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Author Topic: English/American
blue_gal
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Hey people

I dunno about the rest of you out there, but i get rather confused sometimes with the different meanings of words that the brits and americans have for the same word.
For example americans trousers "pants" and "pants" here in england are knickers.. funny eh!!! Also americans use the word "fanny" for bum.... "fanny" here in england means vagina but in a slang term.
anyway what im gettin at is that i just find it weird how we speak the same language but didnt words mean different things, does anyone else have anymore???

p.s sorry i dont know if this should actaully be in this forum or not :s


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BruinDan
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So true, so true. Something else that you may see here is a wide variety of word spellings. I spell "behavior" like so, while the wife likes to add a "u" in there. And if I'm misbehaving, she'll tell me I'm being "uncivilised," while I'll slip a "z" in there instead. It's pretty interesting stuff when you get right down to it, and friends of mine studied linguistics and language development in college and had a blast.

I also find accents pretty fascinating. I think it's neat that you can live three hundred miles from someone and they'll talk like their from another planet. In my state alone there are about three distinct accents that I can use to geographically place where the speaker is from. It's even easier to do that for my country at large. At the very least, it's an amusing diversion, but again there are people who study this stuff so I guess there's a science to it.

Anyway, it's worth wondering if other people have noticed some of these same things, so I will move this thread to It's All About You and we'll see if anyone else responds. Cheers!

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BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 06-01-2003).]


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Beppie
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quote:
friends of mine studied linguistics and language development in college and had a blast.

Like me. I took many linguistics courses, and one of them was on World Englishes- although we didn't actually cover English from England and the rest of the UK, as that would have been another entire course in itself. I find that Australians tend to use more English terms than American ones, although the American terms are slipping in there. We always say "tap" instead of "fawcett" and it's "footpath" not "sidewalk". However "flat" and "apartment" are fairly interchangeable these days, as are "elevator" and "lift". And of course we Aussies have a few distinct words of our own, such as "bludger".


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Milke
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'Fawcett' most certainly is American, though the poster sold well elsewhere, too.

It's true that language varies by region, and it'll be interesting to see what the internet'll do in terms of spreading it, and how that will affect its evolution. I think American English is pretty well known in most places, even when it's not the main spoken language. A lot of slang terms spread just because they sound cool, and it was rather funny hearing my Californian boy laughing over a Toronto girlfriend's unconventional use of surfer slang. Almost as good as reading the weird English that ends up on Japanese products.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF

'What has the rest of you been doing while your hand has been playing Atari?'


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AlwaysWorried
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Talking of English translations on Japanese products, Pepsi (or was it Coca-Cola?) ran a campaign with the slogan:

[Drink name] brings you to life

But the translation turned into

[Drink name] brings your ancestors back from the grave


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blue_gal
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So true dan!!!! Accents, when i went over to America last year, all of the people were like "oh let me listen to your accent, its soo cool" lol i found that rather funny. It really does interest me about accents too. Like just down the road 15 miles from me, the accent there is so much broader- tis funny.
I love the way americans say banana and water, it's cool. Us brits get told that we speak posh cos we add an "R" in most thing! hehe

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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by Beppie:
and it's "footpath" not "sidewalk".

over here its almost alwyas "pavement", "footpath" usually refers to a route through the country, rather than a pedestrian bit at the side of the road.
it is really interesting the way that the internet seems to be changing the way people use language (on these boards I often have to bite my tongue to stop myself from correcting fellow brit users when they use american spellings). I have no problem with american english, I actually find it fascinating, and deeply reccomend Bill Bryson's Made in America for an entertaining history, and many good points about the ridiculous snobbery some british people have about it. however, I am British, not American, so I do try really hard to stick with British spelling and pronouciation, which is really hard with so much american media about over here. very few people seem to use the British spelling "gaol", instead using "jail", and I tend to give people a stiff talking to if they forget to pronounce the F in lieutenent, of say "tuxedo" (sp?) instead of "dinner jacket". again, its not that I have a problem with american english, just that I think its nice to preserve diversity.

and yes, Blue_gal, the fanny thing is hilarious, esp. when it comes to fanny packs, hehe. ooh, and once I saw a daytime movie in which a man was telling his wife what a huge fanny his ex had, I was like "what kind of marriage is this?", "what the hell? they're showing this at 3pm?", then I remembered the different meaning.


