The other night I distinctly heard Mrs H saying 'I am going to have a purr'
to which I replied 'Oh, so you are going into competition with the cats then ?'
'No, I am going to eat a purr' she said. 'Ha'h you mean a pear Mrs H ' I said
'Yes a purr' she said again.
We often have these little misunderstandings, it is all to do with Mrs H having an East Dublin accent.
I had better explain that Dublin is on Ireland's eastern seaboard. Geographically there is a North Dublin, a West Dublin and a South Dublin, the Irish Sea is in the east and across that channel of water, lies the great City of Liverpool where the citizens speak with an east Dublin accent.
I, who matured in England's West Country, have a base dialect that is distinctly different to that of Mrs H and so what I actually hear is often a different word.
That sort of misunderstanding is quite common, not just between ourselves but with others too.
For example when I first came to live here the expression that I used when leaving a shopkeeper was to say 'so long' as I went through the doorway. Within a few weeks my friendly butcher congratulated me on using the As Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic), this puzzled me somewhat for the only word I knew was agus (the word for and). Then he said 'what I mean is that I hear you say Slán' (farewell) whenever you leave here.'
Considering this I realized that it was the speed of my speech which was reducing so long to s'lon, the 'g' being hardly uttered.
What we say and how we speak can be very humorous on occasions. Some years ago I went with a good friend of mine over to Glastonbury from Ireland for a short holiday. It was her first time in that part of England.
We decided to catch a bus to Street. There was a long queue at the bus stop and it wasn't obvious which end was which. So I, knowing how sensitive folk are to queue jumpers, asked a man which was the front of the queue.
Four times I asked the question and each time he shook his head not understanding me, eventually my friend with her very strong Co Louth Irish accent said "He wants to know which end is front of the queue ?"
My mispronunciations were due to me having a heavy cold.
That event amused me at the time the irony of it all and even as I write this I am still amused.