Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Do You Speak NY? The results...

So the results of my quiz, as most people guessed correctly, were b), c) and c)

I know the first one was hard. This was taken directly from a comment by a neighbour last week. We were discussing Hurricane Sandy and how long the queues were at petrol stations at the time. One of the things that really foxed me when I moved here was how people taking about being "online" as opposed to be "in line". So when you queue up at the post office or DMV, you get "online". I had a ridiculous conversation here with a friend four years ago when she didn't understand that what I meant by the fact that The Doctor had been "queuing up" to his social security number. "You mean he was online"? she asked. "No, not on the internet, acutally queuing up in person," I kept insisting, while she looked at me as if I was crazy.

The cutting one is easier, but I still didn't know what my son meant two years when we were standing in line for a water slide and he cried "Mummy, that boy is cutting me!" I was horrified before realising that someone had just pushed in.

As for the third, I think most people do know what a yard sale is, but I had to laugh when my neighbour said exactly that about Father's Day last week. I still can't get over how Mother's Day and Father's Day are almost public holidays here. Even the local library is closed for Father's Day, and woe betide anyone who organises a party on Mother's Day, as I once did.

As for "come with" and "visit with", I would say these are less common in New York - or at least, I haven't particularly noticed them.

I will leave you with an amusing moment that occurred at Book Club last night.  Someone mentioned that the chocolates they had brought "came from a chocolate store in Bayonne". "You mean Bayonne, France?" asked my Australian friend (who lived in London previously). All the Americans roared with laughter. "No, Bayonne in New Jersey," the girl said - which, apparently, is a rather grimy suburb just across the Hudson. No matter how long you live somewhere, when you aren't local, you'll always get caught out....


8 comments:

Clare Taylor said...

We are surrounded by American culture here so I've made many of the same changes to my own vocabulary. Mind you, some 'English-isms' I have held on to, just to remind people I am actually from the UK... (and proud of it)

Expat mum said...

And did you know 'yard sale' is also ski-speak? If you have a yard sale you fall and lose half your gear, and if you have a garage sale you lose skis, poles, everything! (Or it could be vice versa - what do I know?)

Iota said...

Remind me what the DMV is?

That's really confusing, that online can mean "in a queue" or "on the internet". Not surprised it foxed you.

MsCaroline said...

I've heard 'online' before, but I think it's a regional thing - most people I know stand 'in' line and many people I know use 'queue' - but that may be an expat thing. Also, I've always used 'cutting' in conjunction with 'in line'- never heard it used as an intransitive verb before! I also saw the comments from your last post (I didn't take the quiz since I figured I had an unfair advantage) and wanted to point out that the use of 'come with' in parts of the midwest that EM mentioned is actually influenced by the large number of German-speaking settlers in that part of the country. That construction ('kommst du mit?') is commonly used in German and doesn't require a direct object (Are you coming with us/me/him?) as in standard English. It makes sense that this would be common in South Africa, too, since a lot of structures in Afrikaans are similar to those in German and may have sneaked in over time. (Gosh, I just realized how incredibly nerdy this sounds. I guess it's not that hard to tell I'm a linguist.)

Nota Bene said...

We'll sort'em out once they're a colony again...

nappy valley girl said...

Clare - I hold on to some too; there are some American words I am just not prepared to use...

Expat Mum - never heard that, but it's hilarious!

Iota - Department for Motor Vehicles. Somewhere I hope I never have to visit again.

MsCaroline - Please carry on! I love your explanations, they are fascinating. I love linguistics too.

NB - You'll have the FBI after you with that kind of comment...

About Last Weekend said...

Yes I have loads of yard sales on the snow. Not heard of Online here - just queuing and loads of concern from the kids about "cutting" the q, which is almost a crime.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

I don't ever remember 'online' as a term to mean 'in a line'. Not a thing in Minnesota I'll guess. And that's part of the difficulty in a new country--you learn it all in one plave then travel to another part and it's all got to be relearned!