As part of my bachellor’s degree in journalism a few years back, one of the required books to read was by the radio and TV presenter, John Humphreys. The book was about languages and how the English language is evolving. One of the things he said, was that there are two kinds of English, one type of English spoken abroad, and one spoken in England. He said further more that people from abroad, whatever country, could understand each other perfectly well whilst they could not understand English people.
This is closer to the truth than you’d think. Before I moved to the UK, my English was really good. I had no problems reading bookss in English and I attended a few International conferences on disability and equality where I had no problems understanding what was being discussed. I also attended a European computer camp in Hungary where I made a lot of friends.
Moving to the UK therefore, was a shock. Of course, the English they speak in scotland can be quite hard to understand, but I also struggled to understand what my English flatmate from Cambridge said. I was frustrated and thought there was something wrong with me. And fast forward two years, I went on a European exchange camp held in England. I was now part of the British delegation. I had no problem understanding (proper English) but this time, a very different and unexpected problem arose. I had great trouble communicating properly with the other Europeans whom, if I’d met two years earlier, I’d have great convos with. They thought I spoke to English English, and I didn’t know what I did differently then to how I spoke before, so I quickly gave up making friends and I ended up hating the whole exchange and leaving early, something I laugh at today, because I met my now boyfriend at that exchange. Not that we knew we’d get together at the time of course.
Through working to prepare everything for this exchange, I had to communicate with people around Europe and one thing me and the English organiser couldn’t stop giggling at, where the funny jargan they had created which they thought were English. While I was in Florence, I also talked about the phenomenon of Euro English with an English girl who is going out with one of my boyfriend’s best friends, and we too, had a few giggles and used the words sometimes as a joke, but of course, not a joke shared by all the Italians we were with. After all, they themselves use some of these words. Here is a list of Euro English words and their definition.
Footing: Running (my favourite.
Watercooker: Kettle. (this one makes sense.)
Seadog: Seal. (I’d never have guessed. What does a seal and a dog have in common?)
Pony: Fringe (My Dutch ex’s mother used to use that and I always pretended not understanding what she meant. |It doesn’t make sense though.)
Responsibles: Camp leaders/organisers. (Sounds a bit creepy.)
Chicken skin: Goosebumbs. (Alright, I’ll allow this one as it’s sort of similar ish.)
Pineapple: Acorns/pine cones. (Makes me smile)
Sporting school: Gym. (Creative)
Spots: TV ads. (Aparrently Italians think this really is an English word. How cute!)
I can’t think of any other ones, but please feel free to add your Euro English words to the list. Maybe it would be worth creating a website http://www.euroenglishdictionary.com
There’s also this hilarious email I received a while ago which I’ll paste here. Let’s hope it doesn’t come true. 😛
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than the other possibility, German.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as ‘Euro-English’.
In the first year, ‘s’ will replace the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard ‘c’ will be dropped in favour of ’k’. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome ‘ph’ will be replaced with ‘f’. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent ‘e’ in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing ‘th’ with ’z’ and ‘w’ with ‘v’.
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary ‘o’ kan be dropd from vords kontaining ‘ou’ and after ziz fifz yer, vevil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza.
Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer,ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
I’ll end with something a Dutch minister once said: “I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart and my wife’s bottom also.”