Women Who Travel Podcast: The Innate Beauty of Accents, with Lake Bell


THE: …it’s the silent GI think it’s a lot of what always catches my ear. You have, uh, a relationship with a language growing up or, you know, with family members or f-friends or something that you get like a Spidey sense when you hear it. And if I walk-

Bell Lake: Yes.

THE: … down the street, uh, my ears will always pick up the Turkish people-

KG: Yeah [laughs].

THE: …and I won’t notice anyone else.

KG: Yeah, so you’re laser-focused. Yeah.

THE: Yeah.

KG I think it’s really interesting. I think the–the G’s is… All right. Yeah, there’s things like, you know, my mother-in-law, she’s from philadelphia cream, so his whole family had these Philadelphia, uh, as they say wood instead of water, so wood. And that oo, that little sound to me, I’m like, I can spot it, you know, I could be like reading, texting, listening to music and I can hear it, [laughs] you know?

THE: Yeah.

KG: And I’m like, “Oh, you Philly?” You know, like immediately.

THE: [laughs]

KG: Uh, “What part of Philadelphia are you from,” you know? So, you know, uh, same with, you know, sometimes when people try to hide their sound. Like especially in the UK when they’re like, they feign a bit more southern and chic or whatever, but then you hear some vowels coming out. Or, you know, instead of TH, a little F, you know? This kind of things.

THE: It’s actually funny you mention that and it’s funny you mention a Welsh accent, because my mother is Welsh and grew up in Wales-

KG: Hmm.

THE: …but looks exactly like me because my grandmother, who was Welsh, made all her children speak with an English accent. I think because she thought it would give them kind of a better start in the world if they had the Queen’s English rather than a Welsh accent, which is a beautiful accent. Welsh is wonderful.

KG: That’s the heart of what I find so curious about the caste system and the kind of hierarchical system we still adhere to even today. We have our version of the generalized accent of American news broadcasts.

Speaker 5: This is the president’s view, this is the defense secretary’s view and there is no reason for anyone to think otherwise.

KG: This is what authority looks like. That’s what power, strength and wealth look like, in a way, isn’t it? That I have a score to settle, because I think that I, too, grew up in New York and my mother, you know, was just another time. She grew up on Long Island, but she looks like a news show, okay. And her, when I’d come home and say, “Ay, this guy’s kinda dumb,” you know or whatever, or like, “What’s that,” you know, like, “I don’t want to talk, you know, I don’t want to talk to this guy”, you know. She would say, “Uh, no.” [laughs]

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