Saturday, May 16, 2009

Talkin' funny... or funny talk

You know, the whole "falafel" incident had me stopping to think about some of the strange words that the Old Guy uses... and my strange words as well.
The whole Australian/American thing and the roots of where we come from.

The Old Guy accuses me constantly of talking with a stiff upper lip - and droppin' my "g's"... and he claims that's the reason that he has trouble understanding me at times.
I know that he's right on the whole droppin' my "g's" thing, but I think it goes a lot deeper than that. I think he has a bit of a hearing problem... well actually we know that he does... but being a man, he denies it, when it's convenient for him. It's always my fault.
But that's not as deep as it goes.

The Old Guy uses funny words. Yep, my funny little man uses funny little words... and before you go thinking that I'm making fun of him - I'm not.
I find it endearing and I find him endearing.
He uses words like "conversate" - and he used it long before it became trendy. He's always said conversate.
Whereas I might say that I was conversing with someone, he conversates with them.

He uses words like strides, daks or trousers for pants.
Which is no big deal... but it confuses the hell out of my little ones, when their pants are slipping down and he admonishes them to pull their strides up - and they just look at him funny. He then gets flustered and tell me that "so-and-so won't listen to me."
Well, for one thing honey, so-and-so is only 2 years old and she doesn't know how to pull her pants up... but she probably doesn't understand the word "strides" anyway.
Ask her to pull her pants up instead.
And he does... but ten minutes later, he's telling someone else to pull their strides up.

Teaspoons are "stirrers", unless you want to eat cereal with them.... then they become spoons.
"Hand me a stirrer, luv... and I'll make you a cuppa."

Then there's the whole Australian vs American words for things - which is no big deal, but it can get confusing at times.

Words like:
bonnet, for the hood of a car.
boot, for the trunk of a car.
jockey box, for glove box
cereal packet, for a box of cereal.
jug, for pitcher
jug, for kettle
bottling, for canning
tap, for faucet
esky, for ice chest
singlet, for undershirt
wellies, for rubber boots
daks or jocks, for underpants
knickers, for panties
fly wire door, for screen door
cooker, for stove
wood heater, for wood stove.
griller, for broiler
knackered, for tired or worn out

No big deal... because they're just different words, but the meaning is the same.

I just never imagined that I would be learning another language when I came here.
I never imagined that people would have a hard time understanding me... and me, them.
We both speak English for pete's sake... but between customs and dialects, it's been harder than I would have imagined it to be.

See, I was born and raised in San Francisco California. But my mama came from Ada Oklahoma and my daddy came from Obey City, Tennessee. (that's pronounced as Obee, rather than Obey)
They had Southern accents and even though I grew up basically speaking "Californian" I pronounce lots of words the way my parents said them... and I've always had a bit of Southern "twang" in my speech.
I occasionally say rang for "ring" - as in "I lost my rang and I knew I should have kept it on my danged fanger!
I was raised with words like flummoxed and afeered, flustered and sweetnin'

"Child, go put some sweetnin' in Aunt Poadies tea", or
"My Lan' child, you've growed... I'm purely flummoxed at how much you've growed - com 'er and give us some sugar!!"

Then to top it off, daddy's side of the family are Quakers. Grandma and grandpa were both Quaker ministers and my daddy was for a time ...until he joined the Second World War.
There was a lot of Plain speech goin' on when I was a kid... so I was also raised with words like "Thee" and "Thou" "Thy" "Thine" or "Ye"... and I find myself slipping into that pattern of speech quite regularly.
There's no rhyme or reason for it - I just do it. Usually, Plain speech is reserved for "Friends" - as in other Quakers (or Society of Friends), but with entire summers spent with grandma and grandpa and all the relatives in Tennessee, it's just ingrained in me. It just pops out at the unlikest of times

"Can I come to the store with thee?"
"Thou should not have said that to Tom".
"So-and-so, thy socks are slipping down - pull them up please".
We're going to the movies, would ye like to come too?

