Ma'am & Compost

This morning at a drive-through breakfast place (hey sometimes I just need a drive-through breakfast) the girl in window 1 AND the girl in window 2 both called me ma'am. Several times. So either I looked particularly old this morning or it's a new greeting policy which would be very irritating.

Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that I can't pronounce the US version of ma'am to save my life. Ma'am in America is pronounced "mam" (it is in Ohio at least). But I'm English and we have a Queen and so I have this predisposition to pronounce it "marm". I tried all the way to work to get it right but I just can't do it. It must be so far ingrained in my brain that I just can't do it without feeling silly.

I have the same problem with "compost". It's not so much that I can't pronounce it but I feel odd, like I'm faking the American accent. In all the years I've lived here I think it's only ma'am and compost that makes me feel like that. How odd.


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