Saturday, October 13, 2012
When the Wooden Planks Rabbit and Pork
It has recently come to my attention that the Americans are imitating British speech. If you happen to be one of them, I have this to say to you:
Stop it. Stop it right now. You sound like a twit. I’ve been living in Britain for 10 years and even I don’t say “Cheers,” and do you know why? Because I sound like a twit when I do. When a Brit says “Cheers,” it sounds natural; when an Americans says it, they say it as if they imagine themselves wearing a tweed outfit and a flat cap. Like it or not, British speech just does not sound right being said by Americans.
How this usurping of the British language began is not important (although I blame Downton Abbey, The X-Factor UK and residual fallout from the Harry Potter franchise) it is only important that you stop. I can only hope this is a verbal fad—like “groovy” (I cannot believe I used to say that with no sense of irony) or “Awesome” or saying “NOT!” after a patently absurd statement—and as such will fade away as did your penchant for counting carbs and your unfortunate flirtation with disco dancing.
Please understand I am only trying to help. I’m sure, despite your sincere desire to sound like David Beckham or Pipa Middleton, you really don’t understand how to use the words Twitten, Boot, Loo, Invigilate, Jolly and Queue properly in a sentence. When you try, you might think you sound sophisticated, but if there are any real Brits in the vicinity, they will secretly be thinking that you’re making a tit out of yourself.
As proof, have a look at the title: do you know what that means? No? Britspeak FAIL! Start speaking American, okay? American speech is brash and brassy and colourful enough that you don’t need to steal someone else’s words. “Going to the Loo?” How pedestrian! I can’t think of anything more depressing than hanging out in an American pub—I mean, bar—and hearing blokes—I mean, guys—saying they are” going to the loo.” What happened to your imagination? “Going to mark my territory,” “going to drain the snake,” “I’m going to the shitter, my back teeth are floating,” – now that’s more like it; crass, bold and in your face; that’s the American way. (Just don’t, in that situation, say, “I’m takin’ the piss” because that is so very wrong on many levels and you just end up looking like an arse.)
And if you don’t care about yourselves, then spare a moment to consider how I feel about it (because, as if you need to be reminded, it is all about me). I turned my life upside down, I found myself in a strange land among strange people with a strange language, and I spent a long time learning its meanings and nuances. It was an accomplishment, something I was proud of, something that marked me out both here and when I returned to the States for a visit. But now, if the rest of you are speaking the same way I am, well, what fun is that. For me, I mean.
If you want the right to use British words then you should do what I did: sell everything you own, move to Britain, marry a British person (you won’t have any problem finding a Brit to marry; they just swoon over an American accent. NOT!) and live here among the British. After a while, you can start using their vocabulary (but not their accent, please dear god, not the accent) and correctly adopt words like Loo, Twitten, Twee, Boot, Trainers and the like.
Only then will you understand how wrong it is for Americans to adopt British speech, and you will join with me in begging them to stop.
But if you remain intent on adopting British ways, you can start by writing your dates correctly, that’s just driving me crazy.
*Title translation: When the Americans Talk