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Learning English

by 4 March 12, 2013

  The Queens English Some people collect languages like others collect stamps or teacups – they just pick up new ones all the time. Darcy, the awesome chick that created this site, is great with languages – she is a language collector if you will.  Me? My brain misfires when I try to learn a new language. Sparks fly in my temporal lobe, it’s dangerous. Luckily, they speak English in London. You probably knew that. It was a big perk to overseas living for this part of the Hency duo.  Or at least I thought it would be. The hubs and I call the language they speak here in London the Queen’s English and it certainly crosses over with American English. I can indeed communicate with most everyone here but when we leave I will consider myself to be bilingual. It turns out they speak a language called English but it is only somewhat reminiscent of what I have spoken the past twenty seven years. What makes it so different? What do you need to know when you come to London for vacation? Well friends, here they speak a hybrid language consisting of three parts, the American Words You Know, Victorian Formal, and Teenager Frag. The American Words You Know need no explanation because, well, you know them. Look out for the pronunciation though. Garage is pronounced “gare-aige” and anything that ends with “cester” or “chester” is just said “stir.” But then everyday is throwback Thursday in the Queen’s English. If someone asks about the “torch” at your house they aren’t curious if you are walking around at night with an open flame, they just want to know if you have a flashlight. Need to get your baby around London? Know you will be pushing them in a “pram” not a stroller. The sweater you brought to wear is a “jumper” and it’s probably “quite lovely” while the boat shoes you are wearing may be “a bit odd” to local Londonists. The Victorian speak is not surprising just different and kind of quaint – it is England after all. It’s when you add in the frag that the Queens English starts to feel a little schizophrenic. Little tiny kiddos and businessmen alike will let you know that their pan au chocolate is “fab.” The person who knocks your shoulder as you are getting on the tube is likely to be “soz” because they “totes” didn’t mean to shove you. If a stranger does greet you first you should be shocked but then don’t look at them blankly because they greeted you with a quick “hiya.” These three components live separately and intermingled within conversations. The Queens English weaves in and out of the world of familiarity, nostalgia, and Jen the sophomore who lives next door without warning and with ease. Ease being the thing you will lack in your conversations with Londonists because you thought they would be much easier to navigate. So brush up on your Downton and spend sometime at your local high school hang out before you land in London. Your Queen’s English will be all the better for it.   Signature_kelsey  



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