Lost in Translation
It’s funny how we can all speak the same language, but yet not understand each other at times. When B and I first started messaging, he had a hard time understanding some of the words I used. How many times did B say to me, “Speak American!!” Haha And to be honest, it didn’t even occur to me that he wouldn’t understand. I just assumed he would because it was never an issue with anyone else! But since then, I’ve realized that my vocabulary had organically changed and would vary depending on who I was interacting with.
When I first moved to London, I spoke American; from the slang I used to the words for every day objects. I realize now that when I talk, I intersperse vocabulary from the States, the UK, Australia and to my horror, Singapore. But really, you have to! You don’t realize you’ve acquired all these new words until someone doesn’t understand. And most of my friends, here and back in London, all do the same thing so there is no communication barrier per se. But despite all my years in London, sadly I do not have an English accent; luckily I don’t have a Singlish accent either! However, I don’t sound blatantly American anymore; I’ve muted my accent but it does become stronger when I’m talking with Americanos.
I’ve tried to be careful when I write here, I try to use terminology that everyone will understand but I’m sure I’ve slipped up every now and then! And you know what, because I’ve been out of the States for so long, I’m also picking up new words from reading your blogs..!
So here are some words you’ll hear me saying, if we were to meet:
- arvo (Australian) = afternoon
- pash (Australian) = snog (English) = make out
- pash and dash (Australian) = when you make out with someone and run away afterwards
- rubbish (English; I think the Aussies use it too) = garbage
- brolly (English) = umbrella
- bin (English) = garbage can
- bogan (Australian) = chav (English) = redneck
- pikey (English) = derogatory term for gypsies; but someone who pickpockets stuff from others or from friends
- knackered/shattered (English) = exhausted
- lie-in (English) = sleep in
- innit (English) = isn’t it
- taking the piss (English) = ribbing someone
- pissed (English) = drunk
- on the piss/lash (English) = boozing it way up
- wanker/tosser (English) = prick
- daft cow (English) = stupid/unintelligent girl
- bird (English) = a girl/chick
- tart/slapper (English) = a slut
- dodgy (English) = shady
- lah (Singapore) = used at the end of a sentence for emphasis, lah
- so how? (Singapore) = so what’s going on? what’s happening?
- cannot (Singapore) = instead of saying, “I can’t”, we just say “cannot”
- can (Singapore) = yes, sure!
- can can (Singapore) = can you? but really depends on the intonation. you can have an entire conversation using this amazing word here! haha
Anywho, this is obviously not a comprehensive list and I guess maybe after reading this, you’ll think I’m some foul mouthed, drunk girl. Hmm. Maybe I need to re-evaluate myself?! Just kidding 😉 But you get the gist…
Now, I need me a lesson in American! I feel so behind, what have I missed out on in the last few years?