Being British and married to an American it’s not unusual for us to debate language… In particular the pronunciation of certain words…or just ‘anything with an ‘A’’ as my husband often says.
He says Ass, I say ARse
He says pAss, I say pARss
He says lAst, I say lARst
One that always makes me l(AR)ugh is the way he says hOrrible. He says whore-able so I always make fun of him for that one; I say patronise while he says pate-ronise -like patriot which he always uses as his argument for being right on that one. (I realise from the examples I’ve used it seems like we don’t say many NICE things to each other lol but that’s not the case)
We have fun with it, its not unusual for him to pick up on a word or phrase I’ve said in my accent…and then mimic it…in the worst cockney accent EVER. In fact, when we first met he would frequently say the words ‘guvnor’ and ‘me lord’ in THAT cockney voice – terrible. I mean WHO – apart from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins- sounds like that?? To get him back I’ll do my best American accent and reply with ‘totally aweeesuuuummm’ or (my favourite) ‘don’t you thiiiink, this is kiiiiiiinnd or ridiculouuuus?’ However my American accent sounds like a reeeally camp Lloyd Grossman (Google him) …the total opposite of my husbands deep Mississippi twang.
Aside from pronunciation and accents…(Not to mention the spelling…but don’t get me started on spelling!!) there’s also the complete replacement of certain words. Pants instead of trousers, trash or garbage instead of rubbish…cart instead of trolley…At first it was amusing, endearing and a novelty but after a while you adapt, it merges and it becomes part of your own language. I will often purposely say the american version i.e. are your ‘pants’ (meaning jeans) clean or dirty? -If only to make life easier and to avoid having to clarify which word I mean every time I say something but the whole ‘as in pants pants? or underwear pants?’ conversation still happens because he assumes I’m going to be stubborn and stick to ‘my’ words. *sigh* I may as well say it MY way every time.
There are a few things I flat out refuse to say and vow I will never convert to. I will NEVER call crisps… ‘chips’ (thankfully I don’t eat them often enough to ever warrant me having to ask for them in public) I will NEVER call my bum my ‘fanny’ (eurgh) and I will NEVER call jam ‘jelly’…he feels the same about saying some of ‘his words’ my way…and neither of us call cigarettes ‘fags’ so I think that’s a fair compromise.
I do often forget that he’s American and I’m not…or that I’m British and he’s not… because hearing it everyday becomes the norm. Its only when we confuse each other with alien vocabulary or one of his American friends asks me to say a certain word in ‘my accent’ *rolls eyes* that I’m reminded of the difference…I’m sure one day my accent will fuse into the British/American slur that I have managed to avoid so far and those friends will stop asking…so for now I’m embracing our differences and MY British words in MY British accent…
More tea me-lord?
- Language Barrier (Part 1) (threeladiesandtheirbabies.wordpress.com)
- Why A Lot Of Film Villains Are British (niftyfilms.wordpress.com)
- How to Fake an Accent and Get Away With It (patrickcox.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge: A Manner of Speaking (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- Speaking Globish (ofwordsandworlds.wordpress.com)
- Is it wrong for a person to change their accent? (guardian.co.uk)