Tuesday, March 5, 2013

British Englishisms

My old high school friend and college roommate taught me how to impersonate a British accent.  I remember pretending we were British during one particular weekend in New York City.  We'd walk around talking too loudly saying things which required very deliberate pronunciations like, "Excuse me, which way to St. Patrick's Cathedral?" or "I'm rather bored.  Shall we leave?"  We used British English textbooks while we taught in Moscow.  I decided to intensely hate British English after that, having heard enough educational recordings in British accents and seen enough lessons teaching "have you got" as a proper phrase to set me for life.  However, Ed and Alex have made quick cures of that hatred with their witty humor and (what sound to me) entertaining colloquialisms.  I've decided I like British English again. Here are a few words and phrases I particularly like:

One of our first days here Alex asked if I had enough warm clothes or did I want to borrow a jumper?
Excuse me, a dress? The kind my mother used to make me wear with those weird shoulder straps on overalls??
No, a jumper is just a sweater.

Kyle and Alex at the trotter races

Alex kept updating Ed on the dogs and their training, etc. throughout the day with the word "lead."  She said, "Well, Brigit is scared of the horses, so normally she wouldn't follow us through the field out to the hedge.  However I put her on the lead, so she had no choice but to join us."  For days I thought this was some sort of dog hierarchy, like let her be first in line or something.  No, again.  It's just what they call a leash.

Gin and Shadow checking Kyle's technique
There's a theater in the area that plays American films without French dubbing.  Alex told Ed, "Oh well, it seems we missed Lincoln.  It was playing last weekend.  Now it's.... something.... Django Unchained."
Ed replies instantly, "Oh wow! Why now that's cracking!"

Every day around mid-afternoon Ed says something to the effect of, "I'd quite fancy a tea, would anyone else?"

Ed and Gin on the Utah Landing Beach
 The first day Ed let us bring the horses in the from field into their stalls, Jack (the one with his separate pen) came in last.  We came upon Ed talking to Jack, "Hello there Black Jack, why you're a cheeky monkey aren't you?"

This one isn't particularly British, but funny nonetheless.  On our first day here, Ed walked us around the property, pointing out which field was theirs, which fields they were renting out to other farmers, and so on.  He knows quite a bit about the flora as well, and he likes to call our attention to ash, oak, hazelnut, and other trees.  We came upon one large oak, and he said, "Now this one is dead.  Someone tried to save it by trimming away the dead branches.  You can see where they trimmed because instead of a nice new branch, now there's... well, these little... hmm... well a sort of beard growing around there."  He looks back at us seriously, looks directly into Kyle's beard then says, "Oh, sorry..."

Kyle and Ed after a long morning chopping wood
 While we were driving along the Brittany coast, Ed got to talking about his past travels.  He has a group of friends he goes sailing with a few times each year.  He got really animated and descriptive with his stories then cut himself off saying, "Well yes, you see, I'm rather mad on boats."

The old bag Brigit walked in with her paws just covered in mud.  Alex hadn't noticed, but Ed saw her as she tried to sneak through the door.  The most disgusted look came over his face as he called out, "Oh my GOD! Blimey! Would you look at her!"

Brigit sitting like a lady with her paws crossed
 When we clank our wine glasses together they say, "Chin chin!"

We're just going to pop over to see the neighbors for a bit.

This new batch of cider is smashing.

Do you like mussels? I'm quite keen on them.

This house is full of hand-me-downs, nothing posh.

I've just got to go to the loo, then I'll be ready.

Did we have this soup last week? No, it's been at least a fortnight.

We're happy to have dessert whilst you're here.

Would you like more water? Yes, I'll have a spot.

If Poppy's the last one in she'll get cross.

She had been in London at the time as it were.

Everything on the telly in England right now is rubbish.

Well, he's rather daft, now isn't he?

I'm going to muck out the horses, will you help?

How do you keep your trousers so clean?

I'll take the lorry to pick up the hay bales.

Oh bugger, I've burnt the cake!

Ed and Kyle hard at work in the woodshed
 Kyle and I make fun of each other because we've picked up a few of their usages.  American English just doesn't use the word 'proper' enough.  For example: Out in the mud, you need a proper pair of Wellies.  Let's have a light lunch, then I'll make a proper dinner.
We also say "quite" in just about every other sentence.  (No thanks, I'm quite full.  I'm actually quite tired.)
We take our tea "white," or with a splash of milk.

Our hosts Ed and Alex

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