I got this via email from a friend in Atlanta. Found it funny and interesting, so I'd like to share with you.
English of English
By Carla Montemayor
The King's English and I
Sheffield-- I have always had a love affair with English, and for that reason I write in this language. I've encountered Singlish (the okay lahs of Singapore), Deep South English (brung and y'all), Japanese English (no R's), Ilocano English (all R's), and I have never had major surprises until now with English English, the way they speak it here in the UK.
It's not that I was ignorant of its peculiarities. I had read British authors, watched British films, and spoken with British people long before I got here. All that, however, still did not prepare me for the shock of the colloquial.
For starters, there's the verbose politesse. The British will not just say "thanks," they will invariably say, "Thank you very much indeed," or "Thank you ever so much." Ever so much na, indeed pa. How does one reply adequately to that? "You are profoundly welcome from the deepest recesses of my heart"? Sometimes I feel like bowing.
Then there are the dramatic exclamations. Things are never just "okay" or "nice" or even "great"; they are "splendid," "fantastic," and "brilliant." It's overwhelming and somewhat suspicious for someone whose own language is restrained in the deployment of superlatives. Maganda (beautiful), magaling (good), and ang galing-galing (really good) are about all we can bring ourselves to describe anything we're impressed with, although we do make up for it with emphatic gestures and lively vocal tones.
The British, when pronouncing something as being "superb," will make the most frugal of lip movements and the slightest of eyebrow lifts. Requests are bound to be long-winded. "You don't suppose you could turn the light on, do you, that is if you don't mind and if it's not too much trouble, of course?" I'm tempted to reply with a similar treatise, but I just say, yes, I suppose the Filipino CAN!
But CANS are not in vogue here. My housemate asked me for a TIN opener, not a CAN opener. And we're all supposed to throw our trash in the trash BIN, not the trash CAN. This must have confused the English when Bin Laden burst into the political scene because, well, the bin is always laden and that is why one must empty it regularly.
One evening, I decided I could speak fancy English as well as everyone, and so I announced to my housemates that I would be buying a small SKILLET. That was met with blank expressions. I am buying a small skillet so that we won't have to fry eggs in that big pan, I announced again. Oh, a FRYING PAN, they chorused. (Celtic barbarians,
I muttered under my breath.) But when they did fry poTAHtoes in that pan, they weren't FRIES at all but had somehow been transformed into CHIPS.
Don't get me started with those poTAHtoes and toMAHtoes. I scoured the grocery shelves and there wasn't any toMAHto SAUCE, just diced toMAHtoes in toMAHto JUICE. But I don't want to drink it! I want to cook with it!
I went on to the vegetable section already stressed out. No one knows of EGGPLANTS around here, just AUBERGINES. I could not positively identify the ZUCCHINIS because they were hiding under the alias COURGETTES. I've lost all hope of finding mustasa because I'm sure they're not called "moustache."
I've seen menus featuring "spotted dick," but I'm too embarrassed to order it. I searched for BISCUITS, ignoring large packages of DIGESTIVES, which I thought were for septuagenarians who had to put all solid food through a blender.
And because this is the north of England, I've been invited to TEA in the evening in which no tea was served it was actually DINNER. Then I was asked to DINNER, which turned out to be LUNCH. So now when they ask what I'm having for "tea," I say "rice." And when someone invites me to "dinner," I no longer plan to wear a shiny dress.
I have also ceased to recoil upon hearing the various endearments with which total strangers address me: "luv" (fairly common), "flower," "angel," and get this "duck." Why the name of a domestic fowl is considered a fond nickname, I have no idea. If someone called me "bibe" (duck) back home, I would surely be livid and yell back, "Itik" (skinny Philippine fowl)!
I have had to LOAD credits onto a local SIM card given to me by a friend, but I found out right away that there is no pre-paid "loading" here, only TOP-UP service. You top-up your mobile phone, tuition, bank balance.
All that topping up requires money, of course, and I cannot help making mental computations to convert pounds into pesos. (One pound is now about a hundred pesos.) So when I get a "concession" ticket (a discounted ticket for students) to watch a movie for "just" five pounds, I have actually spent P500 to see a film. Oh, bollocks! as the Brits would exclaim, and to that I can certainly relate because it sounds like bulok (rotten) and in the plural, too. In other words, bulok na bulok (very rotten).
Due to all the budgeting I have had to do, I have become better at MATHS yes, in the plural, as well. But for the first time in my life, my spelling skills have to be, er, topped up. It's labour, with a U. It's analyse and offence. All my written academic work is riddled with words underlined in red. I am completely DISORIENTED, but since this is England, I must be DISORIENTATED. Bloody strange, if you will excuse my English.
Anyway, I don't understand why "bloody" or "bleeding" is considered a swear word in this country. In Tagalog, if a meeting or a confrontation is particularly tense, it will be described as madugo (bloody). How is that filthy? Probably for the same reason that here, "phlegmatic" is something of a flattering adjective. To be full of phlegm is to be quintessentially British: calm and unflappable.
Me, I'm from a population of weak lungs where the horror of tuberculosis is still euphemized by the term "primary complex." I neither possess nor desire any phlegm whatsoever. To each language its own bodily fluid. lovely, isn't it? =) c u later, my ducks! =)