No later than last Monday, I celebrated my 5th year out of motherland. No need to say that after 5 years of working hard on learning English and trying the make the best out of the Shakespeare language, I still encounter troubles and more so since I moved to the USA. The title of this post is actually a rather clear hint of how people can read things and how confusing this may be from one side of the pond to the other - let alone for someone who is not a native speaker…
Besides the fact that after 5 months, a lot of my co-workers are still trying to avoid calling me - in other words avoiding to pronounce my name, really cute are the smiles I see appearing because of my Britishness. As a matter of fact, a lot of my British friends (not to say all) consider my accent as being foreign - and for the most bloody-minded even French :) For a lot of Americans I actually sound Brit… Whether they are referring to my vocabulary or my manner of speaking - to them, I speak like an English person. Or maybe this is linked to the low volume of my voice as this is not only a “touristic effect”: a lot of Americans have loud voices even in their own country. I am still investigating on why - I suppose for now that they all got raise by a deaf grandma’ - the healthcare system over here being quite bad… No big headline on that.
Anyway – back to the subject, funny story for Lost in Translation fans, as promised above: I was looking for something in the office the other day - up until someone came to me offering his help. Not being sure of how to name the item I was after - my sometimes logical brain went for the verb - added some strange suffix and went for the term rubber (I wanted to rub, indeed). Looking rather amused, this person whispered in my ear while giving me the item in question that in the US, this was called an eraser. I was not sure why this needed to be called by any other name until I looked it up. Amongst all the confusing terms I could have used in front of somebody – I obviously picked the one that is clearly sexually related… Considering the rather hot reputation French ladies can have over here (as far as I have understood, not only French actually!) – this was obviously a quite comical situation… To enhance this all, a few days later, that person came to my desk while I was reading a postcard a friend of mine had sent from Paris. I let you admire the picture on the front of the card below… No comment needed really…!
“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes