Friday, March 12, 2010

Words, Words, Words

OK - I know you are going to be jealous of me , but during my days of youth (which means before I graduated from college, or got married), I lived in London, England (I'm specifying England because there are lots of Londons in the world - you know, like London, Ontario - which is wonderful too, but not quite the same as London, England - ya know) for a little more than a year and a half. I still feel quite homesick for London quite often. I used to dream that my husband would complete his doctorate at the Royal College of Music, but it was not to be (we only had a 2 year leave from Dr D's job and the RCM would have taken too long, if you must know :) and instead of London we got to live in Mesa, Arizona which I fully love so it's not so sad.

Anywho...I love, love, love, London. I know how to get just about anywhere in London and I can tell you about the best restaurants, the best deals on theater tickets, the awesomest (yes I know that's not a word) street cafes, the sweetest galleries, the nicest bench on which to eat your lunch at Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, etc., etc...

But this post isn't so much about London as it is about language. There are some words that are used by the British that are not part of the American vernacular (yes, I know you know that). I have my favorites and if you know me and ever hear me use these words, you need to know what they mean. Maybe you'll want to start using them too.

Nutter - a crazy person. Frequency of use: daily (see my driving post to know why :)

Cheers - Thanks or goodbye. Frequency of use: daily + (as this is my favorite email sign off)

Tah - Thank You. Usage: "Tah, Love". Frequency of use: often (but mainly with people who also speak British)

- vacuum. As in, "I need to hoover the floor". Frequency of use: I'm not going to tell you because then you'll know how often I don't vacuum.

Loo - as in, "skip to the..." (just kidding), it means bathroom, restroom (but doesn't it just sound nicer?). Frequency of use: I really wanted to teach my kids that that was the word for bathroom, but realized that would get confusing when they started school. So I use this kind of infrequently, but now that my kids understand stuff, I may start using it more frequently.

Flat - apartment. Frequency of use: often - I just like the sound of this word so much better than apartment.

Mate - friend, buddy, pal. Frequency of use: often - since it is one of the many ways I refer to my little brother.

Bogey - boogers, nose slime. Frequency of use: too often. This is the only way my kids know how to refer to nose junk.

- truck (not a pickup), like a delivery truck, moving truck, etc. Frequency of use: infrequent - but I just love it.

Way Out - exit. You'll see this is all of the tube stops and then you'll know which way to head to go out - brilliant! Frequency of use: infrequent - but I think it's a nicer than exit

- cool, nice, sweet. Frequency of use: sometimes/occasional - I pull this one out for special occasions :)

Do you speak British (yes, you can class that as another language)? What are your favorite British words? OR what are your favorite words in another language (I might just have to do a post about my favorite Spanish word one of these days)? Or do you think I am a nutter? Sky's the limit - comment away (hint, hint).


Amanda said...

I have a couple favorites from my Russian-speaking mission to the Baltic states.

First of all, when someone asked you how you were, an acceptable response was (and I'm spelling phonetically here) "nor-MAHL-nuh," which is "normal" in english. I still love to respond by saying that I'm normal, instead of fine, OK, etc.

The other one that I love is "REE-mont"--which is used to describe doing remodeling-type work on a home. People would tell us they couldn't meet because they were remonting, or because of the remont. So, it's a verb AND a noun. I still love to use this one!

I have other words that pop out from time to time, like "spuh-KOI-nee" (peaceful), or "SCHMOO-kee" (which means cute in Latvian).

Here are some fun things to end my comment: "Yes" in Lithuanian is pronounced "tape." And, some sisters in the MTC headed to Madagascar taught us that "ta-FUN-cha-munch" is Madagascan for "goodnight." Wouldn't your kids love to hear you say "tafunchamunch!" as you turned out their light? :)

Traci said...

When I was in London, I loved hearing (or seeing) "Mind the gap" in the tube. It just seems so much more polite (and clear) than "caution".

Fun post. I think I'll start using "nutter".

Traci said...

Oh, and one more in Italian. I really, really loved to hear "ciao" or "ciao bella" in Itally. Well, until Florence when the greasy men calling it out to me made it sound a little dirty... Still a beautiful word though!

Beeswax said...

I am a total anglophile, too. Only lived in London for study abroad, tho, so don't know my way around so well as you do.

I would love to live there again, and spouse is on board. But I don't think we can afford to live in central London with 5 kids! And how would I live without my minivan?

My favorite Britishism at the moment is whinger.

raybee... said...

My MOST favorite is RUBBISH. I say this all the time. For example, when referring to the garbage/trash bin and also when referring to something I don't agree with, or something that is dumb. Love this word.

Another one I love is BOOT - as in the trunk of a car, not that someone got the boot/was sacked (fired). I love saying, "just throw it in the boot." Or, "Could you please pop the boot." I think I said that last one on my mission probably four or five times a day when I was in a car area.

Fun post, Les!!

Richelle said...

I miss me some British words. I still pronounce "herb" with the "h" and "pasta" with a short "a" sound. I like "rubbish" too.

Kirbell said...

I, too, had a stint in the wonderful country of England -not London, though. Some of my favorite British words are nackered for tired and snog -making out. Not that I did it.

Camille said...

My favorite word that I wanted to teach our kids is flatulate. So much better than fart, right? Jared's sister babysat a little girl when we were first married, and that's what she'd say, excuse me I flatulated. So much cuter coming from a two year old. However my children love to laugh and giggle over those lovely potty words, so much to my dismay we say fart in this house.

gucci said...
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Heidi said...

Your London experience was slightly different from mine... ;) I know a lot of places NOT to go unless you wear a black name badge and are protected from your own foolishness by angels. I also know that it's illegal to leaflet in Hyde Park. And though I haven't been back to London for years, I could still get just about anywhere with a tube map.
Incidentally, I do speak British. And now I can speak Yorkshire. Which is so much more interesting than London.