Friday, 15 February 2008

Αγγλικά για ξένους


The other day, Tracy revealed her "plan" to escape the hustle and bustle of life in the New World and to emigrate to England's Green and Pleasant Land. Having had a maths lesson the other day, I think we should try and learn some English today. British English. Like what the Queen speaks.

So here is my quick guide to British English:


Lesson 1: Making a Phone Call

This isn't difficult, but you must be very careful not to confuse the Telephone with the Television (see Lesson 2).

To make a telephone call, you can get on the blower. It is also known as the "dog and bone" (see Lesson 3).

Some posh bird on the blower

Important Tip: On no account suggest that your interlocutor "have a nice day". Remember, that, even though you may feel safe, Britain is "slightly smaller than Oregon", and you will be hunted down.


Lesson 2: Entertainment

These days, most households in Britain have one or more televisions. These are referred to as "the box", "the goggle box", or "the telly". The latter is never used to refer to a telephone (see Lesson 1).

A telly

Americans will find the lack of channels somewhat confusing, as there are only 5 channels, and not all of the country can recieve the fifth one. In some places (Wales), one of the other four is in Welsh.

Important Tip: Avoid Wales.

You may also find the content offensive. After 9pm ("the watershed"), programmes may contain nudity, swearing and violence. If you're lucky. Otherwise, it's the same old tripe you're used to at home.


Lesson 3: Rhyming Slang

This originated with Cockneys. The idea is that you take a phrase, for example, "Butcher's Hook", where the last word rhymes with the word that you mean ("look"), and then you use the first word, i.e. the one that doesn't rhyme. So, we say "take a butcher's" to mean "have a look".

In this system, Americans can be referred to as "Septics" (Septic tank = Yank), a woman's, er, assets as "Bristols" (Bristol City), and the term "Berk" is used as a mild or playful "insult", despite the fact that it's short for "Berkshire Hunt". "Cobbler's", which means "nonsense", apparently comes from "Cobbler's awls" = "balls" ("bollocks" means the same as "cobbler's").


Lesson 4: Regional Variations

There are a lot of these. Unfortunately, I don't know most of them. Common Yorkshire-isms include "owt" (anything), "nowt" (nothing, so "You don't get owt for nowt"), "tha" (you).

Verb usage is often different in regional use, so "I tried to learn 'im 'ow to talk proper, but 'e weren't 'aving none of it".


Lesson 5: Americans Abroad

Americanisms have been around as long as American English, and most people wouldn't realise that they're using them. It is now standard to spell words like "connection", instead of "connexion", people increasingly "meet with" others.

However, we still write "colour", "programme" (though not for a computer program), "tyre" (this is only on a vehicle).

Road terms is a whole subject in itself. However, remember to drive on the left, and to slow down at an amber traffic light - they change a lot quicker than in the US.

In light of 9/11, US authorities recommended that Americans keep a low profile when overseas. For example don't wear your baseball cap the wrong way round, and don't be loud.


I hope this gives you a flavour of our language. You shouldn't have too much problem communicating, as most Brits have watched enough Quentin Tarantino films to be able to understand US English...

27 comments:

Bee said...

FIRST!!!!

Jean Knee said...

damn you, Bee! will I never be first?

Bee said...

You know what? American English is the shizzle!

Bee said...

Sorry jean knee! :o)

Bee said...

I came over here before Lost and got all excited!

Jean Knee said...

When you said Some posh bird on the blower... I got chills, I really did

Bee said...

You and me both jean knee, you and me both!

Jean Knee said...

Lesson 3: Rhyming Slang

this was a bit blurry to me, I'll have to study it when , uh, I can

Jean Knee said...

Sometimes Brian can be so British.

Texas is big, and you'll get hunted down right quick for anything you may or may not have said


guess what? now the freakin owls hooting are keeping me up at night.

Bee said...

This is number 10...

Bee said...

11th!!
Woohoo! First and Eleventh!!

Brian o Vretanos said...

11th, and I wasn't around to stop you.

Bugger.

That'll teach me to put a post up just before I go to bed...

Dan said...

I'd like to take a moment and thank.

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
Ben Franklin

and anyone else I missed.

Dan said...

bee, you didn't tell me how to post. Send me instrucctions when you read this

Shrek Fan Club said...

watch...your...back...

Shrekk Attack said...

And... where... a... helmet...

Shrek Fan Club said...

We have no affiliation with Shrek Atytack....just look at that spelling

Shrekk Attack said...

Where's the love? Why you be hatin'?

Tracy said...

Brian,
I can't thank you enough for this very valuable lesson. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to re-read it several times to get it all to sink in.
If it makes you feel better, I have stop using the phrase "I'll call you on the tele" after our conversation the other day.
And do you all still have phones that look like the one in the posh picture? I've always wanted to talk on a phone like that. Oh I hope you do!

Shrek Fan Club said...

We are the official fan club of everything Shrek. We are tired opf being ripped off by wabbabe shrek lovers like yourselves. if there's even more than one of you, which I doubt.

We tired you sellin yo honky fake Shrek shirts down in China Town

Brian o Vretanos said...

Tracy:

We're actually reasonably hi-tech these days. Dial phones were banned many years ago, now. You do get retro phones like the one in the picture.

Jean Knee said...

I love how you keep on having conversations around us , like we aren't even here. Next you'll be saying it's your blog.......

Brian o Vretanos said...

Tracy:

Did you say something?

No?

Must have been the wind.

Jean Knee said...

the outrage!!
I won't be back here, humph!!!!













until tomorrow

Bee said...

No! jean knee come back! I'll talk to you! Me! I'll talk to you till you tell me to shut the 'ef up!

Jean Knee said...

Bee!!!!

Brian's trying to take over this blog.

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

You can be real trouble-maker some times ;-)

I might put another post up later. Right now, I'm trying to find out about the result of the Presidential elections. All the live feeds are too busy to accept connections...