04 November, 2011

Learning the Language

I know I've done a few blog posts on the language differences between the UK and the USA, and here's another!

Today's post is inspired by this morning's weather.  And my stomach.

"I looked out my window this morning to see that it was absolutely pissing down.  I knew that I would be wearing my wellies today, and was a little sad that I had forgotten to bring my brolly home.  It was one of those chilly mornings where a bacon sarny would really hit the spot.  Instead I settled for my usual yoghurt.  My thoughts turned to lunch as I passed the chippy in Gloucester Road, and then I rounded off my thoughts on what the day's meals would be by considering this evening's tea."

Translation:
"I looked out my window this morning to see that it was absolutely raining cats and dogs.  I knew that I would be wearing my rain boots today, and was a little sad that I had forgotten to bring my umbrella home.  It was one of those chilly mornings where a bacon sandwich would really hit the spot.  Instead I settled for my usual yogurt.  My thoughts turned to lunch as I passed the fish and chip shop on Gloucester Road, and then I rounded off my thoughts on what the day's meals would be by considering this evening's supper."

So, to sum up today's lesson, words to do with rainy weather have endearing nicknames, I think so that the weather doesn't get you down.  Actually, the food words have nicknames, too.  I hope it's common knowledge that British spellings include more letters than American spellings.  Yes, we are two countries divided by our common language.  And yes, English is a complex, evolving language made of a composite of other older languages, showing its roots that come from abroad and using an alphabet that doesn't perfectly suit the language (pronounce 'dough', 'through' and 'enough'), but I'm still adjusting to the silent h in the word we all pronounce as 'yogurt'.

And finally tea=supper/dinner.  I once told a friend I was later going to eat dinner with that I had bought tea.  Let me tell you, when I arrived at his house and he asked what we were having for supper and I said I didn't know and he said that I should since I had bought it and I said I hadn't bought anything, confusion ensued.  I had literally bought a box of English breakfast tea (I think that's black tea to many of us).  I don't have an answer for why the meal that many people call supper is called tea by others.  I'm open to suggestions.

Also, to those in Paris this weekend, here's a bit of "French" that should see you through to Sunday: "Puis-je s'il vous plaît ont 53 croissants?" and "Frankreich ist nicht so gut wie Deutschland.  Wir sollen nach Berlin gefahren!"

-Claire

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