Every so often I cross paths with someone in the service industry whom I think is faking an English accent. Walk into a nearly empty restaurant and the too-thin twenty-something host with platinum highlights gestures dramatically and says, “Cheerio, gov’nuh...table for one?”
I am not sure why someone in the service industry would fake an English accent, but I suspect that there are a few extroverted and theatrical hourly-earners out there that do so on a regular basis.
And these people annoy me.
Often a suspected linguistic fraud is a waiter or porter. Yesterday it was an effeminate hotel clerk who spoke in what sounded like an English stage accent. It was good, but not perfect. His skill level at performing an English accent was more or less on par with my own, and having once or twice faked an English accent myself (but never on the job), my fake accent radar went into red alert.
He was answering a question about the history of the hotel I was staying at while I glared dubiously at him. He seemed taken aback, most likely because he suspected I doubted the information. But what I doubted was the accent.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“From? Ah. Merry old England, ‘course. Manchester. Cheerio. God save the queen and all that, mate.”
Uh-huh. Sure. Manchester. All the fakes are from Manchester, ever notice that? I took consolation that morning in the fact that at least my cab driver's accent is genuine. No deception there. I couldn't understand a word he was saying.