing on a manual typewriter. To get e-umlaut, you type Compose + (either together, or one after the other) then e. It’s a system thing, and it works in all applications. A table of compose key sequences shows the huge range of special characters you can access in this way. Most Linux machines support this too; I have right Alt bound as the Compose key.

I need the same facility for Windows. An MS tech staff blog entry basically hints that it can’t be done. But it is being done, admittedly half-heartedly, by MS-Word; if you search for accent in the Help, you can find Insert an international character by using a shortcut key. Word has done this for years, so why isn’t it in the OS?