18 January 2010

Happy New Years...

So, yeah. That was a little late. If anyone is still reading this, I am going to launch the (relatively) new year, with some top 10 lists from 2009 in an attempt to cover any bizarre, funny, interesting, or important things that I missed from 2009. And, at some point I will unpack what the last month has been like. It is hard to condense some of the stores and experiences into blog posts, but I am sure that as soon as classwork is in full swing (which will probably be tomorrow) I will welcome the distraction. In the meantime, let's kick things off with the first Top 10:

Top 10 British vocabulary words:

10. Diary. No, this isn't a new word, but it is a new use. In the UK, rather than "diary" referring to the Lisa Frank notebook that had a pink bubble gum machine lock (with a universal key that unlocks ALL Lisa Frank diaries--now THAT is what I call secure) when I say, "I am going to look at/check my diary", I am referring to a planner/agenda/schedule (whichever word you currently use to refer to the organizer that you use (or don't use, as wa the case for me until I came to Oxford where your "diary" is life).

9. Uni (as in uni-brow (or university, but that is much less colorful), except with more emphasis on the I--pronounced ee). If you say "college", the Brits think "high school". Granted, they soon account for your American point of reference and clarify the term, but it IS a constant negotiation of what you mean by college, high school, secondary school, etc. While it is at times inconvenient to clarify all of this, I refuse to use the term "uni" because it just feels far too pretentious and unnecessary to make the switch. I instead opt for "when I was an undergrad". Now that is what I call efficiency. The British should be so proud.

8. Called. As in, "I have a friend called Joe." I have yet to hear anyone use the term "named". This is a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.

7. Rubbish. People don't actually say this that much, but I know that it is a popular pseudo British term.

6. Meant to, as a substitue for "supposed to", "intended to", etc, but mostly "supposed to". Rather than saying "I am supposed to be doing that", here, it would be "I am meant to be doing that". It's remarkable what an ocean's separation will do to a language.

5. Loads. I have to admit that this word is used "loads"--to the extent that it begins to become burdensome to me. I think it is the british version of "like" in its degree of overuse. (I think that "like" would make the top 10 list of American-isms at least 3 or 4 times. I may be pointing out these unusual terms, but one thing that I can't knock is that the Brits are much more precise with their language use.) I think I heard a few girls use this 3 times in a sentence. They used it loads of times. Loads.

4. Hiya. A greeting.

3. Epic. It was/will be an epic night/event. This is the equivalent of "awesome"--used so liberally that it ceases to have any real meaning.

2. Cheers. A less thankful version of thank you. Except when it is used with thank you. As in "Cheers, thank you very much, cheers". Wow.

1. Proper. I reserved the top spot for this word in honor of my brother who just doesn't think that it should be used as much as it is. As in, "I need to get some proper (appropriate) shoes for a proper (legitimate/real) football (soccer) match". In its defense, it does have a LOT of meanings.


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