Level Three. Say What?

By Michelle Lloyd.

RV was academic but unconventionally, so what did this mean? Well, at school RV was adept at the higher mathematics class problems because he found the harder, more complicated questions easier to solve than the ones everybody else took to answering quickly. It did put him at odds sometimes with everybody else. Having gotten over this stumbling block by adapting to the situation and even helping out with other class peers and their particularly hard to solve problems, this had turned him from zero to hero in terms of his school reputation.

It was adapting to other situations that could be a bit more of a stressful complication to navigate. Why was this? RV did not always, as with his maths skill, think in the same pattern of thought like everybody else did. One of these issues that he felt he had trouble with, was in language, and specifically accents.

An extremely good mimic, RV found that often if he heard someone who had an accent, albeit on TV or in person, he would soon after start talking with EXACTLY that same elongated pronunciation or a terrifically typical twang.

While sometimes this was thought of as funny, it could also be problematic. When, for example at school an important visitor was being shown round and RV was asked to stand up and give a small welcome to the class speech, it did not go well at all!

The visitor had a definite accent and RV found that after having heard him talk for only a few minutes, this influenced his own speech greatly. Not knowing what had caused this outburst of an incredibly impressive but awkward imitation had RV’s teacher apologising profusely and consequently her questions about what he was doing and what his intentions were, did not help either.

The visitor had been open mouthed and insulted. An explanation from RV only emphasised the new-found accent further and this predicament was responded to with laughter that emanated from the whole class.

RV did not know where to put himself and more importantly he felt that he was being totally misunderstood. Accents were not deliberate on his part but subconsciously worked their way into his speech. The subsequent penalty of being held in after class was not easy for RV, someone who hardly ever had been in trouble before.

Every time his teacher tried to understand what had happened, RV felt too scared to respond for fear of being misunderstood again. It was this experience which led him to appreciate the assistance that a parent could bring as it took his dad’s appearance to improve matters.

After listening to what had happened, RV’s dad could explain why it had all gone so wrong. The situation had still been an ordeal but RV learnt that at least having fully enlightened the teacher, the consequences were not as bad as expected. Actually when she heard about RV’s ability to mimic, the teacher confessed that she had been prone to a bit of a similar issue herself as a child.

Instead of become angered by it, the teacher had a little think and promised that she would explain to the visitor that what had happened had not been a deliberate insult. She even had an idea about how the accent accomplishment could be put to good use.

A repertoire of approved accents from school staff and peers was recognised and applauded. This time the laughter that came was fully appreciated and welcomed by everybody and RV felt misunderstood no longer.