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Speaking English !

Speaking English !

Old Jul 31st 2002, 9:57 pm
  #1  
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Default Speaking English !

I am from London (and am moving over soon to be with my American wife)

I have been reading the threads on here regarding immigrants coming to the US and "learning/or not" English.
During my courting days and trips to the US I was amazed at how many people in the US could not understand me.
There were times on my trips over (Maryland and Virginia) that I thought that I was from another planet, and yet I was speaking the same language.
On one occasion my (new American) Niece had gathered together some school friends just to listen to me speaking.
They had seen Hugh Grant in movies and were totally unprepared for a Danny deVito look-a-like !!
When Ida (my wife) and I went shopping, it got to the point where I just shut up and let her do the talking.

My point is that although I am from an English speaking country
(obviously) there were times that I felt I might as well have been China, Russia or Sri Lanka.
My second point is that I am aware that when I arrive in the US in about 3/4 weeks, initially my accent will be a novelty.
However, I also know that I need to try to adapt my way of speaking to make sure that "you lot" undertsand what I am talking about, otherwise I may as well be Ukranian (no disrespect)
I also am aware that as an Englishman coming to the US, particularly in business, once again I may be a uniquiety, initially but when it actually comes down to competing in business, I am on a level playing field (the accent goes out of the window)

My third point is that although I speak English, I recognize the shortcoming that I may face and will need to adapt.
When I lived in Iran and Spain I went out of my way to learn at least some of the language, (which helped me as a Casino Manager, gain my staffs respect (which is half the battle)

To summerize (if I have not waffled)
If one is to be accepted into a "foreign county" we have to make an effort to be integrated.

Years ago, English people used to go to Australia and moan
"Your pies are not as good as ours"....etc
Hence the expression "Whinging Poms"

I have absolutely no intention about moaning at all when I get to the US. If I have a problem with the INS, IRS, DVLA..etc it is up to me to sort it out, and I will (even if they don't understand me)

And I promise I will not resort to wearing a "rag" over my head to get a driving license.

I rest my case.

Allrighty
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Old Jul 31st 2002, 10:33 pm
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Originally posted by rogerpenycate
I am from London (and am moving over soon to be with my American wife)

I have been reading the threads on here regarding immigrants coming to the US and "learning/or not" English.

Yes, English, though supposedly an international language, is not always understood globally.

Being from Singapore, and due to historical/colonial connection, we were educated to learn, speak and write 'The Queen's English'. Not to say that we do not know how to differenciate between "Brit English' and 'US English', accents notwithstanding.

Yet, on various trips to the USA, and to parts of Europe, for biz and leisure, I get comments 'of amazement at how well English is spoken'. While I should be thankful for these 'indirect' compliments, I believe stereotypical views still exist.

For the record, English is AN international language, albeit for business in particular. It is THE main language that gels the various communities of the global village. For now, that is. Who knows what will happen in decades to come, especially when the 'Sleeping Giant, i.e. China' awakes and matures.

Good day to all!
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Old Jul 31st 2002, 10:36 pm
  #3  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Theres an old saying - USA and Britain, two countries divided by the same language" which is very apt. I, for the most part, have little trouble in America but I have picked a lot of Americanisms up of the wife which helps, I am also happy to slant my accent so that it helps americans understand (pronouncing tomatoe for example).

When I first got married I was at a (her) family party and was telling her family about England when suddenly one of her uncles said "will you speak English" so I had to get Ellen to translate!

You will adapt very quickly, just don't say "I'm feeling a bit queer I think I'll go outside for a fag"
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Old Jul 31st 2002, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Patrick,
I sent you a direct email to explain to a computer dickhead how the fantasy thingy works.

Roger
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 4:21 am
  #5  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Sorry Roger - had to chuckle a little at 'DVLA'! Dave.
 
