Saturday, August 30, 2008

Speaking English part II

The other day the instructor was talking about the British way to pronounce something and asked "Any ex colonies represented here today?" Which got a laugh because... well, with the exception of the Brit, that's exactly what we are. Of course *after* the class I thought of several great come-backs ranging from "yeah, until we kicked your asses in 1776" to "and if it weren't for one of those ex-colonies we'd all be teaching German right now." But it's probably better that I just kept my mouth shut.

I love sitting next to the other American. Seriously, I feel very much like he's my little brother solely because we're from the same country. It's weird... I'll see a farang (white person) on the street or in the store and I automatically think "American" but that's virtually never the case. Most of the time I wait and then they'll start speaking French or Russian or whatever and I think "wow - not even native English speakers". I've overheard a few Brits here and there, and I finally ran into an American business man on the Songthaew. I was so excited when he started talking because I was like "He's from California!!!!!" and sure enough he mentioned something about L.A. and I was like "I knew it!" =) and chatted with him for a minute.

Anyway I love getting to work with the other American in class because we actually speak the same language. Today there was an exercise to try to find a sentence that meant 'he rushed' and also 'rushing wasn't necessary.' OA and I were stumped, we got as far as "He didn't have to rush." but couldn't quite get something that also expressed that he rushed anyway. Finally the whole class shared answers and the Brit piped up with "He needn't have rushed." and I was like "What was that????" It was a bit of a shock to hear "He needn't have rushed." being said by someone not in Jane Austen movie. But apparently they really say that.

Later on break I was sharing my pineapple (OMG - the sweetest, juiciest pineapple ever) and the Brit said something I didn't catch and then said "Just takin' the piss." and again I was like "What was that?" like - does he need the bathroom? He had to explain that "takin' the piss" or "takin' the Mickey" (I'd actually heard "take the Mickey" before) was just making fun... and that it's a big part of British humor.

But fortunately, it doesn't go all in one direction. We were talking about someone and he said "What's that 'All hat, no..." and I told him "All hat & no cattle." Which he repeated quite properly "Awl hat and no cat-tle." until I got him to say "Ahl hat & no caddle" ... it was really funny getting him to say "caddle."

It's going to be interesting to hear how we all sound by the end of this course!


Bezzie said...

Just the mere regional US pronounciations fascinate me. And you're getting the whole spectrum of English speaking variations!


Batty said...

Idioms fascinate me. Unless you have them explained by someone from a certain culture, they make absolutely no freaking sense. When I think "I'm pissed," I mean I'm angry. When a British person says "I'm pissed," they mean they're drunk. It's so weird.

Rebel said...

Bezzie... just wait until I start talking about 'International English." ;)

Batty - ditto, there's been more than one comment I've heard that I've had to have explained to me.

marissa said...

oh my gosh i forgot about that! i was so confused the first time some guy told me he was "just taking the piss out of" me...
i love english people! :)

Yankee in England said...

Yeah just imagine living it. I almost told some one off because he said Ta after I had done something nice. I did not realize it was Thank You shortened and took offence.

IamSusie said...

I hope you don't start talking like Madonna or Gillian Anderson!