7/24/2009

Differences...

I would have thought that after three years, I would have quit noticing differences, but new ones spring up now and then. And then there are the ones that just stick in the back of my head for the sole purpose of interrupting the other thoughts in the front of my head. And most of these come from American TV programs.

Like CV. I never heard of a CV until I got to NZ. I have always used the term 'resume'. All my life. And everybody I know has, too. And then, a few days ago on an American show, I heard someone use the term CV, like it's always been correct. When did that happen?

Then again, BBC documentaries often describe lengths in feet instead of meters. I can understand it better in feet and inches, but my poor brain expects to hear meters (actually, metres).

TVs are advertised in inches. Don't centimeters work?

I had a hard time remembering that a 'napkin' is a 'serviette'. Those stuffy British roots always make things hard. It even has more syllables to remember.

So why is the 'mobile' in mobile phone is pronounced 'MO-bile (long I)' here? *Sigh* And I thought I was anal.

I can understand that Colonists wanted to be 'different' from the English and changed the spelling of many words. But 'curb' spelled 'kerb' is just weird.

And then there are the past tense words--with the 'ed' in the US. Sometimes they used 'ed' here and sometimes it's just a 't'. Like 'equipt'.

My whole concept of correct English was shattered when I heard several imported Brits us the word 'et'. I was taught that only uneducated redneck hillbillies use that word. Hmmm.

And speaking of British English (and I am somewhat of an expert since I live with a Brit) I find it giggly that they cannot pronounce words ending with a vowel without adding an 'r' sound to it. Like 'plasma' would sound like 'plasmer'. But, on the other side of that same coin, they don't pronounce the final 'r' on words. Weird.

And who decided that you could 'shout' somebody lunch? No, it's not producing a meal by speaking loudly. It's paying. (From the times that pubs closed at 5 o'clock and you had to shout to get your order end before closing time.)

And now you have a glimpse into my strange world. Which explains the description in my header.

15 comments:

Marja said...

I learned British english at school and couldn't understand the english here in the beginning The english say yes Here They say yis
I still don't understand many expressions I think that is the hardest to learn
CV is actually used widely in Europe
It is latin and means course of life. English,Dutch and other languages have many latin based words

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Word Usage fascinates me, Betty... I have always been a southern girl--and have lived in the south all of my life. However, even 'southern talk' is different from one state to another. Louisiana has its own lingo.. So does Texas... And now I'm in Tennessee... Ye Gads---so interesting.

Thanks!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Connie said...

I have always thought that Southern US English was closer to British English than any other US dialect.

I am from Florider, when I was in the UK, I had tyres on my car. I had to get used to people taken to hospital (not 'to the') after becoming 'seriously ill' following an accident... what? did they get knocked out of their car, perfectly fine... until they landed in that vat of eColi bacteria? And speaking of knocked... knocking someone up had a totally different meaning than in the US! ;D

El said...

Maybe I'm too much the Anglophile but "trainers" sounds so much better than "sneakers" (and makes more sense, too!) and "dessert" is dull compared to "pudding."
As for CV it is used in America in academia, that I know for sure, and possibly in the medical profession.
"Ta ta, Betty!" (downright poetic next to "see ya")

ellievellie said...

English is a foreign language for me. Back in Bulgaria we learned British English at school. When I came to the USA I thought I speak the language. The problem was - I couldn't understand a word people spoke to me. English in the Appalachia is very different from British. It took me a year to start getting it. There was a woman who I met in the store recently. She started laughing - she said I speak southern drawl with foreign accent - something she was witnessing for a first time in her life :)After all I live in the Carolinas for almost 10 years now. When I went back to Europe for vacation - I realized I have trouble listening to Euro News - had to adjust again :)

Bonnie Bonsai said...

I actually find the difference between the American and the British system challenging and interesting. Thankfully, when I was in high school which I happened to spend in a Catholic School, we were taught of the extreme parity of these two super countries including the spoken language and the spelling.

Coming to Australia that belongs to the Commonwealth (Britain) confirmed that brief knowledge.

Australians commented that I speak American English because of the way I emphasize the rounding "R" in wateR, believeR, RiveR and anything that ends with R.

Lots to learn of the new culture I have adopted. Am still not getting there but I do get along with them.

Nice post for language observation. :)

Unknown Mami said...

Truly fascinating.

theselfloveproject said...

i know..i speak brtish kinda english..(indianized version...lol!

i live in us...lol

Juli Ryan said...

This topic is endlessly fascinating to both me and my (Kiwi) husband. Love your post!

Sarah said...

I am always fascinated by different spellings and pronounciations of the English language. Growing up in the UK I am very used to different dialects and the never ending amusement this brings. And now, after 12 year's of living in NZ, I am still asked, 'Are you having a good holiday?' or 'How long have you been here?' - I clearly haven't lost my very Hampshire, British accent!

Thank you so much for sharing your personal insights and differences! As for CV - it is widely used in Britain - short for curriculum vitae. I have never used 'resume'.

The biggest spoken language hurdle I found on arriving here was the frequent use of upward inclination at the end of sentences. Everything sounded like a question. I have adjusted to this now and do occasionally let myself slip into this habit (oh deary me).

Thanks for dropping by my blog. Now our 'cyber' paths have crossed I shall looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

Best wishes, Sarah

PeeJay said...

Great post! I'll be reading your blog more in the future, having just found it.
I'm English, living on the South Coast of England and have to say that there are huge language differences within the different regions of England, let alone the rest of the British Isles and the other English speaking nations! British English is different to American English in many ways and so is, to some extent, the Antipodian English.
Off to check the rest of your blog now .....

Lorac said...

My Mother came over to Canada as a war bride from London. When I started kindergarten the teacher asked to speak to my Mother about my pronunciation. Apparently I was having difficulties. When my Mother showed up to the interview I was told she was a little taken back, not realizing my Mother was British. Apparently the teacher thought I was feigning an accent and not trying the pronunciation correctly. I had picked up a little of the extra "r" in the parm of my hand.Definitely not form my Farther! LOL

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I enjoyed this post, as I am always curious about word origins and usage.

I used to think CV was a bit pretentious ... then I started using it in place of "resume" :)

Jamey said...

Wonderful post. I will be coming back and doing some more reading here. :)

Fi said...

I still argue with my English husband about pronounciation! He says yog-urt, I say yo-gurt; he says orkshin, I say ok-shin (for auction), he says skown, I say skon (for scone)

I love how English is so diverse :)