For example, at a restaurant in the U.S. someone would ask “Here or to go?” Whereas here they ask “Eat in or take away?”
They also ask questions differently, with a tone of suspense or expectation at the end. It reminds of me of Spanish speaking missionaries who come home and ask questions using the same words of a statement but the manner of speaking makes it a question.
Instead of “Have you been happy here in London?” They say “You’ve been happy here in London, yeah?”
They also speak softly, Richard and a friend joked the other day about how he can always tell the British people from the South Africans on a conference call because the British are so hard to hear. A friend of mine at church told me that the best thing I could do to sound less American would just be to dial down my volume a bit. Easier said than done of course.
These are only a couple of things I picked up on so far and I’m sure there will be more. Here is a list the kids and I came up with of translations:
Bathroom: Toilet, Loo, WC
Stroller: Buggy, pushchair
Shopping cart: Trolley
Parking Lot: Car park
Popsicles: Ice lollies
Exit (verb): Alight
Exit (noun): Way out
I’m sure we’ll come up with more as time goes on.
In addition to British accents we encounter a lot of French, Nigerians, Portuguese and Brazilians, Irish, Scottish and South Africans. I’ve made it a personal challenge to sort through various accents and try to place them when I hear them. The easiest way to do this is to think of someone I know and compare their voices. For example, at church one of the speakers sounded a lot like Jo, our agent, and so I suspected he was from South Africa, and I was right! Scottish and Irish are pretty easy to place too because I can think of which Downton character they resemble most.
Does anyone have any experience with these sorts of lingual obstacles?
One thought on “Speaking English English”
I love hearing about all your interesting experiences, Jo. Even more, I love your crazy time zone because new posts come in the middle of the night when I’m feeding Benson! Don’t stop sharing with us.