Author Topic: English in England  (Read 6465 times)

Offline davel

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 490
  • I am intolerant only of intolerance.
English in England
« on: August 19, 2013, 08:59:40 am »
I have a friend (English) who spent a couple weeks in Spain with his girlfriend (Spanish) and her family. My friend doesn't speak Spanish and has not been in good health recently, so all things considered, he had a less than satisfactory holiday / vacation. When I told him that my wife and I had spent six days in Cornwall (SW England) he said he wished he'd spent time in England with English rather than in Spain with Spanish. I related the following story to him of how he might like to reconsider!

One night, we went to an Italian restaurant. There was a newspaper article about the owner, saying he was Spanish with a Polish wife and running an Italian restaurant. The woman who seated us had an accent, so I asked her if she was the Polish wife mentioned in the article. She said no, she was his niece (must have been the wife’s niece) and the Spaniard had died several years previous. I decided I would like an aperitif, something I very, very rarely order in a restaurant. I had seen a bottle of Pernod behind the bar, so asked for one. The waitress, who also had a foreign accent, didn’t understand me. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “A pernod, please.”
Waitress: “Pardon?”
Me: “Could I have a pernod, please?”
Waitress: “Pardon? Peroni?” (A popular Italian brand of beer.)
Me: “No, pernod.” (I had pronounced it as it is said in French, with the “d” silent.) “At least, that is how the French say it. I mean ‘pernod’”. (I pronounced it as it is spelt, with the “d”.)
Waitress: “Sorry?”
Me: “Could you write it down? P, E, R, N, O, D.”
She wrote it down and went away.

An English waiter then came over. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “A pernod, please.”
Waiter: “Pardon?”
Me: “Could I have a pernod, please?”
Waiter: “Pardon? Peroni?”
Me: “No, pernod.” (I had pronounced it as it is said in French, with the “d” silent.) “At least, that is how the French say it. I mean ‘pernod’”. (I pronounced it as it is spelt, with the “d”.)
Waiter: “Sorry?”
Me: “Let me write it down.” I took his pad and wrote P, E, R, N, O, D. “You’re supposed to pour some into a glass, and bring me a jug of water with it, so I can add as much water as I want. I saw the bottle behind the bar.”
Waiter: “So it’s a sort of liquor?”
Me: “Yes.” (Well, it isn’t really, but we seemed to be making progress. Or perhaps he was trying to say "liqueur" which I suppose it is.)
He went away.

An English waitress then came over. The conversation went something like this:

Waitress: “What was it you wanted?”
Me: “A pernod, please.”
Waitress: “Ah, OK. With ice?”
Me: “No, thank you, just some water on the side.”

The waiter then brought me a glass with the pernod, and the jug of water. When we got the hand-written bill at the end of the evening, there was one additional entry: “drink”. !!!

The following evening we went to a different restaurant, inside a 3-star hotel. The napkins were linen and a waitress brought a basket of bread rolls for us to choose from, which she then used a pair of tongs to place the one we selected on our plates, so it was very posh. At the end of the evening, I decided to have a dessert wine, but then when I saw the price, £6.50 for a 125-ml glass, I changed my mind. On the menu was written, all in uppercase letters: “SOUTHERN COM” which I assumed meant “Southern Comfort.” The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Could I have a Southern Comfort, please?”
Waitress: “Pardon?”
Me: “Southern Comfort.” I then pointed to it on the menu.
Waitress: “Sorry, I don’t know what that is.” She then went away and sent another waitress over to our table.

Second waitress: “What was it you wanted?”
Me: “Southern Comfort, please.”
Second waitress: “With ice?”
Me: “Yes, please.”

Sigh.
Davel,
an Anglo-American citizen of the world

Offline Britta

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 852
  • Technical writer
Re: English in England
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 05:46:24 pm »
Well, I WAS planning to go to Cornwall next year. Not sure what a German accent (tried to get rid of it but doesn't seem to work, at least not in the UK) will add to that. The solution might be to stay away from foreign stuff and order Gin Tonic instead.  ::)
 
p.s. If I'm very unsure about the pronunciation of foreign food I normally take the coward approach and order "Number 26, please."
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:49:37 pm by Britta »
If it's not used by a native speaker it's not idiomatic. And idiom trumps grammar every time. Jack Wilkerson†

Offline admin

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3358
  • Director at Lydbury English Centre Ltd
    • Lydbury English Centre Ltd
Re: English in England
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 09:02:31 pm »
That'll be Chinese then.   ???
Best wishes,

Duncan Baker
http://www.lydbury.co.uk

Offline davel

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 490
  • I am intolerant only of intolerance.
Re: English in England
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 12:04:01 pm »
BRITTA - There were plenty of German tourists in Cornwall when we were there, so you'll probably be in the majority! As for your accent, I still have an American accent, to English ears, after living here for 16 years. (On the other hand, Americans often think I am English). I am also often taken for Canadian, or Irish.
Davel,
an Anglo-American citizen of the world