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by UKgirl:
and yes, Blue_gal, the fanny thing is hilarious, esp. when it comes to fanny packs, hehe. ooh, and once I saw a daytime movie in which a man was telling his wife what a huge fanny his ex had, I was like "what kind of marriage is this?", "what the hell? they're showing this at 3pm?", then I remembered the different meaning.

LOL. Man that made my day.

Yeah I am really interested in linguistics and languages. I think it's all REALLY cool and interesting. I love British accent. I can't distinguish from what part of England different people descend, but I like all of them. Can non-Americans tell a difference between a northern US dialect and a southern?

Beppie: Did you mean "faucet" instead of "Fawcett", or was that a play on words?
AlwaysWorried: Cute.
UKgirl: There is a F in lieutenant? Over here a tuxedo IS dinner jacket.

[This message has been edited by Daydreamer24 (edited 06-01-2003).]


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retarded_brat
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Bugger has a completely different meaning in the UK!!.
"Cheers" is the equivalent of "Thanks. Whereas "cheers" is used elsewhere when toasting someone when having a drink!.
"pal" or "friend" or "buddy" is simply "mate" or "matey" in the UK.
It still confuses me sometimes, but with regard to spelling I mostly stick to brit spelling as I did London 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels.

------------------
"I'm no good at putting myself in other people's shoes, I'm too busy getting my own to fit." - A.D. (Adam Duritz)


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Gumdrop Girl
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quote:
Originally posted by AlwaysWorried:
Talking of English translations on Japanese products, Pepsi (or was it Coca-Cola?) ran a campaign with the slogan:

[Drink name] brings you to life

But the translation turned into

[Drink name] brings your ancestors back from the grave


the drink was Coca Cola, and the language was Mandarin Chinese. Other bad transliterations included things that translated to "bite the wax tadpole." Eventually, the settled on a combination that translated to "happiness in the mouth."

As for the Queen's English (hate to sell out my fellow countrymen), I believe it is the true English language. But I'm fine speaking this corrupt language of ours. But I do remember once correcting an English class in Thailand (who study the Queen's English, not American English) about the dual meaning of the word "rubber" (eraser:UK::condom:US).

Hey English folk, what's it like to fake American-speak?

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Summertime, and the living's easy...


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Daydreamer24
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Does anyone agree that the English accent sounds similar to the Australian accent? What do we sound like?

Are there any comparisons to be made about the American accent? I always wonder what I sound like to someone of another country. American accents sound so boring and flat.

[This message has been edited by Daydreamer24 (edited 06-01-2003).]


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by Gumdrop Girl:
As for the Queen's English (hate to sell out my fellow countrymen), I believe it is the true English language.

I don't think there is a true/real/first language. I just think American English is different. Just my opinion.


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Milke
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There are many British accents, and many American ones, too. And yes, if you know a bit about them, you can tell where in the country someone's from. Some American accents sound reasonably normal to me, others are a bit humourous. Most lower or middle class Brit ones sound pretty normal to me because I've been watching British soap operas since I was an infant.

And I always thought lower-class Brits were more likely to add R's to things, and posher ones to drop them.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF

'What has the rest of you been doing while your hand has been playing Atari?'


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Daydreamer24:
Are there any comparisons to be made about the American accent?

You'd probably have to define which American accent you were talking about! Northerners have their own, Southerners have their own, Westerners have their own, Northeasterners have their own...and then there's Boston!

Seriously though, if you pay enough attention you can pinpoint where somebody is from after just a few words. I do that sort of thing all the time to amaze my friends, and it's a great way to win bets. But I'm not sure there can be one definitive American accent. There are just too many out there.

