Explaining Bartonese

The big news out of France yesterday wasn’t yet another fracture in the UMP party — Jean-Francois Cope can’t buy a break — or the protests over a controversial new airport in Nantes. No, the eyes of the world turned to the birthplace of aristocracy to examine Joey Barton’s latest in performance theater. Bartonese is the new language sweeping the land. Enroll your children in classes accordingly.

In their analysis, the always serious BBC contacted Dr.Karen Douglas. The good doctor explained Bartonese could have been a product of speech accommodation — an occurrence that features people alter their accent in unfamiliar surroundings.

In an effort to add to the academic discourse on this subject, one of the utmost importance in these harrowing times, I’ve narrowed down the Bartonese phenomenon to three possibilities.

Joey Barton was trying to fit in

I’ve done it to. Maybe not to the extent of Barton, but enough so that it felt quite different. The first time I visited India, my sisters and I employed an accent that would be deemed thoroughly offensive to my Indian relatives back home. It wasn’t done out of ignorance, rather, we found the locals who did speak English could understand us better if we slowed down our cadence and eliminated slang. It worked.  Of course, those first few weeks back in Canada after the trip were a little rough. It’s hard to shake something you’ve done consistently for six weeks.

In her interview with the Beeb, Douglas stated people who use speech accommodation do so subconsciously. It’s possible Barton was just trying to adapt to his surroundings, mimicking the way some of his teammates speak English . He later tweeted that he had difficulty speaking to a room full of french journos in a scouse accent. Using that horrible, caricature of a French person speaking English, accent was his way of bridging the gap.

Joey Barton is an asshole

When I made my fourth trip to India I brought a friend. One of my relatives was getting married during the Christmas holidays. My friend is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and I consider myself lucky to have known him for 15 years. Upon touchdown in Mumbai he started doing the speech accommodation thing. I proceeded to lose my mind and we nearly came to blows in the streets. It wasn’t like my sisters, he wasn’t Indian. Though it was hypocritical on my part I couldn’t betray the way I felt.

After the presser Barton told Steve McClaren to eat his heart out — the former England boss spoke English in a Dutch accent years ago. He was trolling. JB wasn’t trying to fit in. He was just doing what he does.

Joey Barton was trying to fit in and is an asshole

We’ve found a winner. Speech accommodation is definitely real. I’ve done it not only in India, but in South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Los Angeles — one of my lower moments.  My friend who came to India with me wasn’t trying to be malicious. He was trying to adapt to the context.

Joey Barton is a modern day court jester. Rather than learn a few token words in French he went full troll. It was funny for a fleeting moment — I initially laughed before remembering my own experiences in situations like this.

So there it is. With that Bartonese has been explained, rather shoddily — my apologies. Let us never speak of the language that captured the heart of one narcissistic British footballer for one glorious day. Memories.