19 Comments

  1. Wilhelmina Upton

    I actually found learning English in school rather easy. It took me 4 years of barely keeping my grades over failing those classes but that had more to do with my generel ineptidute at learning languages and not knowing grammar in general than it is a statement about the English language. In comaprison to German, I found it easy.
    We were taught British English in school even though my accents always bordered more on American English and still does with the exceptions if when I watch lots of BBC shows back to back.

    As far as writing goes, I’m British English all the way, or as best as I can because sometimes I really have no clue which spelling belongs to which. And honestly, I vote for both countries keeping their spellings. As annoying as it can be, I don’t want to give up my copious implemetation of ‘u’s for the benefit of a united langage. It would never work which is completely okay. What would we all talk about?

    Also, this is not an American/British problem. The German spoken and written across Germany, Switzerland and Austria suffers from similar problems. And I assume it’s the case for all languages that are native to more than one country.

    • I’d have to think this is an issue native to more than one language. I know that there are pronunciation differences in Spanish in Mexico versus in Spain from my travels, however I don’t think there are many spelling differences (vosotros words aside, that is).

      I’ve never had a desire to learn German, despite the fact that most people in my family have taken German courses in school at some point in their lives. I’ve been told it’s far easier than English by native English speakers, however the two native German speakers I know (three now with your feedback) have all said this isn’t the case.

      Obviously this piece is intended to be a humorous piece. You’re quite right though. If it were not for the fact that British and American English don’t match, whatever would we talk about?

      • Spanish suffers from a HUGE pronunciation and slang disparity between nations. I am fluent in Spanish, but my professors were from here, Mexico, or Venezuela, and as a result I lit-rally can’t understand a word of Argentinian Spanish. And forget Portuguese, holy shit.

        My husband speaks German as a second language and he has said it’s harder than English. It’s a very complex language and has a lot more grammar to it than English has (at least to speak it on a common level…I spoke English just fine before I knew what a subjunctive tense was).

          • Ooooh ooh ooh do you do the lishp? Please tell me you do the lishp.

            I CAN use and understand vosotros, but that’s because I taught myself. I had planned to study abroad in Spain. It would have helped if I’d finished college.

          • I can do the lishp and will slip into it if I’m talking to someone from Argentina, but I hate it. I prefer the vosotros forms to the ustedes forms, but that’s just me.

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          I find German incredibly difficult and I don’t see the problem with English. Not that mine is perfect but damn German has so much grammar. And just the spelling alone of all nouns beginning with an upper case letter but sometimes verbs can be nouns or at least look like it and OMG, it makes my head explode and 27 years later, I still can’t do it right, at least not always. And don’t get me started on punctuation, cause I can’t do that, if my life depended on it.

          My Englsih HS teacher never taught us English punctuation, he just said it was so weird and there weren’t any real rules to follow. Which is why my commas in English are a mess as well but hey, at least I don’t get confused with upper and lower case spelling.

          • Something tells me your HS English teacher may not have bothered to learn the punctuation rules, hence thinking there were none.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            He didn’t say there were none, just that they were not as clearly defined as say in German. It was a basic English course. (Not that knowing there are rules helps me anyway, re German grammar)

    • It’s okay…I’m a native American English speaker and I start speaking with a bit of a British accent when I watch a lot of BBC shows too.

      And, apparently, when I’m drunk in Brighton and I’m on day 5 of my England trip. I’ve decided I’m suggestive. I start speaking English with a touch of a Turkish/Armenian accent when I’m around my brother and father for a while too.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        I tend to forget my own German accent when I’m around other Germans with other accents. It’s weird.

        While I was in London this year, I loved using the word blimey. I’m in a completely different mindset depending on where I’m travelling and what öanguage is spoken, it’s funny and amuses me greatly at times.

  2. This was amusing to read. As a Brit, I cannot stand the word ‘ass’, and da fuck you playing at with the cheque business, and what are you doing with the word tyre. Lets not complicate matters, tire is it’s own special word, as in to tire out.

  3. I had always thought I could totally pass a British spelling test, but apparently I would fail on the word “tyre.” I had no idea they spelled it that way. That’s super weird.

    I’d be willing to compromise on most of these (although in a lot of the cases you mentioned, I actually prefer the British way…not tyre or whisky though. Tire should have an i, and whiskey should have an e), but the ass/arse and mommy/mummy one seems backward to me. I hate arse. Probably because I know more Americans who try to say it and sound stupid than I do British people. It’s also the #1 preferred word for butt in porn stories, and it always sounds just wrong and throws the whole thing out of whack. They use arse in the middle of totally American spelling, colloquialisms, and slang, and for some reason EVERYONE DOES IT. I think a memo must have gone out to all the internet porn-writers. And it throws a girl off, you know?

    And mummy is way cuter than mommy and therefore better despite the confusion with ancient linen-wrapped dead people, and I will stand by its superiority till the day I die.

    • Coming from someone speaking in UK English, mummy is fine. Coming from someone speaking US English, mummy sound pretentious. I won’t say it, especially around my family, as they already make fun of me for using words much larger than those they’re used to. I’ll give you arse being awkward in pornography though. Perhaps we can keep it as ass when people take their clothes off in front of a camera?

      • Or on paper. The biggest offender is erotica. And yes, that’s a fair arrangement.

        I can’t bring myself to say mummy either. Although I can say “mum” to people if it’s not MY mom, who’s just “Mom” to me. But I can be like “is that your mum?” and I already have a west coast accent in the south and I say certain words like a New Yorker (ya want some coawfee?) so people just think I’m weird anyway, and no one even blinks.

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