Sunday, 8 November 2009

Talk like an American

It's been an astonishingly beautiful day here; warm, summery and clear. We drove into Brooklyn, walked over Brooklyn Bridge, and picnicked on food from market stalls in the park below it (hot dogs for the Littleboys, lobster rolls for us. Everybody's happy.) Yes, picnicked in November. People keep telling me how cold it's going to get here, but at the moment the climate seems eerily benevolent.

Anyway, I'm guest posting over at Pond Parleys today about American words I still can't bring myself to say (movie, vacation, backyard and so forth) and those I've started to accept (like cookies, candy and standing in line...).

For those of you who don't know Pond Parleys, it's an excellent blog set up by Toni Hargis (British, aka Expat Mum, and living in Chicago) and Mike Harling (American, living in the UK), where they debate various subjects from both a US and UK point of view. Bill Bryson, eat your heart out.

Now excuse me, I've errands to run: gotta take out the trash ready for the garbage collection tomorrow, find a better hiding place for the Halloween candy, and then pop down to the store because we're out of liquor.....

13 comments:

conuly said...

Standing "in" line? Proof that over on Lawn Guyland they talk funny. Over in real New York (the only place in the world people talk right, naturally), we stand "on" line :P

Expat mum said...

Ooh, interesting point conuly. After almiost 20 years I'm still learning. I love it.
Also 70 degrees in Chicago - WTF? Not a good omen for the winter.

nappy valley girl said...

Conuly - you know, someone did talk to me about getting 'on'line and I thought they had got it wrong because surely 'online' means using the internet! How confusing.

Expat Mum - Does a warm November mean a harsh winter then? I have to say, it's wonderful at the moment.

Gill - That British Woman said...

the sad thing is eventually you'll end up using those words and not realising that you are doing it. The even sadder thing is when you have to think for a second what the British equivalent this, as you've forgotten it!!

Believe me I know!

Gill in Canada

Jenny said...

Hello! I've just found your blog from your guest post at Pond Parleys. I look forward to reading more. I am an American living in England with my English husband and two stepchildren. I've been here since March this year, and we're moving to Virginia next summer. I've already picked up tons of words, so it will be interesting to see my friends and family's reactions to all 4 of us using BritSpeak when we land.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Surely not out of liquor? You have got to be kidding, etc!

Vinogirl said...

With my family visiting from England right now, it is so refreshing to sing ABC with my 2 year old niece and finish it off with ZED, not a ZEE :)

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

Ah you'll miss those days when you're back in Britain. I love th efact that winters here are only 4mths (v do-able bu tlon genough wth no central heating) & that you still get those lovely blue sky days. In the UK the sun disappears in Oct & reappears in March it seems.
My daughter talks about what we will od 'ON the weekend'& has picked up loads of Americanisms. I can cope with those, it's the questioning tone to every sentence & statement I can't stand!

nappy valley girl said...

Gill - I hope it won't happen, as we're only here three years. But it probably will....

Jenny - I have an English friend here who claims her kids' friends pick up British expressions from her household. Good luck with your move to Virginia - I'm jealous, love it down there.

Angels&Urchins - yes, terrible isn't it? This is what happens when they don't sell wine at the supermarket...

Vinogirl - I'm actually OK with Zee, having grown up with Sesame Street - see my next post...

Paradise Lost - yes, 'on the weekend' is annoying. But then they'll say 'see you Thursday' rather than 'see you on Thursday'. Weird.....

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

Thanks Nappy Valley Girl. I grew up there and all my family is there. It'll be the first time the children have been to the US, and only the second time for my husband. It's a bit of a change from the city life they are use to, but we're really looking forward to it.

conuly said...

NVG, the truth is that in NYC we haven't had a winter for the past three years. Barely any snow - nothing that sticks past a day - and late warm weather.

We also haven't had any real spring or summer for two years running - lots of clouds. Well, you were here this summer.

The on line thing is a real NYC shibboleth - I think we're the only ones who say it that way (that is to say, the *correct* way). But yeah, you can look it up on a dialect map, it's considered a marked feature of NYC speech. It may be fading now that online has a meaning of "on the internet".

Anonymous said...

I'm a Canadian ex-pat living in?/on? Long Island. I've been here 8 years and still am not used to the language used here. I was educated in British schools in Canada and still use many British pronounciations and spellings. In fact, I may have a bit of a Canadian lilt to my voice, but Americans still think I'm British or Irish.

I find myself more confused than ever with word pronounciations, and my son (now 15) are constantly arguing over spelling and grammar. I'm almost afraid to speak or write anymore, lol.

Best,

Christine