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Might I Trouble You For a Bit of A Read, Govna?

All British people sound like that, right? I’ve seen My Fair Lady. I know what the common folk are like…

Ok, maybe not, but I have experienced my fair share of international language differences. British English is definitely a lot different from American English. For one, the vocabulary (at least in my business conferences) is far better. I personally prefer the way Brits say “brilliant” in place of our word “great”. Although, I have to admit when I am on the phone and I say, “Yeah, that sounds great.” and I hear someone say, “Yes, it’s brilliant.” I feel like they’re trying to upstage me. In fairness, we use the word great in a way that isn’t all-together logical. I mean, it works for us, but great is more of a measure of something than an expression of intellectual aptitute of an idea. But I digress….

The reason I’m even talking about this is because I went to the book store and was browsing through their selection of help books for writing. After skimming a few pages I settled on a book by a woman named Della Galton. She is British. It’s not that her verbage was much different, but there were slight differences, such as the words “colour”, “tyre”, and familiarity with Scottish dialect that she keeps reffering to as if I hear it all the time. The closest I get to Scottish is watching “Braveheart”. Even then I’m wathing an American pretend to be Scottish.

It’s not just Brits that throw me off though. I have to be completely honest when I say that most of these people are speaking out of their native language, which I highly admire and envy. A polish guy told me a joke once. It went like this:

“What do you call someone who speaks three languages?….Trilingual

What do you call someone who speaks two languages?….Bilingual

What do you call someone who speaks one language?….American”

And a good laugh was had  by all, despite that fact that I said monolingual to the last one and almost threw the whole joke off. I think the thing that most Europeans forget though is that in America we don’t live next to a bunch of other countries that speak different languages. With the exception of Mexico, which borders only one side of the country, we are surrounded only by predominantly English-speaking people. We don’t commute to places where people speak other languages.

In that respect I am very jealous. I feel that we are lacking a lot of culture that other countries are deeply immersed in. It’s probably due to the fact that we were founded by a bunch of pillaging pilgrims who tried to abolish everything fun. Their idea of a good time was burning witches and working their fingers to the bone.

If you are from another country, I’d love to get your perspective on funny things that us American’s say. I’m always looking for outside perspective. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Might I Trouble You For a Bit of A Read, Govna?

  1. I once asked a friend visiting from Virginia if he would like a ‘pop’. He looked at me like I was asking him if he wanted to explode and politely declined. Another friend translated it to ‘soda’ for me.

  2. I love this post!!! I suffered a lot in college because of my name, and very strange accent. My professors always wanted me to talk cause I have the british thing going on, I hated talking cause then people would come to me after class, asking if I had graduated college before, and this was my second degree…I guess sounded intelligent didn’t feel like that though…I said lifts for the longest time instead of elevators, and try as much I do to sound American, when i have to say “Can’t” i give myself away…ah well!!! I can never say dreamed, or burned either…it’s dreamt, burnt…

  3. womanwhowritesstuff on said:

    This is why I attempted to learn Russian. At least no one here would know I wasn’t any good at it.

  4. Although I live in Canada (bilingual country because of Quebec), I was brought up very British because my grandparents all immigrated from England. So I was brought up with “prams”, “bubble & squeak”, “spanner”, “getting knocked up in the morning”, etc. So I sometimes had difficulty translating what I was talking about when I was a child.
    On the other hand, my daughter lives in North Carolina & I remember she & I talking about differences in language & words when she was first getting acclimatized. Canadians get teased a lot about our use of “eh”, but Americans in the south tend to use “uh huh” as a form of acknowledgement which my daughter at first thought was very rude. She would thank someone & they would say “uh huh” instead of “you’re welcome” like we would use in Canada. Now she’s used to it. The first time I visited & we went out to eat, I asked for iced tea & she corrected my order for sweet tea or I would have gotten something undrinkable by my standards.

    • Good point, lol. I always use “uh huh”, lol. I also say “dudn’t” for doesn’t ( I think that might just be a texas thing. And “fixin-to” meaning about to.

  5. womanwhowritesstuff on said:

    So used brilliant in a sentence the other day after reading your post. Just thought I would share that tidbit of information with you.

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