Mix Plain speech with a California/ Southern accent... and it's a wonder that anyone can understand me at times!

So who has it harder... me or the Old Guy?
I say that he talks funny and he says that I talk funny.

But the funny thing is, after 10 years together come June...we don't even need words most of the time.
He knows what I'm thinkin', and I know what he's thinkin', and no words are needed.
We speak the language of love.

It doesn't get much better than that.


Kathy said...

That is so interesting. It amazes me how the same language can have such different phrases and slangs. I think it is so cool that you and your honey learn from each other that way.

Paula said...

Did anyone ever tell you that you talk funny? lol

When I was little I wanted so bad to have an accent. What I didn't realize was that I had one it was just a midwest one.

As I got older I realized we said lots of different things we say pop..others say soda. I say ketchup (catch-up) cracks a friend of mine up every time. When I worked at the university we had an african guy who grew up in London come in a lot and he cracked me up too...the loo, rubbers (he asked a girl in class if she had a rubber, I lost it) she didn't realize he meant eraser.

The best one is my cousin's boyfriend, he is from the netherlands. she and he were out kissing one day and my uncle walked out and said you necking?
Rob looked at him and said, no sir I feel perfectly fine. apparently necking in his country means 'throwing up or vomitting.' That kept us laughing for awhile.

darsden said...

LOL family refers to the glove box as a pigon hole LOL

Pam said...

Wow! And I thought me and hubby were from Missouri and him from Tennessee.

rubiesrnotpurple said...

So what do you call bathers, which in other states of Orstraylya are called togs or swimmers. Then of course there are budgie smugglers and boardies, bikinis, tankinis and one piece. I've forgotten what the small bikinis are called - you know, the 3 little triangles and some string ... they have a very important name. Personally I prefer skinny dipping ... NOT!

Now my verification is cicisho which reminds me of something.

Terry said...

Amen for the language of love !
Thank you for sharing .
This was a wonderful post.
Blessings to you .

Bz said...

Ohhh ...I LOVED this post! This was great! Bein' born and raised Texan, I understand he droppin' the 'G's thang. Sum folks might saying it's an educational thang (nope, taint true. I got my here Masters degree in 3 semesters & with a 3.7 gpa). Tis funny, I read your blog and sounds it sound like home... but for every now and then a "knackered" or ..??... (oh , what was it?!?) ..."sprunkle" ...nooo, arghh, something like that.... ANYway, every now and then something like that comes out and I laugh and get curious all at the same time.
I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this post and also got to learn more of you.

Robynn's Ravings said...

So, perhaps, thee ought to pull up thy striders while thee puts some sweetnin' in thy tea. And then get that corn outta my face!

I LOVED this! Talk about confused.

And I HATE the word "conversate" because it is not a word. When I first started hearing people say it several years ago I almost blew a gasket. (I'm already loose in the gaskets so you know this is serious.) Now, how your darling uses it is colloquial, and therefore endearing, but making its way into the mainstream as an actaul word? Me thinks I may have contracted the vapors. If thou would be so kind as to wave a clean pair of knickers in my direction to revive me (mind you, they must be clean or I may go completely out), I would be ever in thy debt.

Robynn's Ravings said...

P.S.!!! You hit 50!! Mine's deader'n a doornail.

Homestay Mama said...

Ahh, the language of love--that's the best language in the whole wide world!

This was a very interesting post, Tatersmama. It just proves why my homestay students get confused with English and think it is a hard language to learn!

I notice you and Mandy (The Old Dairy) write about 'cuppa' a lot--which I've surmised must mean a cup of tea or a cup of coffee.

Nancy M. said...

You do have all kinds of mixes in there! Since he's probably confused by anything American at all it's probably pretty equal, even though you have a bunch of different dialects woven into one.

I have heard some of those Australian terms before, but not all of them. Very interesting to learn some of these!

Tatersmama said...

