Monday, 4 May 2015

What Could You Possibly Mean?

My friend Pandora , who hails from the United States of America posted this on Facebook:

'I think it is really  funny when people refer to pants as "trousers".'

... and asked me what phrases brought a smile to my face. This is all about the richness of the English language , the speed and evolution of dialect and word growth and the fact that we all have minds that can interpret almost any word in any way.

For instance the word "wind" can be pronounced "winned" or "wined" and there you have for different words two of which are spelt (or spelled) exactly the same way. This post will probably be full of grammatical, spelling and logic errors so my  apologies far in advance.

Australia is another English speaking country that has it's own take on words and phrases that can be culturally funny implying innuendo or just something completely different. There's some Australian here but most a different words but things like num-num , dunny and jumbuck I think are particularly good.

There's som American / English here but  very often you'll find that that American word usage is closer to the original than British usage . I'm not sure what that says about us. But things like suspenders , braces and chips change their meaning across the ocean.

One thing that always irks me and makes me smile is that in both the USA and Britain is the refusal to use a functional name for a toilet . In Australia they'll use loo or dunny , I think the French have it nailed with pissoire but I remember a teacher being horrified when I said I needed to go to the toilet, and she rebuked me and told me it was a lavatory (ie somewhere where you wash), ok you wash your hands afterwards but it's somewhere
where essentially you have a wee or a poo.

 Even worse is the American euphemism of restroom or bathroom, I went in a restaurant than pointed to the bathrooms and there wasn't a bath to be seen and let's face it you don't go in for a rest do you, and where does John come from?

The thing is there are lots and lots of opportunities for extreme misunderstanding in the rich tapestry that or different cultures provide on the uneven playing field that is the English Language. I included the Judge Dread song because in theory it's perfectly innocent , after all it's just words.

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