Arnon Grunberg


Social climbing

“Hello. This voice I speak with these days, this English voice with its rounded vowels and consonants in more or less the right place—this is not the voice of my childhood. I picked it up in college, along with the unabridged Clarissa and a taste for port. Maybe this fact is only what it seems to be—a case of bald social climbing—but at the time I genuinely thought this was the voice of lettered people, and that if I didn't have the voice of lettered people I would never truly be lettered.” These are the first sentences of an interesting article by Zadie Smith in the NYRB.
Accent probably reveals class. An accent is always revealing. As a teenager I was fearful of speaking Dutch with a fancy accent, I was afraid that this fancy accent would reveal a lack of solidarity with the workers.