Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Traveller Forecasted Doughnuts on the Kerb

Haven't we discussed this? We've discussed this.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, WORLD: the usage of alright is accepted by most in British English. Purists will gnash their teeth but so be it. It's the nonstandard abbreviation of all right.

You write tire, color, check. You add an "e" to my whisky. You think a man doesn't wear jumpers. Your knickers never get tied in a knot. You dreamed, I learnt. Your sulfur's been modernised (damnation less credible now I'm afraid). You don't know the joys of jacket potatoes eaten with cutlery. You don't wear fringes, plaits or plasters, you mix up my crisps and my chips, you've never queued in your life. My jewellery, encylycopaedia, catalogue? Your defense, pajamas, and enrollment. And yes, I still haven't forgotten you rent cars. CARS.

You darn, blasted and damn this, I bloody, bugger and sod it. You strove, I strived, we disagreed. We always will you know.

Alright then.


At 6/4/05 16:30, Blogger amyesq said...

Your entire post sounds like conversations I have in my house. My husband is from England and so we go around endlessly. My favorite is "herb" - oh, same word, verrry different pronunciations.

At 6/4/05 17:23, Blogger ThreeBees said...

Funny! That made me giggle! :)

At 6/4/05 18:22, Blogger Diana said...

But that's what makes anything British sound so funny and lovely to these yank ears. (We do hire people but have rent-a-cops, the for-hire security guards.) Indeed, cars are rented, along with houses. Alrighty? Alrighty then.

At 6/4/05 18:40, Blogger Ed said...

The frightening thing, though J, is when you hear your own British kids talking about garbage (instead of rubbish) or putting stuff in the trunk of the car (instead of the boot). ARRGGHH!!.
American TV shows have a lot to answer for.

At 6/4/05 18:43, Blogger Ed said...

Ha! And there I go myself talking about kids instead of children!

At 6/4/05 19:43, Blogger The Lioness said...

A., herb - would love to hear all of them, now I'm curious.

3B, well good, someone should be entertained w it all.

D, you sound like the McImpotent in Sex And The City. "Alrighty"!

E., I KNOW! You should hear me speak, it's as though I grew up w one leg on each side of the ocean, a bloody mess is what it is. Actually, you READ me, you know what I'm talking abt. Infective, invasive and pervasive! Gah.

At 6/4/05 19:52, Blogger Dale said...

I only get mad (excuse me, angry) about these things when one group is using its own dialect to lord it over some other group with a different dialect.

You know. A language is a dialect with an army.

Non-American English speakers have that sort of resentment of American dialect because Americans are at the high pitch of their empire and swaggering it. (Not to worry. With Mr Bush in command, our time in the sun will be very brief. He's breaking the bank, and he's seeding armies of pestilence that will strike our children yet unborn and unbegot.)

What English people often don't get is that non-English English-speakers are still traumatized by the supposed cultural superiority of England, and so they also resent being lorded over by the English, when they (the English) claim that their dialect is the true speech of the master race, and everything else is decadent corruption.

The whole thing is just silly, to anyone who has a historical perspective on language. Languages mutate, whether anyone likes it or not. French is decadent Latin, English is decadent Proto-Germanic, if you care to look at it that way. What business an egregious mongrel such as English (in any form) has, setting up for aristocratic purity, is beyond me.

(Incidentally, lest anyone assume otherwise, I love both English English and American English, not to mention every other English I've ever met, Canadian, Scots, Australian, and Texan included.)

At 7/4/05 05:36, Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

Many years ago when my dad was in the army (stationed in Berlin) he was approached by a British woman who asked him a question. He didn't understand her so he replied, "I'm sorry, but would you please say that again?" To which her indignant reply was, "You Americans have ruined the English language!" Ruined? That is a bit harsh.

I worked with a Quebec native who speaks French, but he is not well received by the French because his dialect is "impure". He explained how the French don't think Canadian French is "real French." I wonder how the French feel about Cajun?

My cousin, who lived in Germany for almost 10 years spoke fluent German. However, he was still an ugly American to many of the German people. I guess his Yankee accent was too hard to hide. So much for trying...

Chinese has around 7 or 8 different dialects! My old boss who spoke Mandarin (the most popular dialect) often scoffed at other Chinese dialects. No love for the home team!

American English may be a bit distasteful to people from other countries, but it is just as expressive and useful as the rest.

Then again, what do I know? I am just an ignroant slack-jawed yank.

At 7/4/05 06:37, Blogger brooksba said...

I enjoyed the post and had to even laugh at the fact that there are even so many different dialects within American English. When I went to the U of Minnesota, there used to be fights on Frat Row (the boy fraternity guys) about the correct words to use. They would fight between "Minnesota words" and "Wisconsin words."

I hope I don't drive you crazy in less than two weeks!

At 7/4/05 06:58, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

And now I understand.

At 7/4/05 07:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't soil your nappy!

have a chocolate biscuit, and put your wrapper in the bin. tomorrow the bin lorry will come for the rubbish. but not too many biscuits, there's a lovely pudding for dessert. and before that, aubergines!
xo tess

At 7/4/05 11:25, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Not mention riding the lift, opening the boot, and ringing you up. And the cheque is in the post.

By far the most confusing is when someone at a meeting says "let's table that," and half the participants think it means delay and the other half think it means talk about it right now.

At 8/4/05 14:42, Blogger CarpeDM said...

I love English English, especially slang. I also want to spell things with a u, just because I think it looks prettier. Such as honour, colour and petrol (yeah, I've done this joke before).

Beth and I "argue" over pop and soda. I say warsh when everyone around me says wash (which sounds so weird). I also borrow instead of lending.

I love the English language, American or English version doesn't matter.

Two weeks to go! I can't wait!

At 9/4/05 02:50, Blogger Kristin said...

Hehehe...another example is when the English wife of one of our Air Force officers told a Colonel (who was looking rather upset) to keep his pecker up. In England that meant keep his chin pecker means a body part MUCH further south.

I love this post.

At 9/4/05 08:59, Blogger The Lioness said...

Dale, we know a lot of Brazilian slang bcs of all the soap operas we have, but it sounds bizarre when one of us uses it. Nevermind that it's prettier when they speak it, it's too different. Also, they butcher the grammar, good God do they slay it! I suppose I feel the same way abt English, the telly and blogging have expose me to far more Am English and it's contagious and I'll sometimes say something and then think "What the hell was that?" - and see what I mean? Languages do mutate but it's not supposed to happen while I'm actually speaking them. It just sound very bizarre when I notice it. When I don't, I probably sound like a half-breed - but it's all right, I love my Harry. My point was, it's puzzling to be corrected for things that are not wrong. But American English is hardly a dialect of English. It's the same language w a big difference. And All Romance languages have that very obvious connection to Latin, and Dutch, which I love and sadly don't speak, sounds like a quilt of languages, based on German but far easier w a liberal dose of English and some French.

DM, I learnt you always lend money to someone, and they always borrow from you. What are you talking abt? Did they change it??

Bottom line, I'm not saying Brit Eng is best in absolute terms. It simply is the best for me. It's what I learnt first, my template, what I'm most comfortable with, as much as I love some American slang. It does feel wrong to fuck it up bcs I've been properly brainwashed. But fuck it up I further will, so no worries.


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