Man Unable To Use Own Accent When Talking To Foreigners
A DUBLIN man is battling to hold his life together after being diagnosed with a rare condition which causes him to speak in the accent of whoever he is talking to.
Bernie O’Dowd, 54, first became aware of the strange compulsion when dealing with Eastern European shop assistants.
“I didn’t notice it at first”, said the father of three. “My youngest pointed it out to me one day I was paying for petrol. The guy at the kiosk was Polish or something, and I was dropping words out of my sentences when I was dealing with him. I believe I told him ‘I have twenty unleaded, pump 3’, before asking for ‘pack of dorito and twenty Benson Hedges’. I have no idea why I was doing it”.
The embarrassing condition has gotten worse over the years, with Bernie now unable to maintain his own brogue when speaking to non-nationals.
“Just the other day I asked the girl in the deli for a ‘Cheecken feelet roll, bootermayonays, tomat and cheese'”, despaired Bernie. “She looked at me like I was a moron, as did everyone else in the queue”.
“I got a taxi home at the weekend and when I was talking to the driver I sounded like an episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo. Most of my kids are ashamed of me, and refuse to be around me when I’m dealing with people. And it’s not just foreigners, I’ve started doing it when dealing with culchies, too. Our postman is from Louth, and anytime I’m talking to him I keep saying ‘Hi’ at the end of every sentence”.
Help is at hand for Bernie, who has entered into a program of counselling to try to cure his affliction.
“I’m attending speech therapy sessions in the Mater Hospital,” Bernie told us, while struggling not to break into a Waterford accent. “Therapist is very good, yes? We go through several scenarios – I try react to them, using own accent. The sessions are very helpful, as long as I no talk to any of the porters on way out”.