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Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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retarded_brat
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Generally speaking though, from my experience, I've noticed that Americans tend to drawl more, versus the clipped tones of the Brits. Listen to Hugh grant in Notting Hill or Liz Hurley in Bedazzled. Also, there are a ton of BRIT accents out there as well...the Southerns, the Northerns, and dont forget dem Scotts and dem Irish (Northern Ireland AND the Republic of Ireland included!!!).

------------------
"I'm no good at putting myself in other people's shoes, I'm too busy getting my own to fit." - A.D. (Adam Duritz)


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blue_gal
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yep tis true- ive been told loads of times that americans get confused with my accent and can't decide whether it's english or Australian. Personally when i listen to an aussie i can hear a bit of english and american accent in their accents- tis weird really cos it's like a mix!!!!

Yep i like the american accent, i think it's funny- especially how you guys drool over the brits accent.
Makes me wonder tho- how did all tis accent business come about? like who started it and stuff!


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UKgirl
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quote:
Originally posted by Daydreamer24:
UKgirl: There is a F in lieutenant?

over here its pronounced leff-tenent, instead of the american loo-tenent. I really don't know why, but i'm glad its like that, as over here loo means toilet, and it would sound rather like you were accusing them of living in one.
and about north/south US accents, ther is a huge difference, and I think most brits could distinguish, but that have something to do with the amount of US telly and music over here.

Milke, good point about the Rs, and it seems to be the opposite way around with Hs (btw, "lower class" isn't a term usually used over here, I guess (suprisingly in this classist society) it would be considered offensive. working class tends to be used instead)


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by BruinDan:
You'd probably have to define which American accent you were talking about! Northerners have their own, Southerners have their own, Westerners have their own, Northeasterners have their own...and then there's Boston!

Yes but...they all are basically the same without a drawl, right?

I love a British accent (I almost typed orgasm for some reason)!!!

I've heard from nearly every non-American that American accents are really annoying and that we talk obnoxiously and loudly!

When you talk (this is directed towards anyone), do you hear your accent, or do you hear flat speaking? Maybe I hear flat speaking just because I'm aquainted to hearing other Americans speak.

[This message has been edited by Daydreamer24 (edited 06-02-2003).]


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retarded_brat
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I dont hear an accent. But I guess others hear an accent when I speak. It's all relative.

Americans DO tend to be very loud!!!! .

I think the best English is English with NO accent. I think newsreaders have the best pronounciation. Listen to the newsreaders on BBC or CNN (more BBC). Thats perfect English in my humble opinion!

------------------
"I'm no good at putting myself in other people's shoes, I'm too busy getting my own to fit." - A.D. (Adam Duritz)


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blue_gal
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hmm i don't think americans are loud really, just i find with my friend who's american that shes a lil over the top with things, like at christmas she'll really go to town with things- but she says that most americans are. Tis all part of ur culture tho i guess
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-Jill
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I can hear my midwestern accent -- probably because we discussed them quite a bit in a public speaking class. I only hear it when I'm listening for it though.

Can everyone else turn their accent off? I can do the newsreader voice when I try but it's never going to become habit enough to be my speaking voice.


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Milke
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quote:
. . .and it would sound rather like you were accusing them of living in one.

Great, now every time I hear an American say that word I'll think of that. (And the Canadian pronunciation in this case is the Brit one, BTW.)

Sorry about the class-thing. I really wasn't thinking too much about it!

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF

'We're gonna light up the dark of night like the brightest day in a whole new way . . .'


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wobblyheadedjane
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When I'm speaking in English, I can't hear an accent. (I definitely don't say 'aboot'- I checked! ) But when I'm speaking Japanese or French, I can tell comparatively to native speakers that I do have a bit of an accent. It's a little more stilted than natural speech.
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jlpineda
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wut do you want to know about our slang terms? i think it's kind of wierd myself why we all speak the same language but both our slang can be misintupreted.
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Pumpkin_Pie
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Well, personally, as an Irish woman, I find the way all of you speak hilarious.

