Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lost In Translation?

A copy of the 2001 edition of NODEImage via Wikipedia

Don't you just LOVE the English language? I have heard it said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn... But what happens if you start throwing different forms of the English language into the mix?

South African English; American English; Australian English; British English....can you even get British English???

Well, having lived in four different countries myself, I can indeed agree that there are many forms of the English language.

Case in point......when living briefly in the UK, we called running shoes "plimsolls', later I moved to South Africa, and they were called "tekkies", and now I find myself calling them "sneakers". I have since heard from my sister in the UK that they are no longer called "plimsolls", but "trainers"! Enough already!

When we informed everyone in South Africa of our impending move to the States, one of the first reactions we got was....." Well, at least they speak English there."
I am beginning to realise, however, that we are in for some interesting conversations! Let me begin with just a few differences in our mother tongue.......
  • If you were to ask for a biscuit, you'd get a scone.
  • If you ask for a cookie, you'd get a cup-cake.
  • A garden is a yard here, and the flower-bed is the garden!
  • We call it a road, here it's called a pavement.
  • What we call the pavement, is called the sidewalk!
  • Don't ask for the public toilets here, you'll get a funny it's the restrooms.
  • Jelly is now called Jello, while Jam is now Jelly.
  • Our pancakes are their crepes, and our crumpets are their pancakes!
  • We would order a take-away hamburger, here you'd order a hamburger to-go.
  • Don't try and make a reservation, it's now a call-ahead.
  • You don't go on holiday, you go on vacation; you don't fetch the post, you fetch the mail and you don't have break at school, you have recess.

and last but not least......

  • Don't say you're going to the the beach in your costume, because they'll think you're going in a Halloween costume or it a bathing suit!

I think that's enough to give you the general idea of how sometimes the things we say...... just get......lost in translation!

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1 comment:

Melinda said...

I love your blog!!! I found it on the expat blog site and think it is really great. I love to hear what people think about the USA. Oh I am Melinda by the way! Sorry I forgot to introduce myself :) I am orignally from the Los Angeles area but now live in Switzerland.

Anyways .. I just wanted to make a comment about your english language blog and have to agree with you that there are MANY different "english languages." And I am sure by living in Texas and just had visited Vermont, that you have noticed there are different American English languages as well! :) haha!

Anywho .. I hope you enjoy your time in the states and are able to travel around to the other surrounding area and states as well!