I speak English. I’m an English speaker. I like to think I understand English – or do I? I’ve grown up with English, yet when I think about it, it must be baffling for those who are learning English as a second language.
Just look at our words through the eyes of ‘Ivor Headache’…
“I know to use a comma is to take a breath. I know to use a full stop is to indicate where the sentence should end. I know capital letters sound ‘shouty’ when they’re used in text messages (and after a swift lesson from my nephews and niece, I know how to turn capitals off on my phone) – yes, I’m well over 40, so I grew up without a mobile phone superglued to my hand. I grew up having to talk to actual people. If I ever made a phone call it was with permission from my parents, and then I would get a full 2 minutes (on our posh, push button trim phone) before I was booted off (the bill you see….)
The mention of the trim phone made me think about my teenage years, which in turn made me think about teenage pressures. I was a teenager in the 80s, so the fashion was – how should I put it – interesting… yes, the fashion was interesting.
We thought we were the ‘bee’s knees’ back then with our back combed hair (because our perms weren’t quite big enough), our ‘Tucker boots’ were essential and don’t even get me started on the velvet peddle pusher suits we would wear…okay, enough said about that, the vision I’m portraying is a ‘right sight’ and I have a reputation to protect”.
Have another look at this writing and some of the words used. The English language has so many words that sound the same yet have totally different meaning.
Then there is ‘slang’ linked to local dialect and age – the words we used as teenagers when we were super cool compared to the words our parents used, which I imagine they also thought super cool when they were teenagers.
Not to mention the strange sayings we often use that make absolutely no sense yet we still understand all the same. True story; my Nana used to joke saying:
“if you get poorly you could wake up dead in the morning”.
I can almost hear my English teacher rolling her eyes at me as I speak.
Examples of everyday use of words that are either a form of slang, or have double meanings include:
1. Baffling – ‘confusing’
2. Shufty – ‘look at’
3. Know – to know something, also pronounced no as in opposite to yes.
4. To – to do something; two – as in the number; too – as well as or added on.
5. 80s – the number eight, like ate “I ate at eight”
6. Booted – ‘kicked off’, ‘removed’
7. Bees knees – ‘fabulous’, ‘wonderful’
8. Hear – listen; here – ‘here’ you are; ear – the device on the side of your head
9. They’re – they are; there – over ‘there’; their – they left ‘their’ phones at home
10. Where – a place and often asks a question’ we’re – we are; wear – to wear (as in clothing)
11. Cool – temperature; expression of something good (can also use hot!)
Hey, just a thought to ponder:
“if a cat were to meow in another country to which it was born, would other cats understand, or would there be such a thing as feline local dialect?”
“I’ll get my coat………”