Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lingo of the Gringo

Sitting here in the hostel watching Californication, a part of the show came on that talked about the fact that nobody talks to each other anymore, it's all about the texting and IM'ing. I can say, without a doubt, that I don't miss any of that. In the past eight months my typing has been limited to this blog and the rare email, thankfully. Back home I was guilty of the texting craze, but being out here has definitely made me preferable to the old face-to-face. Real conversation that you can't delay for a minute while you think of the wittiest response possible.

Which brings me to the English language. Being out here, you converse with so many people from a number of countries where English is the native tongue. And there is a ton of diversity in it, all of it humorous to me. I'll start with greetings. In Canada, I'd say "how's it going?" is a common greeting, an inquiry to the state of a person's day. Australians and Kiwis say "how you goin?", which to me implies asking where I'm going, to which I might reply "I'm not going anywhere". A common British greeting would be "you alright?", which to me implies that something could possibly be wrong with the person they're addressing.

Of course there's the common "cheers" instead of "thank you". Other funny one's I've heard from Brits are "ming" or "munk", used to describe something as disgusting. While I would say "she's hot" to describe a gorgeous woman, Brits say "she's fit". Aussies, Kiwis and Brits all address friends as "mates", where I would say "buddies". Or how about calling things "mental", when I would say "crazy". One of the funny terms I've heard is the word "slag", which is the British term for slut, that one makes me laugh. And one of the funniest one's I've heard lately was Brits calling underwear "shorts". Shorts are something I wear on a hot day, and unless you put boxer in front of that word, they don't go underneath any other form of garment.

While many countries have strayed a little away from the "King's English", I embrace these little differences because they add a little humor to the situation and conversation.

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