20 years of Tongues

Perhaps it’s because my own accent is so colourless that I focus a lot on those of other people. The way vowels flatten or harden. How my name sounds different from different mouths.


I’m reading ballet stories, where everyone either speaks in RP or painstakingly recreated Northumbrian dialect. At night I dream of being courted by well-spoken boys in shirts and waistcoats.


I’m learning French and German at school. German to me is the sexiest language with its harsh, gutteral sounds. All power and precision. But it’s French which develops the deftness of my tongue.

2004 (Spring)

I partly pick my place at university based on the two languid scouse boys in my interview group. Neither one ends up taking the course.

2004 (Autumn)

My first boyfriend is from Birmingham. He’s an acting student. When I tell him about the scouse lads who got away, he affects the Liverpool twang and my heart skips.


My posh fling. My poorly thought out, much regretted posh fling. The lisping, heartbreaking Dom with the arrogance only a man raised with too much money can possess. I allowed him much more of myself than I should have because of that voice.


My darling, from the sweet point between Manchester and Liverpool, has a voice which makes me ache with love.


Nursing my broken heart, I am suddenly surrounded by echoes of him in unexpected and unwanted visitors, hailing from his small corner of the world, tempting and tormenting in equal measure.

6 thoughts on “20 years of Tongues

  1. Are used to adore the French accent as well as language, I’m not sure why I don’t like it anymore. I guess I outgrew it. And I can’t speak French to save my life so that might have something to do with it.


  2. It’s interesting how different aspects of class and voice intersect; when you mentioned your posh fling, I thought about how I’m actively turned off by people who I can tell based on the way they speak were raised in the upper classes.


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