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English, as she is spoke

English, as she is spoke

Old Jun 19th 2021, 9:05 pm
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Default English, as she is spoke

It's a shame that the "English speaking world" thread has been discontinued. BE members have a wonderfully diverse exposure to the way English is spoken throughout the world, and it's well worth having a platform for their observations. For the whole of my expat life I've had an interest in the various and varying forms of English, both spoken and written; and I posted several essays on the topic on my online journal when I was writing it between 2010 and 2016. In the years before 2010 I had included the subject in newspaper columns written for a local audience here in Cayman.

BE rules don't allow me to give direct links to the articles - boo, hiss - but I can post extracts. To begin with, let me pass on the following paragraphs on mondegreens. The mondegreen was identified and named in 1954, by an American writer in an article about a verse her mother used to read to her as a child, from an 18th-Century collection of Scottish ballads:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where have ye been?
They have slain the Earl o' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

The little girl felt desperately sad for the poor lady who had died with one of Scotland’s famous martyrs, and resented the poet’s failure to mention her again in his story. Decades passed before the adult Sylvia Wright actually read the poem for herself, and learned that the killers of the Earl o’ Moray had in fact laid him on the green.

Unaccompanied!

Wikipedia tells the story, and gives other examples of what are today called "mondegreens". We all have our favourites. Bob Dylan sang “the ants are my friends”, Creedence in Bad Moon Rising sang “there’s a bathroom on the right”, and the Xmas song about shepherds washing their socks by night. We will all have our favourites, and I invite BE members to give theirs. The mondegreen contained in Psalm 23 will be hard to beat. The last verse begins “Surely good Mrs Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life”.

Last edited by Gordon Barlow; Jun 19th 2021 at 9:12 pm.
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Old Jun 19th 2021, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
BE rules don't allow me to give direct links to the articles
.
Which rule?
I only see this, and I am pretty sure this isnt it.
3. Links to Inappropriate Content
Links to adult content, pages with links to adult content, near adult content, warez, hate sites or messages describing anything against the law is not allowed and will be removed.
I dont want to fall victim to the hammer.
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Old Jun 21st 2021, 1:42 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

The evolution of language is fascinating for sure, often driven by things like migration or simply misspelt foreign words.

There are a number of english words that are indian in origin like bungalow, going doolally or nuts, doolally is a town in india that has a major mental hospital.

I have a copy of the huge collins dictionary of slang - which has some great explanations of the evolution and sources of swear words.

In the caribbean, patois or true french is the source of some words even on islands that were not french or were for a short period 300 years ago.

How to say wow - In Jamaica, to be more “local” remember not to gasp a “wow” when you witness a gorgeous Mo Bay (Montego Bay) sunset – instead, shriek -Kiss me neck!” Jamaican style. In Barbados, they’ll exclaim “Cheese on bread!” at such a sight. In St Lucia some folk might cry out “mesye!”, in Trinidad and Tobago it’s the irrepressible “Papa Yo!” and in Grenada “bon je!” is the exclamation most often used at moments like this.

The island lingo on both Antigua and Trinidad is chilled and mellow, “cool out” they say to everyone they meet, meaning “take life easy”. In Barbados, words are dropped and fused together in a rich linguistic roll. “How-you?” the locals will ask and if the answer is “confused” a Bajan response is “cafuffled”, a Trini response “bazodee”, a Grenadian “basodi”, while a Jamaican will answer “mouthamassy”. And if you can find an opportunity to use the wonderful St Lucian saying “L bab kamawed ou pwi difé, wozé sa ou” – meaning when your friend’s beard is on fire, sprinkle your own.

Grenada

  • Back Back – To change one’s mind
  • Chuck – Push
  • Yam doh bear tanya - Like father like son
  • Bunjay oye - Exclamation
  • Coki-eye – Cross-eyed
  • Call Dat George – The end of the matter
  • Catspraddle – An undignified fall
  • Wh’appening – How’s it going?
  • Good day / Good night - Hello
  • Good day Good Day / Good night Good night - Hello back
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Living just over the road from Jamaica, Cayman always has plenty of Jamaican migrant workers. A while back I was looking for some Panasonic batteries and was told in one shop to check out Hi-Tech a couple of streets away. The penny dropped only when I came across a shop called I-Tech! Many Jamaicans drop the 'h' at the beginning of words and add an 'h' before a vowel. It takes a bit of getting used to! I'm never sure if a woman's name is Ellen or Helen.
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Old Jul 6th 2021, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
  • Back Back – To change one’s mind
  • Chuck – Push
  • Yam doh bear tanya - Like father like son
  • Bunjay oye - Exclamation
  • Coki-eye – Cross-eyed
  • Call Dat George – The end of the matter
  • Catspraddle – An undignified fall
  • Wh’appening – How’s it going?
  • Good day / Good night - Hello
  • Good day Good Day / Good night Good night - Hello back
I have no idea where some of those come from! I'd guess coki-eye is a variant of "cock-eyed". "Back-back" can be guessed at. In Australia, "back back" was what we said when a car is reversed. "You've come too far; you'll have to back back a bit". Americans say "back up", in my experience. "Kerfuffle" is a recognisable English word.

Here's a puzzle for readers. I was correcting a Polish girl's colloquial English a while ago, and whatever she had written didn't sound right. I said "In English we say "femme fatale". We laughed at that, but for the life of me I can't think how that translates into English! Help, please. English does appropriate foreign words from time to time, but they become anglicised fairly quickly - cafe is an obvious example; only a pedant would write that with an acute sign over the 'e'. We spell it and pronounce it the way the French do - but caff if we mean a low-class one.
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Old Jul 13th 2021, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

After 58 years as an expat, I don't use many of the slang words and phrases I grew up with, but here's one from the Queensland "bush" that I think is worth retaining. In my day, it was used as dry humour to express appreciation of something that was good - anything from winning the lottery to being told your sheep had got good prices at the auction. "Yeah, it's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick." It's a bit of a classic; I wonder if it's still in use.
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Old Jul 22nd 2021, 1:49 am
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Ooops!
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Old Jul 22nd 2021, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Just to reiterate for everyone - Site Rule 9 says that "specifics that would lead people to your site/blog/product/service/Facebook group etc" are not allowed in posts.It doesn't matter if it's a commercial blog or not, that makes no difference. The rules haven't changed, Site Rule 9 is still as it has been for many years, but a link in your signature is fine.

HTH clarify it.

Last edited by christmasoompa; Jul 22nd 2021 at 4:08 pm.
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Old Jul 23rd 2021, 7:46 am
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Default Re: English, as she is spoke

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
After 58 years as an expat, I don't use many of the slang words and phrases I grew up with, but here's one from the Queensland "bush" that I think is worth retaining. In my day, it was used as dry humour to express appreciation of something that was good - anything from winning the lottery to being told your sheep had got good prices at the auction. "Yeah, it's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick." It's a bit of a classic; I wonder if it's still in use.
The first time I heard that one was in South Africa, from a colleague who came from Birmingham in the UK. His version was ' It's better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick'. Maybe regional variations?
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