Monday 31 December 2018

Rosetta Stone

This weekend I had dinner with my Emmy-Award-Winning schoolfriend and his American wife. As usually happens we got caught up talking about accents and translations between British English and American English .

If you say "beer can" in your normal English accent you sound like a Jamaican saying "bacon". Similarly, if you can get an American to say "The Space Ghettos" in their natural accent it sounds like a scotsman saying "The Spice Girls". Try it – it's not perfect but it's surprisingly good.

I've got a brother in Texas, various American friends and I used to go out with (date) a girl in Seattle. I thought I had got (gotten) pretty good at translating between the two languages but it's not true. A couple of months ago I tried to help a couple of people in Gatwick who had flown in from America. They were lost and bewildered in the train (rail) station clutching the instructions for their central (downtown) London Air B&B. While I could explain the instructions and tell them that "The Tube" was the name of the London subway system I couldn't pronounce it in a way that they could associate with the letters T. U. B. E.

My Emmy-Award-Winning schoolfriend however is absolutely virtuoso at translating. One of the stories told over dinner involved custard cream biscuits. He conveyed the meaning to his wife perfectly in three words (and didn't get bogged down in the whole biscuit/salty-scone/cookie problem) He said "Square vanilla Oreo".

Richard "TOOOB" B

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