I was cautioned by the instructor at Carleton University that the people most likely to feel culture shock were actually the people who went to Britain, not those who moved to the different cultures of say Chile or Italy. This was because the Britain-bound people didn’t prepare themselves for the change. They assumed living among English-speaking people in what is effectively the birthplace of English Canada’s culture would be just like home. In fact, it very much isn’t.
Excellent point. She goes downhill from there.
He looked at me, clearly aghast that anyone could make such a mistake. “Er,” I replied, “I think I can explain.”
No one, at all, ever, utters the word er (with rhotacism). Er is a British spelling of uh (the two words are the same). When deployed on this side of the Atlantic, er merely makes the writer look like a ponce. The word is uh.
I ask “Y’all right?” instead of “How you?”
That is seriously meant as British English? It sounds more Alabaman. (Please write in with citations if you really have heard it.)
I ask for a tomato-and-basil panini without any hard As.
Vowels aren’t hard or soft. Price’s inability to explain basic phonology puts her in good company – in the company of every other writer who doesn’t bother trying. I’ll bet she thinks Gs come in hard and soft, too. (Look how much trouble the Telegraph had explaining how to pronounce Žižek: “ronounced Gee-gek, with two soft Gs, as in ‘regime.’ ”)
In case you’re wondering, a writer who really wanted to communicate would write tomayto and bayzil (and ZHEEzhek).
One day soon, I’d like to move back to Canada. But it has been so long since I last lived there that I worry how I’ll cope. It breaks my heart that I could arrive in the country of my birth armed with the language of a foreign land. My vocabulary and accent have made me an outsider here, and I don’t want to be an outsider in Canada too. Equally sad, though, is the thought of never returning.
Can you even understand that?
In reality, no one can really explain how the English language can be used in such different ways in different parts of the world in this age of converging media and mass communication.
Because you learn the language of your surroundings, which remains almost fixed and all but unchangeable after puberty. Your language does not change because Facebook invented the Wall.
Here we have what is easily the dumbest thing written about English linguistics in ’011. Where is Russell Smith when you need him?