Old Aug 1st 2002, 4:21 am
  #6  
Paul
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Not quite sure what you are saying here....(sorry!) but I'll give you a real pathetic
fact: 10% of the people do not speak any English. Unlike other countries we are
incredibly concerned about being politically correct. (which I do not like) For
example, if you fall on the sidewalk, you sue the local government for the crack in
the sidewalk or whatever reason you fabricate. And this is passed on the everyone
else (in taxes) Sorry, got going again.... I would think you would be lucky. You'll
have to watch the slang because my wife was taking English lessons and I felt is was
time to stop when she was taught some strange saying that was British....I just
totally didn't know what she was talking about and it was a joke. (literally....it
was just to be funny but I just didn't understand) Also, the accent....it's one of
the things I love in my wife. I think a lot women will enjoy just simple conversation
with you......really. Now I am shocked to personally meet two people in their late
20's who have terrible English/grammar and don't care. One of them, the woman,
actually told me I don't care about speaking English.....can you say "disrespect"? I
just wondered why they are here. I visited RU twice and tried to speak as much as I
could and be like them .........we are the opposite in the US. Everyone accommodates
you here. In every other country .........YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.

I hope I gave you something. Hell maybe we should all wear a rag over our heads to
get drivers licenses. What do you do for an ID then? If they can do that....couldn't
someone cover themselves up in those outfits and just show that ID and be some
hijacker or terrorist? It's something I'd do if I were one. When we are so
p/c we easy to take advantage of... .....I think anyone else how reads this will rip
me a new one :O) but it should be discussed since it is terrorism that has extended
this process for all of us.

"rogerpenycate" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > I am from London (and am moving over soon to be with my American wife)
    >
    > I have been reading the threads on here regarding immigrants coming to the US and
    > "learning/or not" English. During my courting days and trips to the US I was amazed
    > at how many people in the US could not understand
    > me. There were times on my trips over (Maryland and Virginia) that I thought that I
    > was from another planet, and yet I was speaking the same language. On one
    > occasion my (new American) Niece had gathered together some school friends just
    > to listen to me speaking. They had seen Hugh Grant in movies and were totally
    > unprepared for a Danny deVito look-a-like !! When Ida (my wife) and I went
    > shopping, it got to the point where I just shut up and let her do the talking.
    >
    > My point is that although I am from an English speaking country (obviously) there
    > were times that I felt I might as well have been China, Russia or Sri Lanka. My
    > second point is that I am aware that when I arrive in the US in about 3/4 weeks,
    > initially my accent will be a novelty. However, I also know that I need to try to
    > adapt my way of speaking to make sure that "you lot" undertsand what I am talking
    > about, otherwise I may as well be Ukranian (no disrespect) I also am aware that as
    > an Englishman coming to the US, particularly in business, once again I may be a
    > uniquiety, initially but when it actually comes down to competing in business, I am
    > on a level playing field (the accent goes out of the window)
    >
    > My third point is that although I speak English, I recognize the shortcoming that I
    > may face and will need to adapt. When I lived in Iran and Spain I went out of my
    > way to learn at least some of the language, (which helped me as a Casino Manager,
    > gain my staffs respect (which is half the battle)
    >
    > To summerize (if I have not waffled) If one is to be accepted into a "foreign
    > county" we have to make an effort to be integrated.
    >
    > Years ago, English people used to go to Australia and moan "Your pies are not as
    > good as ours"....etc Hence the expression "Whinging Poms"
    >
    > I have absolutely no intention about moaning at all when I get to the US. If I have
    > a problem with the INS, IRS, DVLA..etc it is up to me to sort it out, and I will
    > (even if they don't understand me)
    >
    > And I promise I will not resort to wearing a "rag" over my head to get a driving
    > license.
    >
    > I rest my case.
    >
    > Allrighty
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Fulham Football Club for the Premiership Title ?????
    >
    > Posted via http://britishexpats.com
 
Old Aug 1st 2002, 4:21 am
  #7  
Greg
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Default Re: Speaking English !

