Is that an accent or a speech impediment?

I’m not writing about this to be cruel, but I really wondered about this when I was on the long 7 hour train ride from Naples to Catania when an older fellow in the same seating area was trying to talk to us. The other Italians understood him just fine but I picked up maybe 5 words here and there. Ugh! I know I have trouble in general understanding old people speaking Italian, but this topped it all. I was suddenly frightened about my experience in Sicily – did all people talk like this? If so, I was in for a rude awakening! I really felt for foreigners who come to the US and visit the deep South knowing that I, a native English speaker, sometimes has trouble deciphering what they’re saying too. Haha.

As time went on, I told the man I was sorry I didn’t catch what he was saying because of his accent. He then corrected me and told me he had a problem with his throat. Phew! I felt better in that moment, though I know it sounds odd. Luckily, the ‘accent’ here isn’t so bad. I was truly worried!

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