I think the fanny thing though is honestly the funniest.

I was on holiday once and there was an American in our hotel and they kept saying: Oh my God I need to get my fanny bag!

And myself and my brother used to actually roll around the place laughing... She thought we were right nutters..


So, as we're talking about this sort of thing?

Americans, what the hell are "bangs" on a woman?

When a woman in an American t.v. show says she's growing out her bangs what does that mean?

If I'm being rude, then god forgive but that one's been driving me up the walls for a while...

And by any chance, do Americans use the word willy to descibe certain part of the male anatomy?

As for accents, then I do notice mine. Where I'm from, we don't talk, we sing...

It goes up and down and up and down...

And the american accent is just hilarious. I'm sorry but it is. You're always so loud. In a room full of people, the American accent is unbelievably noticable.


------------------
"You said I killed you- haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe- I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always-take any form- drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!

- Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights.

[This message has been edited by Slayer_gurl (edited 06-03-2003).]


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by Slayer_gurl:
Americans, what the hell are "bangs" on a woman?

When a woman in an American t.v. show says she's growing out her bangs what does that mean?

If I'm being rude, then god forgive but that one's been driving me up the walls for a while...

And by any chance, do Americans use the word willy to descibe certain part of the male anatomy?

<...>

And the american accent is just hilarious. I'm sorry but it is. You're always so loud. In a room full of people, the American accent is unbelievably noticable.


Oh my God, your post CRACKED me up, Slayer.

Bangs. You know! They're...click here. They're the hair that covers one's forehead. Many people have them. I don't! What do you call them in Britain?

When someone says they're "growing out their bangs" it means that they don't want them anymore. They want that part of their hair the same length as the rest of their hair.

Yeah, willy is usually a funny slang term many Americans use to describe a penis.

LOL are Americans really that loud? It bugs the hell out of me because I want to know what I sound like! I don't hear an accent when I talk, only flat speaking. When you say Americans are loud, do you mean that our voices are literally loud are that we're just outspoken and we argue a lott?


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blue_gal
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ok we call bangs "fringes"

Americans are sorta loud- but i think they're loud in the way they like to be known that they are there, and to also get there point of view across to people.


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Kite
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I don't think it's so much that Americans are loud in general. American tourists abroad (the kind with the flowery shorts and the camera around the neck), those are LOUD. I think it comes from some kind of tourist insecurity, like not speaking the language and not being home and stuff.
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retarded_brat
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Irish accents are so hard to understand. My friend from Belfast was telling me how she was working at a fruit-and-veg shop and how a guy walks in and asks for a "lame". She asked him to repeat it and he said "laaaaame?..Dont you have a laame?". Then she asked him to describe it and he had made a gesture like it was a small round circular thing and then points at her green shirt (good thing it was green!). Then she was enlightned and she said "OH!. you mean LIME?". And he nods vigorously "Aye, LAAME"!.

Just thought I'd share .

Oh, I forgot to add. I dont know why but it bugs me SO much when people say "innit!". WHY is it so hard to say "isnt it!". (I'm assuming innit means isnt it!)

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"I'm no good at putting myself in other people's shoes, I'm too busy getting my own to fit." - A.D. (Adam Duritz)

[This message has been edited by retarded_brat (edited 06-03-2003).]


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Pumpkin_Pie
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Americans, it's like you take over when you come into the room.
And I adore the whle American thing. but sometimes, you can be blah BLAH blah blahlbalhbalhb!!

You know?

And yeah, we call bangs fringes! I mean, bangs, where did that come from like?

Irish accents are very different around the country. I drive a hlf hour down the road and the people have a different accent.

The Belfast accent is a tough one to crack, and no one EVER has a c;ue what I say, cos Corkonians talk so so so so quickly.


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Pumpkin_Pie
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Yeah, I have "bangs" so, I love mine.