On 1 Aug 2002 02:20:40 GMT, rogerpenycate <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I am from London (and am moving over soon to be with my American wife)
    >
    >I have been reading the threads on here regarding immigrants coming to the US and
    >"learning/or not" English. During my courting days and trips to the US I was amazed
    >at how many people in the US could not understand
    >me. There were times on my trips over (Maryland and Virginia) that I thought that I
    > was from another planet, and yet I was speaking the same language. On one
    > occasion my (new American) Niece had gathered together some school friends just
    > to listen to me speaking. They had seen Hugh Grant in movies and were totally
    > unprepared for a Danny deVito look-a-like !! When Ida (my wife) and I went
    > shopping, it got to the point where I just shut up and let her do the talking.
    >
    >My point is that although I am from an English speaking country (obviously) there
    >were times that I felt I might as well have been China, Russia or Sri Lanka. My
    >second point is that I am aware that when I arrive in the US in about 3/4 weeks,
    >initially my accent will be a novelty. However, I also know that I need to try to
    >adapt my way of speaking to make sure that "you lot" undertsand what I am talking
    >about, otherwise I may as well be Ukranian (no disrespect) I also am aware that as
    >an Englishman coming to the US, particularly in business, once again I may be a
    >uniquiety, initially but when it actually comes down to competing in business, I am
    >on a level playing field (the accent goes out of the window)
    >
    >My third point is that although I speak English, I recognize the shortcoming that I
    >may face and will need to adapt. When I lived in Iran and Spain I went out of my way
    >to learn at least some of the language, (which helped me as a Casino Manager, gain
    >my staffs respect (which is half the battle)
    >
    >To summerize (if I have not waffled) If one is to be accepted into a "foreign
    >county" we have to make an effort to be integrated.
    >
    >Years ago, English people used to go to Australia and moan "Your pies are not as
    >good as ours"....etc Hence the expression "Whinging Poms"
    >
    >I have absolutely no intention about moaning at all when I get to the US. If I have
    >a problem with the INS, IRS, DVLA..etc it is up to me to sort it out, and I will
    >(even if they don't understand me)
    >
    >And I promise I will not resort to wearing a "rag" over my head to get a
    >driving license.
    >
    >I rest my case.
    >
    >Allrighty

I was raised on British Comedies so I'd probably have no problem understanding you
 
Old Aug 1st 2002, 9:20 am
  #8  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

"rogerpenycate" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > I have been reading the threads on here regarding immigrants coming to the US and
    > "learning/or not" English. During my courting days and trips to the US I was amazed
    > at how many people in the US could not understand
    > me. There were times on my trips over (Maryland and Virginia) that I thought that I
    > was from another planet, and yet I was speaking the same language.

Oh tell me about it.......I don't think my accent is that strong, but people look at
me like I am a weirdo; my fiancée and her friends make a fool off me for pronouncing
my 'R's (they find the way I say warm and burger particularly amusing) I also get
told I cant be Scottish as I don't sound anything like Ewen McGregor or Sean Connery
(I don't look anything like them either....boo ) I got followed round a mall once
(White Flint for those of us that know where that is) by a group of older schoolgirls
giggling everytime I opened my mouth. I have also watched surly (female and a few of
the men, the ones that are a little light on their feet usually) shop assistants'
faces light up the second I open my mouth and American girls seem to be more forward
that the Scottish girls I am accustomed too, some of them deciding to give me their
phone numbers even if my girlfriend is with me!

but the accent also has a practical use.....getting rid of Tele-marketers, I go on
the phone and start talking very quickly with only about one standard English word
per sentence, THEY usually hang up on me, although one poor lad struggled on till I
hit him with 'di ye no ken English laddie' (translation - Do you not understand
English) his answer 'yes, I am speaking in English to you now sir' that made me fall
apart laughing, I know they are trying to make some honest money, but they are so
annoying, but it will blow up in my face one day and I will get the only Scottish
Tele-marketer in the USA

Alan

(5 days to go)
 
Old Aug 1st 2002, 10:29 am
  #9  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Alan,
Time to check your paperwork again, for the 27th time !!
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Here's my five cents worth on the topic.

