English and English; English speakers the world over speak it, but for some reason things get . . . misunderstood and confused. I’ve noticed it a lot lately, guess that’s why I’m blogging it, and most recently with my fab friend Snuggles who asked me what “bangs” are. At a bit of a loss (you try to explain that one succinctly), I sent this picture:
And said that it was the way her hair was cut short in the front and hanging down on her forehead. To which she replied: FRINGE. Well, huh. Fringe goes on those crazy suede vests with the dangly . . . fringe. THIS is fringe:
And it’s horrible (unless any of you, my dear friends own any, in which case, it’s delightful, a unique fashion statement and even quite charming).
So this got me thinking about other instances of late. For example, Amber recently blogged on her bilingual son and his refusal to call a garbage truck anything other than a bin lorry (seems he’s not all that bilingual when it comes to sanitation workers’ transportation). And Tally who thinks (not erroneously) that cotton candy is called “candy floss,” but when I hear “floss” all I think of is dental floss (or butt floss, but I don’t want to be rude). I had to ask Ali what a “bottle shop” was (it’s a liquor store for those not in the know); when I was trying to explain being run over, I said “pedestrian crossing” or “walkway” and apparently it’s “zebra crossing” over there; and I’ve asked almost all of you at one time or another to translate your English to . . . well, English.
Then there are “jumpers” which I think might be sweaters (not button downs, though, those are cardigans; um, I think), I’m still not really sure what a “brace” is, and one of my faves is “mobile” which is what we call our cell phones, what makes it so fab is that even when Americans say it, it HAS to be mo-bile, the “ile” part pronounced as in “isle” or “aisle.” It sounds perfectly normal and good on British people but sounds so funny and not a little pretentious and just plain odd on an American. But I think that’s true of lots of Brit terms that Americans use (not counting, of course, Americans actually IN the UK—the second I get in British air space, I start saying “telly,” “brolly,” “loo,” and “tomato” (as you say it, not as I say it) and very often just shout these out as if I have tourettes.). I just think it’s cute to hear “blah blah blah” in American and then all of a sudden and replete with English newscaster voice “jolly good blah blah blah” (the blah blah is back in American, usually with that tell-tale twang). It’s just cute. And always makes me smile. Much to the speaker’s confusion at times.
But I get that same smile at times, as well. Living in New England and occasionally letting a “ya’ll” slip out is bound to elicit that smile (along with a sad look full of pity that I’m likely to be slightly retarded and almost certainly inbred), but there are some New England terms I refuse to utter, “carriage,” being one of them. This is said very nasally and with emphasis on the “cah” at the beginning, sounds sharp and a bit . . . well, nasty to my ear. It’s a friggin’ grocery cart (or just “cart”), anyway. Or what do you call those wheeled wire or plastic devices one uses in supermarkets to contain one’s shopping until it’s paid for; these are also often rolled out to the car where one will place one’s items in the trunk . . . er, boot.
For the funniest list of English words and their “American” translations click HERE to go to Tally’s blog on same.
Although I didn’t take the first pic, I do have one that is surprisingly similar. When I’m on vacay (aka vacation or holiday), I often will take photos of everyday things that are quite different than my version of that everyday thing. As here, we have yellow “yield” signs that I’m assuming send the same message to drivers, so this was well worth the pic to my mind. I have at least a hundred shots of thatched roofs. Kind of regret that actually, as one or two would have done just fine.