A couple of days ago, I had a chance to catch an episode of “The Amazing World of Gumball” on Cartoon Network.
The episode featured a character whose odd speech managed to confuse the main characters of the series, Gumball and Darwin.
The character, Peter Pepperoni, spoke in such a way that it seemed like he was talking backwards. I listened as closely as I possibly could. I even played the scenes of dialogue Peter had just to see if I can catch a pattern. Then, it dawned on me … this must be what English might sound to those who are Non-English speakers.
Maybe. I’m not quite sure. But, for now, this is my working theory on the matter.
I grew up in America, specifically the state of Texas. I’ve not known any other language apart from English. And I’m sure that there are plenty of English speakers both foreign and domestic who can handle the English language way better than me.
I’ve always been fascinated with other languages and even the nuance of accents.
Once I was told that I sounded like I was from the north. By the north, some meant Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, and other parts. They assumed I must not be from Texas because I spoke a certain kind of way.
I honestly think some of these individuals were just a bit surprised, in an odd way, that I spoke properly and enunciated my sentences.
To test my theory, I searched articles and YouTube videos to help me draw clearer conclusions as to what the episode of “The Amazing World of Gumball” was trying to do. Was it simply a comedic ploy? Or was it truly something they were mimicking based off of a popular video or study on the matter of what English sounded like to Non-English speakers?
I found a video created by Gary Couturie for his class where he spends a few minutes talking on the phone in a similar way that Peter Pepperoni spoke.
It was rather interesting to see both videos similarly, and somewhat indirectly, communicate the struggle of understanding people, even if the language is the same as yours.
Considering the fact that everyone wants to be understood on some level, it is key that we make a concerted effort to improve our communication with one another and strive to better understand each other.