It occurs to me that most Americans's exposure to the English accent is through the media, ie. films, news broadcasts. Most, I expect, have not met someone from Britain and if they have, they are thrown by someone who doesn't speak with an accent they have seen or heard on the media.

Consequently, if you have a regional accent, it may be tough for an American to understand you.

Another thing, throw in the fact that Americans themselves speak with regional accents (e.g. Southern, Boston, LA, Brooklyn), i.e. they do not speak with the mid-West accent heard in the news, tv ad voiceovers, no wonder they're struggling.

Perhaps, we Brits are in a slightly advantageous position of having been exposed to a wide variety of regional accents from imported US TV, so we can understand Americans more easily than they can understand us.

Does anybody agree?

Oh, I've noticed that many Americans can't spell either. It's sad to go into a store and there's a handwritten notice (large too) that contains a misspelt word (usually spelt phonetically).
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 3:04 pm
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Default Re: Speaking English !

I am American and my fiance is from London, we are also awaiting approval from the Kansas Service Center, 30 days now. Anyway, we have been together for 3 years and initially when he was here the first year, NOBODY could understand him except me; people were forevering asking me "What did he say" and I felt BAD for him because I thought his cockney accent was pretty easy to understand. We particularly had a problem in restaurants; for some reason, when he asked for a "diet coke" all we got was a "huh?" or a blank stare! Have any other Brits here had the "diet coke" problem??! As time wore on, the "regulars" in our lives had no problem with his accent or British slang, but for a long time he was frustrated with being misunderstood. Funny, I never get that when I go to England, but as another poster alluded to, they have more exposure to American culture than we have to English. Most people here only know from what they see on PBS (Monty Python, Keeping Up Appearances, etc.)
but there you go~ It will be interesting how Tony does when he gets employed over here, he's been a self-employed engineer in London for the past 25 years so I wonder how he will fit in with America's work ethic. Being a laid back soul I'm sure he will do just fine ~
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 3:08 pm
  #12  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Did anyone see the episode of Only fools and horses where Del and Rodney go to Florida and everyone thinks they are Australian. That happened to two guys from my company (who have london/cock-er-nee) accents.

We also have a women in our office who speaks with plums in her mouth and Americans have a terrible time understanding her as well!

Although the Americans call what we speak old english they are ones that speak old english, we have evolved our language since the 1700's in differant way to them. They still use old english words like fall which is no longer used in the country and was replaced by Autumn some time in the last century. There are hundreds of examples of Americans using english words which were in common use in the 1700's but have since died out/changed in the UK. (Turnpikes/cookies/candy etc etc etc)

So here what you do - you travel back in time (Austin Powers stylee) and learn old english (preferably in Devon and Cornwall where a lot of the American dialict is based on) and then you will be fine!
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 3:20 pm
  #13  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

My wife speaks British English with a Swedish accent, and we are *still* discussing
whether its "aluminum" or "al-yoo-min-ee-ummm". This is after 5 years. When she
throws in some slang with some sort of Texas accent, it makes my jaw drop. Its like
the Original Cowgirl just rode in off The Range. Mike

"rogerpenycate" <[email protected]> wrote in message
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    > I am from London (and am moving over soon to be with my American wife)
 
Old Aug 1st 2002, 4:33 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Speaking English !

Patrick,
Being from Blackpool and a Birmingham fan, surely you'll need to learn English !!!!

MJ,
I also have the aluminum thing with my missus, although in England it's ALUMINIUM and in the US ALUMINUM (that was confusing, did I get it right ?)
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Old Aug 1st 2002, 5:20 pm
  #15  
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Patrick <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...

    > English" so I had to get Ellen to translate!
    >
    > You will adapt very quickly, just don't say "I'm feeling a bit queer I think I'll
    > go outside for a fag"
    >

L M A O @ Patick!!! OMG, what a hoot! LOLOL!
 

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