I am a native English speaker. Hand on the bible, it's the God's honest truth.
Lately, I have begun to wonder about the truth of that, however. It struck me right across the head when it took me twelve minutes and several attempts to order pizza the other night. We got stuck on the credit card numbers, the girl on the end of the line and myself. Without the benefit of hand gestures and facial expressions, we were forced to resort to clipping out each numeral loudly and painstakingly. Now bear in mind here, that I have ordered pizza, over the phone, in Russian. My husband hauls this out at every cocktail party he can. He would be less impressed if he spoke any Russian and knew it translated into:
Please - I want cheese, ham, mushrooms please.
Anyhow, my latest pizza ordering telephonically (pizza is big in my family) was done in Utah. Yes, Utah in the United States. Supposedly, we speak the same language. And before you get to defending Utah, let me jump in and say this is two way street. The lack of understanding goes both ways. I arrived at an hotel in Salt Lake City, very early on in the planning stages of the move and got:
"Mmph murmr ma'am" Only the fact that he was wearing a uniform and holding the door open provided the clues.
Communication is not aided at all, by my accent. I get that same blank look and have to repeat myself. The same look I am giving to other people. I am so not pointing fingers, just amazed that as English speakers, we are having so much trouble understanding each other. What chance does anyone trying to learn English have?
It has taken me three weeks to work out what the lady at the check out in my local grocery store is saying. And now I can hold me head up high and, enunciating like the Queen's dialogue coach, announce:
"No, thank you. I would not like any ice or stamps today."