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.
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.
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.
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.