It's this bitty little thing that goes into my eyes

I personally thinkg it makes me look cute, or like a big dork...


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Sunset_Rose
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Wow, I always thought bangs just meant hair!
Learn something new every day i guess!
I think the American accent is quite noticable, and I find the HUGE differences between the different parts of the country amazing! I never notice such a difference in other parts of England, but then I don't notice my own accent anyway.
I especially like the southern drawl- its so slow, and so different from other accents. I've found that out of all the different American accents, English peopel find the southern drawl hardest to imitate.
I also love the irish accent- as slayer said, the sing song way Irish people talk is gorgeous!

An unusual thing i have noticed is how if people hear accents enough, they start to use certain phrases in their everyday speech-For example, my best friend speaks completly normally in an english accent, but always sings in an american accent. Anyone else got examples of mixed accents like this, or is she just an original?

Love this topic by the way, its really funny... fanny bag, hahaha.. I nearly fell off my chair!


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tiptoe
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I've spent some time in the U.K. and I have to agree that the whole fanny thing still makes me laugh. I think I got most of the word and slang differences down pretty quickly so there weren't too many problems.

As much as I hate the stereotype I do have to agree that Americans do tend to be a bit loud compared to the Brits. I even caught myself having to consciously lower my voice at times. After being there for awhile I started crossing my fingers that American tourists wouldn't pick up on my accent because I found it annoying to talk to them because they were soooo excited that they had found a fellow American.

While I was there I did pronounce some words differently than I do in America because they just sounded too different. Garage and Sophia are examples. With other words, such as pasta and tomato, I stuck with the American pronunciations. Of course, since I am a pretentious brat there are words that I always pronounce in the British fashion, such as caramel and mobile. The American T-Mobile commercials drive me crazy!

For the most part I could understand the accents well, except for in a really noisy club or something. Although, I often had trouble telling the difference between "cup of tea" and "capuccino", which caused a few fiascos, as I worked at a cafe while I was there.
I did find American accents really annoying after I'd been there for awhile. In fact, I remember cringing the first time one of the flight attendants spoke on the plane back to the States. I lived in Cardiff though, and I found that a true Cardiff "townie" accent was quite bad. Not to mention that I never heard a British person convincingly immitate an American accent.

Sunset: My accent did change a bit while I was there. My mother loved to give me a hard time about it when I spoke to her on the phone, but I lost it very quickly after I came back. I did notice that occasionally I'd say something and it would come out with a much heavier British (Welsh?) accent somehow. Also I started to get asked if I was from Canada more often than the States the longer I was there.

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emsily0
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i'm mad i didn;t see this topic earlier!

i'm from boston, but i'm in london right now, doing a work experience (brit for internship) at a newspaper. when my editor reads the things i write, he has to go through and change all the spellings. jail and gaol are both acceptable now, apparently.

when he first heard me talk (and i don't really have a regional accent) he said that he found me a bit hard to understand, but that given an hour of listening to britney spears talking, he would be able to understand me. dear god, is britney the example of quintessential american speech? what have we come to?

a word that flummoxed me was "shambolic" - common enough for a front page headline, but i had to look it up. it means "in shambles".

the other thing i get a kick out of is david beckham and all the hoopla that surrounds him. i think it's hilarious! we don't have anyone like that in the states.

em

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Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls - for life is holy and every moment is precious. I heard the Denver and Rio Grande locamotive howling off in the mountains. I wanted to pursue my star further. -Kerouac


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Sunset_Rose
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quote:
Originally posted by emsily0:

the other thing i get a kick out of is david beckham and all the hoopla that surrounds him. i think it's hilarious! we don't have anyone like that in the states.

em

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Oh believe me, on behalf of the British I can say that some of us find it just a hilarious and stupid as you do...
I can't beleive theres noone like that in America though!
Over here, football stars seem to be more respected than the Queen! You don't see people oohing and ahhing if she gets a new haircut, now do you?


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