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Separated By A Common Language And All That Jazz

Do Most Of You Yanks Really Understand What The Brits Here Are On About? Although the cultural mistranslations are probably more a question of tone and habits of irony and understatement, Jeremy Smith's online American·British British·American Dictionary, to be published next September, might be of some assistance. Although I still prefer Terry Gliedt's older but pithier United Kingdom English For The American Novice and even Scotsman Chris Rae's English-to-American Dictionary. Here's a little BBC quiz to test your skills. It seems that Canadians, Australians and [another cute quiz coming up!] New Zealanders are the only Metafilterians to completely capture all the varieties of English usage here. Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that non-U.S. users know much, much less about England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand et caetera than vice-versa? Does anyone else get the occasional feeling we're not exactly speaking the same language here?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 5, 2003 - 66 comments

Why Are The English-Speaking Nations Crap At Foreign Languages?

Why Are The English-Speaking Nations Crap At Foreign Languages? The standard explanation is that they're lazy and arrogant and expect everyone in the world to speak English. Well - surprise, surprise - that's not Philip Hensher's experience and it certainly isn't mine either. So why - or what - is it? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Aug 12, 2002 - 87 comments

God,

God, you our Fadda. You stay in da sky. We like all da peopo know fo shua how you stay, an dat you good an spesho inside, an we like dem give you plenny respeck. We like you come king ova hea now. We like everybody make jalike you like, ova hea inside da world, jalike da angel guys up inside da sky make jalike you like. Give us da food we need fo every day. Let us go, an throw out our shame fo all da kine bad stuff we do to you, jalike us guys let da odda guys go awready, an we no stay huhu wit dem fo all da kine bad stuff dey do to us. No let us get chance fo do bad kine stuff, But take us outa dea, so da Bad Guy no can hurt us. Cuz you our king, you get da real power, an you stay awesome fo eva. Dass it!

Hawaii Creole English, from the Language Museum, which lists examples of 2000 languges.
posted by swift on Jul 18, 2002 - 14 comments

It's easy to get complacent and not learn foreign languages when you speak native English. In the UK, knowledge of foreign languages verges on the comical.
posted by ecvgi on Feb 22, 2001 - 23 comments

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