Tuesday, September 20, 2011

English to English Translation


An Australian and Canadian engage in high level talks (about how much it costs to text their boyfriends back home)


Living in such a multi-cultural environment has some fun perks. We are all learning a lot about not only each other, but also about our different countries. We have several countries represented here- Australia (“heaps” of them around here!), Canada, England, Japan, Denmark, France, and Germany. We each go off to our placements each day where we learn about Cambodia, and then at night we come home to learn about ourselves. And all day long regardless of where we are we find ourselves playing a game we like to call “English to English Translation.”

English to English translation is not just trying to understand a Cambodian's English, which can be confusing at times. More often than not it is when we are trying to understand each other! Do you know how many different ways there are to say bathroom in English?

Bathroom, restroom, toilet, dunny, loo, and WC

And a few more of our favorite words-

Bobby pin, kirby grips, hair pins

Bandaids are plasters in the UK.

Sweaters, jumpers, zip ups, jackets, hoodies, and bunny hugs can cause some confusion as well.

Chips, crisps, and fries all mean different things.

We all pronounce yogurt different. Not to mention Vietnam.

Chapstick is also known as lip chap and lip balm depending on where you call home.

Do you wear sneakers, runners, trainers, or tennis shoes?

Cotton candy, fairy floss, and candy floss are delicious regardless of nationality.

Adults and kids alike drink juice boxes, poppers, and fruit boxes.

Did you know magic markers are called texters in Australia?

Air guard is insect repellant.

Of course, being an American I like to say I want to go to the store. Most of my counterparts here call it a market. A store is where you buy other things, a market is where you buy food.


Have a headache? Need some Tylenol for that? Australians have no idea what Tylenol or DayQuil/Nyquil is. They prefer Panadol. However, we all like Advil it turns out. (Sidenote- in the course of learning about Tylenol, Panadol, Nyquil, Advil, and several other medications, we also learned that you can get Ambien for $3 without a prescription here. In fact, you can get pretty much every drug possible here without a prescription, and dirt cheap. Except for Tylenol. They wanted to charge me $34 for a bottle of Tylenol PM! No thanks, I'll take the Ambien!)

Another favorite is when someone asks where their thongs are. That one definitely caught me off guard the first time. Turns out thongs are just flip-flops and someone was not asking me about missing underwear.

Apparently only Americans go to college. Everyone else goes to uni.

And don't get me started on how many different sports are called football!
Americans- well, we all know what football is, right? (Go BYU and Go Redskins!)
English/European/Spanish- their football is our soccer (Go Real Salt Lake!)
Australia has American football, Australian football (which greatly resembles Quidditch), and soccer.
However, I think rugby is always just rugby!

Don't forget the dozens of different English words for a school bag, back pack, duffel, port, knapsack, satchel, book bag, etc. (All versions I have heard this week.)

Last night at dinner some of the girls ordered a “mango pineapple crumble” not knowing what it would be. When it came out it turned out to be nothing more than a cobbler (made with mango and pineapple). That lead into another funny discussion- cobblers, crumbles, apple crisp, and apple betty. “Why do Americans have to call it so many things?”

Sometimes you really have to wonder how anyone else can learn to speak English when we can't all agree on the same words ourselves. Not to mention you then have to deal with our accents. There have been more than a few hilarious conversations with all of the native English speakers trying to figure each other out. Since arriving here I've fallen back into my usual habit when I travel of speaking in clipped, simple, unaffected and unaccented American English. There has been no hint of a Southern accent in my voice lately. However, the last 2 nights I haven't felt well, and I haven't been making the effort as much. The girls all got a good sampling of my real accent last night and thought it was hilarious. You should hear an Australian try to imitate a Southern American accent. Its a riot. (I hate to think what they think of my Aussie imitation!)





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