20 November 2010

Lost in Translation

I had a moment in class the other day that was surprisingly annoying. The girl with whom I share all of my classes made a comment that I don't speak English -- I instead speak "American." I chose to reign in my big, loud, American mouth and refrain from sharing what was on my mind: "Wow, apparently we speak a different language. That's impressive, since I understand her fine." Little frustrating, considering I would instead argue for American-English as a distinctly unique regional dialect of the English language and not a language all on its own. And this got me thinking about those little language differences that get a bit lost.

1.) Pants here do not equal jeans or trousers. Pants are instead referring to your underwear. So when an American unknowingly exclaims, "My pants are wet," most likely they will garner juvenile giggling from passersby.

2.) Tea often refers to dinner and not always to the hot beverage. Also, pudding is a phrase used for all desserts. So one would first have their tea (chicken and rice) and pudding (cookie) for their evening meal.

3.) Aluminum is straight up spelled differently here. Here, it is aluminium, and your neglect of the extra 'i' can really throw people off.

4.) The word 'fanny' is particularly hilarious. In the US, 'fanny' is a seemingly childlike name for a person's rear end. In the UK, however, 'fanny' is a slightly derogatory word for a woman's...erm...'lady bits.' So be aware and refer to your fanny pack as the more appropriate 'Bum Bag.'

5.) Floors are numbered differently here. The 1st floor actually refers to the ground floor. So I live on the 2nd floor of my building, which would be the 3rd floor in the US.

6.) A cigarette is called a fag here -- which, frankly, was hard for me to even type let alone say. I was aware of this one before, but it was still a shock to hear it actually said aloud.

7.) If you say 'Z' here, they tend to look at you with a completely blank face. "You know...the last letter of the alphabet?"....."Oh, you mean Zed?" What is this 'zed' you speak of? That's not in my ABC's!

8.) This one just makes me happy inside: instead of cross-walk, they say zebra crossing. Too cute!

1 comment:

  1. hahahah i love this post. not only was i proud that i knew each and every one of these i did indeed say my pants are wet and got EXTREMELY embarrassed! haha remember when Mike Dooley told Catriona he fell on his fanny hahahahahahaha

    also..that girl is lame. you should have told her with your big american mouth to shove it.

    hope you have a wonderful time in barcelona! i cant wait to hear all about it!