Kathy, Interesting? Hun, it still gets ME confused as all get out! It's worth it though... just for the luurve!
Paula, *I* talk funny? And you're from the midwest? That's like the pot callin' the kettle black! I say catch-up too, but I also say sody pop - so where does that leave me? Six of one... half a dozen of the other? LOL!
darsden, Pigeon hole? I'm scratching my head over WHY?? I get it... but why do they call it that??
Pam, My mom was born in Sedalia MO but she grew up in OK, so that's a bit like your mom and dad ! I remember mama telling my dad that his folks had some funny ways of saying things as well, so I guess it's just family tradition. ;-)
Rubies, Budgie smugglers? What are those? Can you please explain? I'm sure everyone would love an explanation on that one! *SNORT*
Never mind, I might get a visual and end up back in room 9!

"Cicisho funny looking, but she can't help that."
Terry, Thank you!
Amen to love!
Bz, Oh, you sweet thang you!
Now I'm a-gonna be tossin' and turnin' the whole live long day, trying to figger out what you meant by that "sprunkle" word !

Next time... just ask!! ;-)
Robynn, I hate it too... but since it's colloquial - and coming frrom Old Guy, I think it's kind of cute. Irritating, but cute. We argue over ain't all the time.. and I still insist that it's a proper word - a generation of English teachers notwithstanding.

BUT... language is constantly evolving ( have you read Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue? It's EXCELLENT!) and some day, our grandchildren will be snickering at us and calling us quaint!
Wooo Hooo ! you're right! I hit 50!
Homestay Mama, If it's THIS confusing for natural English speakers, I can only imagine what some of your poor students go through!

And yes... a cuppa is a cup of tea/coffee or whatever. ;-)
Nancy M, I really think it must be rougher on him, because of the different dialects, but I have to live with it on a daily basis. He only has to figure me out... I have to try and understand everybody! LOL!

Fruitcake Sandy said...

I love this post ... and I am attempting not to let sum of my 'Texian' shine through. I have a Kiwi neighbor; we've been learnin' from each other. "Bob's yer uncle" was a new one for me. Cuppa makes sense to me and of course Crikey! The other day I heard her remark about buying a 'doodie' from the 'high dollar' store and I knew she had become one of "us" ... actually, she's becoming a U.S. citizen next Thursday. I'm so 'proud' for her, I'm bustin' my buttons.

she just wants to be said...

That is so funny.... I would be totally clueless. I am a Midwesterner living in New England. We have Boston and New York accents to deal with, and I am told that I talk funny. I say 'pop' instead of 'soda' and people look at me like I have three eyes....

Jientje said...

Me and my hubs are the same, we don't need words to understand each other!!

Neas Nuttiness said...

Thank you so much for edumacat'n me today. I think you both talk crazy, and it's probably cause the Crisco went rancid!
Me and the hubby have been speak'n the language of LOVE for a long time...that's why we have so may young'ns;-)

Tatersmama said...

Sandy, It's an experience, isn't it! LOL! But what's wrong with lettin' the "sum of your Texian shine through"? I like listening to the *Texian*! And lookin' at "little someones". ;-)

I know another American here who's recently had a bad experience with anti-Americanism... and all I can think of is why can't we ALL just get along! It's a small world after all!
She just wants to be.. Ahhhh... so you GET it! LOL! The whole pop vs soda/sody pop thing just cracks me up, but it's dang hard to get above your "raisin's", isn't it!
Jientje, That's the only language that counts when you get right down to it, isn't it?? :-)

(did I ever tell you that I just LOVE knowing how to pronounce your name? I say it out loud every time I see it... just because I can! Gene-chu)
Libby, The Crisco is just fine... no thanks to you. Thanks to you, I have to suffer the embarassment of going into sex shops just to make fried chicken. Sheeesh!
It's good that you and the Mr. speak the laguage of love.... but did you have to give me the visual??? Now I'm going to imagine all sorts of funny things.

Faithful said...

....I can soo relate to what ya'all are sayin. My mom still refers to a wursh rag for a wash cloth and ice box for the refrigerator.Cute post..

Becky said...

What a funny post! Do you qualify as bilingual now?


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