I mentioned in my last post that I am now something of an expert in "how to speak American". Occasionally I do find that the odd British word creeps into my speech, but on the whole I edit them out as I talk, substituting "store" for shop, "vacation" for holiday and "parking lot" for "car park". It makes me realise just how far I have come since moving here.
Of course we are all exposed to American words by TV and books (and I watched a lot of American TV growing up), so we think we are going to cope just fine, but there are some expressions, and pronounciations, you just don't get until you actually live here. One example is Thanksgiving. The emphasis is on the "giving", not on the "Thanks". I never knew that till I moved here, and I still get that one wrong. I can't pronounce "garage" the way they do, either - the emphasis on the "ahge", as in "marge".
Then there are some particular local words or expressions - by this I mean local to New York (or possibly even to Long Island). I thought I'd set a little quiz, below, to see how many Brits would understand them.
So, without any further ado, how would you interpret the following?
1."I was online for gas for two hours"
a) I was on the internet searching for gas providers to compare prices
b) I was waiting in the queue for petrol
c) I was on the phone trying to speak to the gas company.
2. "This woman cut me"
a) Someone attacked me with a knife.
b) I had my hair cut
c) Someone jumped the queue
3. "I was gonna have a yard sale, but then I realised it's Father's Day that weekend..."
a) I was going to sell my garden, but we are doing something for Father's Day
b) I was going to do sell something in my backyard, but my husband will not be able to help because it's Father's Day
c) I was going to put a lot of junk out in my front garden and sell it, but Father's Day is sacrosanct so no-one will come.
Answers revealed in the next post....