Lost in Translation
Image source The Guardian
So…I’m new to marlo, I’m new to Boston, in fact I’m new to America. Moving over here from the UK ten months ago has been quite an experience. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how friendly and obliging the Yanks (you don’t mind if I call you that?) are. Wherever I’ve gone my accent has been met with enthusiasm and friendly responses…and often a little confusion. I’m beginning to realize that sharing a language does not mean we necessarily understand each other. Even now I look back at my last sentence and scowl when I notice a ‘z’ has been dropped into ‘realise’, but that is spelling and another matter completely. Anyway I digress, but I’ve often found myself desperately searching for the American word for something, while my brain is reluctant to admit anything other than the English equivalent. Case in point – telling the ‘cable guy’ our Internet connection could be found in the ‘cupboard’, he did not know where I meant, until I directed him to the ‘closet’.
I’ve also discovered that certain happy English phrases haven’t yet made it across the pond so here is my attempt to get a few recognised over here (or ‘give props to’, as I’ve heard!):
Knickers in a twist = getting upset about something
Higgledy piggledy = all messed up
Watch out for chavs = beware those undesirable people
Not on your nelly = No, I won’t do that
Making a brew = Turning the kettle on, to make a cup of tea
Gert Lush (specific to the south west of England) = very lovely
Give it some welly = Try your very best
For further examples of how to talk ‘British’, check out this rather comprehensive index.
So, here’s hoping that this is the start of a mini-language-revolution in Boston, but if it’s not, don’t worry, I won’t get my knickers in a twist!
Posted by Hilary