Sunday, 3 January 2010

Two peoples divided by a common language...

While there are many differences between English and 'American' English, I've been going out with Mrs RS long enough that we both converse in a hybrid of the two. I'll say sidewalk, social security and 'go for a smoke', and she'll say pavement, national insurance and 'go for a fag'.

Or we'll use a mixture, it's not exactly hard.

Or so I thought.

Mrs RS has a neighbour on the same floor as she is and about the same age - however this girl is as Brooklyn as they come, had a orthodox Jewish upbringing and is clearly bug-a-lugs mental. She also cannot understand English, despite not speaking any other language. I thought it was my accent, but it really isn't.

The first night I was here she knocked on the door to return something of Mrs RS' and as she left I said 'cheers!'

She stopped, came back to the door and said "what does 'cheers' mean?"

I was slightly taken aback, I mean I could've sworn that word was in the American English dictionary. In fact I could've sworn that the longest running TV programme ever (or something) was'Cheers'.

Clearly I was mistaken.

The next night she again knocked on the door to drop off a box that the postman/mailman had delivered. Being pre-christmas I exclaimed "Great! We have a parcel."

She looked at me blankly. "A whut?"

"A parcel," I replied cautiously.

"Ya know," she informed me, "I jus' don' understand ya language."

That's me told.


St Jude said...

Thas nowt so queer as folk! When I moved to the South of England I thought they were all slightly hard of hearing had to keep asking me to repeat myself, turns out they couldn't understand what I was saying, they kept referring to me as the Scots lady... I'm from Yorkshire.

P said...

Hahaha, that made me laugh. I don't think it's a language barrier anyway. think she might just be thick.

Cheeks said...

I give you props on being able to understand a Brooklyn accent.

Have you ever talked with someone from Louisiana who has a thick southern cajun accent? It's like you've entered another solar system.

Roaring Lion of Two Fisted Cool said...

Odd, I just told someone they should blog about how lucky you English are to have 'cheers' in your repetoire. It's such a good way of ending conversations. Way better than 'later'.

Kevin Musgrove said...

I suspect New York is like London: if it doesn't relate to the local conditions and patois it can't possibly be English that you're speaking.

The folks out in the rural Mid-West can generally cope perfectly well with us.

Anonymous said...

Well maybe you were just rat-arsed at the time Squirrel, d'you ever think of THAT? Hell, most people wouldn't understand you. :)

Cheers isn't a term that's used here in the Americas unless you're toasting someone and unless you were toting a huge glass of wine or something she probably thought "...the fuck?" Of course, this was YOU therefore you probably WERE toting a giant glass of something so maybe she's just a touch retarded.

Parcel though? Who doesn't know what a parcel is? Holy shit.

Pearl said...

She's not heard of "cheers"? She's never heard of a parcel?

I don't think it's the being American part that keeps her from these words. I think it's the Not Reading part. Sheesh!


weenie said...

I recall going to China one time with a bunch of friends. Most of us were from Manchester or Leeds. We overhead the English-speaking tourguide telling the bus driver that she didn't know what language we were speaking but it sometimes sounded a bit like English...

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...
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Red Squirrel said...

St Jude - southerners haven't got a clue have they? :)

P - I think you are entirely correct!

Cheeks - never conversed with a thick Cajun accent. I found Georgia bad enough...

RLOTFC - it is a nice and cheery way to part isn't it?

Kevin - I think P had it right, she's just a bit thick :)

Veggie - I'm pretty certain I wasn't toting anything at the time. Although my memory is vague enough about that week that it is possible.

But parcel? Yes, indeedy.

Pearl - I don't think the upbringing helped - it's not the broadest of educations with regards to the real world....

weenie - Happy New Year to you too :)

Welcome back :-P