Our good friend Lee left our office recently for pastures new, so in his honour, Bruno wrote to Manchester City Council for help deciphering his Mancunian accent. I think it is important at this stage to mention that we absolutely love Manchester and please don’t hurt us as we are quite weak and bruise like peaches.
Here is the letter (click to enlarge):
I would like to begin this correspondence by making it clear that I am a great fan of your city and the people within in. I have in the past enjoyed day trips to such attractions as the Trafford Centre, Old Trafford football stadium, and have frequented the “Sankey Soaps” nightclub on occasions. As such, I would like to make it clear that I write to you today as a friend, seeking advice on a most concerning matter.
On 02 December 2013 we welcomed a new worker to our office; a young man by the name of Lee. I am told Lee is from Manchester, and as such would ask that if you know him personally that you exercise professionalism in not disclosing that I have written seeking your advice.
Lee sits quite near to me in our office, not next to me as we seem to have an informal boy-girl seating arrangement – more by accident than by design – but the other side of the young lady that sits directly next to me. This young lady is very friendly and sociable, and as such has struck up a conversational friendship with Lee. This has presented a problem for me, and it is this problem I seek your assistance with.
I can not understand a single word that Lee says. At first I thought it was entirely possible that Lee has a speech impediment; however everyone in the office appears to be able to communicate with him effectively on both work and social topics. For this reason I must attribute this problem to his accent.
I had avoided talking to Lee for a number of weeks because of this issue, however on Christmas Eve our employers asked that we worked a half day, which we were more than happy to agree to as we enjoy good levels of morale in our working environment. On this day I was making use of our free vending machine, when Lee approached me and began a discourse. Lee is not a small man, and as I have no idea which words he was trying to use in order to communicate, I panicked! I just left the vending machine without collecting my Coca-Cola, and retreated to my desk! You can imagine how embarrassing this was for me.
I have subsequently discussed this event with my line manager in my monthly “One-to-One” meeting. She informed me that Lee is not ‘unusual’ with the manner in which he chooses to speak, and that this is a regular occurrence with people that were raised in Stretford. I mean no offence, but I must ask: Is it entirely necessary to speak with this ‘accent’?
I would like to do what I can in order to communicate with Lee, so ask is there anything I can do in order that I am able to understand his accent with more ease? Are there classes I can attend in the Swindon area? (I am willing to travel a short distance if the nearest class is a little further away). I have spent some time on Google and have asked for my wife’s held also, but we are unable to find anything that may assist us in understanding what on Earth this young man is talking about. I have attempted to listen to interviews with footballers such as Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand, but they appear to have ‘shaken off’ their Manchester accents – much the same with Sergio Aguero, and Vincent Kompany.
I must ask that you please take the time to assist me in this matter. I appreciate that it may be trivial to you, but it has affected my Christmas, and I am now beginning to lose sleep with worry.