Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Talk Funny

Now that I've been living abroad for three years, I've picked up some oddities in my language. Some of it's pronunciation but most of it is vocabulary and some is even grammar.

When you're an English teacher, you tend to simplify your language as much as possible and also really enunciate. Now, believe me, I still talk hella fast when I'm not talking to students (or to higher-level students), and I do not enunciate if it's not necessary. I'm from the South.

That said, I never truly sounded like a Texan. Sure, there are moments when I'm drunk or talking to my mother (and certainly when those two things occur simultaneously) that I sound like a true Texan. And yes, I've always said "Y'all."

It's a really convenient word. So gender neutral and all encompassing.

Anyway, over the years, and particularly while I've been living in Europe, some slight differences have slipped their way into my every day conversations. Some of my friends tell me that I sound more "European." I have no idea what that means since 90% of Europeans are not native English speakers.

So below is a list that might help you decipher what the hell I'm talking about next time we have a conversation.

flat - What the British and most Europeans use to refer to their apartment. I currently live in a 5-bedroom flat with 4 other people, among them a British guy.

flatmates - After referring to said British guy as my roommate he hastily corrected me and clarified that we're merely flatmates. I was confused. Apparently in these parts those are different things. To me, this is like saying apartment-mates and seems unnecessarily convoluted. However, I now comply so as not to confuse. God forbid anyone think I share my bedroom with someone.

have/has... got - In America we would say, "Do you have a pencil?"  or "I don't have any change on me." Now all of a sudden I find myself asking, "Have you got a pencil?" and saying things like, "Oh, I haven't got any change on me." This is what happens when you teach a British English curriculum.

football - This is probably the most difficult for me to admit to. Nowadays, I find myself saying football when I actually mean soccer and clarifying with 'American football' when I'm talking about a sport I actually care about. The Texan spirit inside of me feels like this guy:

match - When talking about 'football' I have to remember it's a football match, not a football game. Sometimes this helps to clarify when I forget to say American football. Obviously, if I've said football match, I'm actually talking about soccer and not my beloved favorite sport.

holiday - As in I'm going on holiday to Rome this week. Not vacation. Holiday. This gets really confusing because you can go on holiday during holidays such as Christmas or Easter.

Aiyo - This is actually Chinese. Well... Taiwanese-Chinese. It's just an exclamation, sort of like...

Ježíši! - Which is Czech. Sometimes they also say, Ježíš Marja!, which is like us saying, "Jesus Mary and Joseph!" Except this is the Czech Republic and people don't get their panties in a twist when you say this. It's quite commonplace for a 3-year-old to say Ježíš!

Tak - Czech. It basically means, "So" or "Ok" and is essentially filler. I use it A LOT now. "Tak, let's play a game!"

I'm sure there are plenty of others but these are the ones that I use the most or that I can think of. Any one else have any good ones?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have any thoughts on this post? Let me hear it!