About Me

My photo
The words are all mine, most of the pictures are not. Some of the words are not mine either.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

What Ch'oo Talking about?


Whilst reading an online forum (about Spiderman of all things) I came across a comment by (what I assume is an American) who asked the question “what does toss mean, and why would it be amusing to UK readers?”

The answers were without any attempt to instil any amount of humour or cheeky double entendre.
Shame really.

But this got me thinking and reminded me of what it was I wanted to write about last week but never got round to because of Mrs H and her bloody foot and hospital visits. (she is doing fine by the way)
Although we speak the same language across the water there are many differences between the usage of the English language.

The Americans have, as a matter of fact, mutilated our common tongue in many ways. And, unfortunately us Brits, for the most part (especially on this blog) are terrible at using what some call the greatest language in the world.

English is spoken all over the world (even in parts of Wales so I’m told) and often with superb accuracy and intelligence.

Quite often at the campsite, we have campers from different parts of Europe and even further, arrive and I am always astonished and humbled by how eloquent these guests to our little island can communicate in my mother tongue.

Most recently a young German girl (by young I mean early 20’s – which makes me feel very old at 32) by the name of Madaline came and wanted to stay for one night in a tent.
It was only because of the licence plate of her car that I had any inclination that she was not British. Her use of English was excellent. It wasn’t the broken worded point and shout style of communication I would be forced to resort to if I were abroad in another country.

No.

This was a fully involved, interesting, educational and fun chat. We talked about where she had been, how long she was in touring around the country for and where she was from.

I understood everything she said perfectly, and she could follow me if with my fat mouthed northern twang.

After showing her to her pitch and allowing her to settle for the evening I walked back and it struck me just how ignorant I am at not being able to speak or understand any other language other than my own.

I had French lessons and German at school. But the only thing I ever learnt back then was how to say my name (half of that sentence is my own name, so its not even slightly impressive to say that) and the other was how to get the cinema.

Learning how to ask when visiting a foreign country, where the cinema is, is possibly the most stupid thing to learn mainly because if I am unable to find my around a French town due to my inability to understand words then what the bloody hell am I going to do once I get into the cinema that will no doubt be showing French films, in French.

Even if they show US or English films the chances are they will be dubbed in French for the French because I will be in France.

That is why I never really learnt how to speak or understand other languages. The learning material was out of sync with real life. That and it was also around the time that I realised that girls were somehow more interesting than last term.

Quite often I will meet people from Germany, Holland, France, Italy and recently Iran who camp here and they all speak some form of English.

Not always perfect English, but they know enough to allow me to understand what they need which is more than I could ever do for them.

I am the ignorant one.

Yes, I could spend the time to learn how to speak other languages but I know that I won’t.
I have a great big bag full of lame and pathetic excuses ready to be used at any time – so don’t get me started on that one.

Maybe you speak another language and are able to converse with people from all over the world.
I can’t.

I’m rubbish.

But well done you.

So in conclusion: The English are mainly rubbish. We struggle to use our own words properly and say things like “like” all the time and even go as far to annunciate words with the wrong syntax by making every sentence sound like a question(?)

I hate that.

Other people from all over the world are much better at speaking English than the English.

Although the Americans are worse.

But they make better TV and films, and have better weather and sports and pride and the food is bigger.

12 comments:

  1. I quite agree Mr H... I will respond tomorrow it is rather late now.

    Nice to see you back at the helm, hope Mrs H is getting better.. let her know us bloggers were asking after her and wish her well...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Americans do make better tv, damn them! I want to like Australian tv, but I just can't do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite right. Neighbours was never the same after Bouncer died!

      Delete
  3. Hello Mr Hagain, Hagain? I mean Mr H again. I rather like Hagain is sounds like the name of a villain or a wizard, O god now I am sounding like Harry Potter and that would never do........ AH yes OK Hello again..

    Not sure I entirely agree about the films and TV I think that is down to money. Some of the programs I like are those really quirky things that only us Brits can do, thinks like Red Dwarf; the Americans wanted to do that but leave out the cat plus several other key elements on the grounds of they thought they were silly.

    As for language I am useless and get the English language confused enough without trying something like German or French although I am very aware that they all speak brilliant English and are seldom bitter and twisted by the fact we just assume they will speak to us in our language even when we are in their country. Even the classic of if you are not understood you say the same thing to them but shout seems to phase very few of them, but I think the reason for this is they think we British are all IDIOTS. I had a very similar conversation with a man with a very strong Indian accent who said his name was Brian just the other day, when he was telling me he worked for Windows Security and my computer had a virus. I tried to explain it was just a summer cold due to the wet weather and I had rubbed Vick on its chest (base unit), he got confused a bit too so I had to shout at him but to no avail.

    Sorry Mr H well side tracked with all that hope to see you back soon.

    Tally Ho pip pip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are quite right when saying our the good ol' US of A has more money to spend of tv shows, but only to certain point. I can't remember how many times a brilliant show has been cancelled because the men in suits have decided it wasn't making enough money (thinks Jericho, Journeyman, and many many others I can't remember beggining with J) but yea, Red Dwarf was extra special in its Britishness - although when money was spent on it in the later series it got a bit tired on poo.

      Wow, geeked out a bit there...

      Delete
  4. I understand. I always feel utterly ignorant that I can't speak another language, but I can't be arsed to learn. I am the definition of ignorance.

    Also, I've heard that English is a very easy language to learn, but the fact that there are so many different dialects and accents in England is the biggest stumbling block for any tourist. If you go 10 miles in any direction in England, you'll stumble across a different accent. In fact, when hospitals started taking on tons of migrant nurses about 10+ years ago, they had to give many of them lessons on the local accent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have given me a very interesting idea.... HOW TO SPEAK DIALECT ENGLISH - THE BUMFERRY HOGART WAY.

      geordi, scouse, manc, brumi, cockney, west country. hmm... will give this a try!

      Delete
  5. I pride myself on being able to speak both 'Urban' and 'street fluently,' which is essential when living in the East End.
    However I was somewhat taken aback when I heard a group of boys exclaiming quite loudly, that they were going to 'bang' some boy named Sean.
    Apparently 'bang' is 'Street' for fight and not the teen gay orgy that I at first thought...pity.

    Glad to hear the Mrs H is on the mend. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never got the hang of street talk myself. Its all very confusing and quite loud, and from what i can gather involves a lot of spitting.

      I don't do spitting.

      Delete
    2. No Hog roast for the punters on their last night then Mr H

      Delete
  6. Do the Septics make better telly though? DO THEY?!

    They made Family Guy.
    We made My Family.

    They made The Sheild.
    We made The Bill.

    They made The Walking Dead.
    We made Snog, Marry Avoid.

    So...erm..yeah. . Yes they do.

    ReplyDelete

How did this get here?