Differences between American & British English
Look, I don't want to offend anyone (seriously, I don't) but:
There's a kinda big fad here in America with Britain: culture, lifestyle, ACCENT, etc. But why?! What makes 'em so special? The british class system is a lot more strict than it is here in the states (as I've seen, anyways), and they always seem so uppity. Do you guys look down on us Americans or somethin'? I mean, what's up with that British mentality? I def. got a taste of that last time I visited. (Not sayin' all Brits have it, I'm just asking, not accusing).
I, for one, like my American accent (though I can't tell how it sounds). We talk loud, prob'ly because we have a lot more emotion when we talk (Brits seem a LOT more conservative in their speaking).
So I guess I'm asking, what comes to mind when one thinks of an "American" accent? Or our culture, for that matter? I'd REALLY like to know what everyone thinks about us (About US, by the way. NOT George Bush. I find people often judge Americans by our political leaders [hello, France], which is definitely a retarded way to go). Just because when I visit other countries, it's often hard to get a good representation of how other folks view us. Last time I was in London, I was generally looked down on, but in Edinburgh, it wasn't the case. What's up with that?
P.S. for a lot of linguists, they say the Pennsylvania accent is the purest form of the American accent. Anybody know anyone from pennsylvania? (Philly and Pittsburgh don't count, they have their own).
I like your reference to Edinburgh, my home city. Thank you. Yeah, we Brits (and Europeans generally) deffo are less vocal and up front than the Americans, and that goes for southern Europeans as well but maybe less so. Even here there is a difference between them and you Americans. Gosh, it's hard to define. Who says the Brits are "special"? What do you mean? We've covered this "American accent" stuff a lot in this forum.....you guys over there seem to be much more obsessed with accents than we are. Maybe we are used to a much wider range of accents than you are in a much smaller area. You only hve to go 20 miles or so from one locality to another here and accents change. It would be untrue to say that generally Brits like the American accent....sadly, they don't on the whole. But which accent? From this forum alone we now know that accents vary widely there in the USA but it is as difficult for us to tell the difference between them (apart from the obvious Southern drawl or Brooklyn or whatever) as it is for you to distinguish between most of the Brit accents. To us, all the Americans we see over here all seem to speak the same ay, with the same accent. Generally, there is only one American accent. You know different, naturally.
As for "looking down" on Americans, maybe it is true your experiences in London are different from those in Edinburgh, so it may be an "English thing". Without starting an English-Scottish "war" we Scots do look on the English (especially from the South and London) as snobbish and reserved, and have an air of superiority. That doesn't go down too well with Scots. The same goes for the Welsh who have historically had to "deal" with the great Big Bad Neighbour..England. Less than 50% of the Welsh are supporting England in Euro 2004 football, for starters. Wow! having said that, maybe we better start putting armed guards on Hadrian's Wall and Offa's Dyke. LOL Those are ancient defensive walls/battlements along the respective borders with England..now just tourist sites.
In a nutshell, a lot of this apparent European attitude...apart from the accent and the general dislike for it (let's be honest!)....is probably cultural. A resentment in Europeans (including the British) that Americans are attempting to impose their culture on us, and see a sort of imperialism there. A perception that YOU are looking down at US! It was the British who were accused if this in history. Now it's your turn. Also, Americans are generally ignorant about anywhere outside their own borders. God, I've had experience of that with some of the US students I have met here at uni! Unbelievable! We won't dwell on Bush.... That's as honest as I can put it. No doubt others may disagree with me but that's what this forum is all about.
Well, the thing is, America's purty big. If you live in Germany and want to visit a foreign country, you take a trainride for a few hours. If you live here in the U.S. in, say, Kansas, and you want to visit a foreign country, or MEET anyone outside of the U.S. (or Kansas, for that matter), you need some serious planning and a week off from work. Americans (some) just don't have that experience with foreigners, becuase they don't see any! A lot of Americans don't travel at all, so yeah, we sometimes are kind of bad at the whole different cultures thing.
As for imposing our culture on others, dammit, it seems true. But it's America Corporate, our friend the Man, who's doin' that. Starbucks, McDonald's, etc. I hate that crap myself, as do many other U.S. citizens.
But no, it's kind of the "cool" thing to be a fan of some things british here (you see Union Jacks on bumper stickers, some of the music is over here, MOVIES and Movie Stars is a big one. Although Franz Ferdiand is okay by me. Matinee is a good one of theirs). I don't get it! Do you notice somethin' similar over there with American culture, or is it mostly negative? Because here, it's always been kind of the trendy thing to be into.
As a side note, Colin Ferrel is all the rage here. The guy is a jackass, I'm sorry. I heard he couldn't hack it in the U.K., so he came here instead.
Colin is Irish, Jeff, although I agree with you about the Union Jack on bumper stickers, fads, etc.
Oh I know he is, but since we're talking about accents and the like, people are all about his badass-sounding (fake-sounding, if you ask me; he tries too hard at it) irish accent. Ugh. The irish accent is fine, but THAT guy is right the hell out in my book.
Good to read your comments, guys. Guess we will always be divided by this common language of ours, and the Atlantic Pond, and have minor squabbles and sulks, but equally sure is that if ever push came to shove we will forget differences and stand side by side as our countries have done in the past.
I am going to be picky here, guys..sorry! It is NOT called the Union Jack really, although a lot of people still call it that. It's correct name is simply the Union flag. Don't ask me why, but you can check it out, guys. Cheers now.
Hmmm; new one by me! Thanks for the update about the British flag. I guess I wonder how it got the name in the first place. Hey Damian, doesn't Scotland have its own flag, though? Blue and white?
Yes....Scotland has the flag called the SALTIRE. A white diagonal cross on a blue background..cross of St Andrew. It is incorprated into the Union flag along with the cross of St George (England) and the cross of St Patrick (Ireland). Poor wee little Wales is not represented on the Union flag, but it does have its own national flag..the red dragon on a green and white background. Maybe it was not suitable to be incorporated into the Union flag because of its colour and design. Red white and blue are the Union flag colours as you know, like your own national flag.
In addition Scotland has the heraldic Rampant Lion...red on a yellow background but the Saltire is the national flag.
<<As for imposing our culture on others, dammit, it seems true. But it's America Corporate, our friend the Man, who's doin' that. Starbucks, McDonald's, etc. I hate that crap myself, as do many other U.S. citizens.>> I don't think that's wrong, it's the perfect way to earn money...Besides, you are not imposing your culture on others, I mean, people can chose where to go and where not to go. Personally, I like Mc Donald's (although they should make bigger hamburgers, lol), and of course there are a lot of people who don't like it because it's a foreign company but that's only because they hate the US. I'm from Argentina and I can tell you that most of my friends don't go to Mc Donald's just because it is American and not because they feel that you are imposing your culture on us.
Well, I'm not sure, I haven't had much experience being accused of America imposing its culture on others, so if any of you out there say so, I'd have to take your word for it. I just know we seem to be on everybody's sh*t list right now, and I'd like to understand that better.
So you're saying your friends don't go to McDonald's just because it's American? How absurd! That's like us and our damn "freedom fries". I dunno, is it me, or is this America-bashing thing getting more popular than it has in the past? I only say that because it seems to be the case when I travel for work nowadays. It's not like I base my entire understanding of Argentina off of what I see on the Discovery Channel, or assume every Mexican is lazy, or whatever other ridiculous stereotype/prejudices you can name in under a minute.
And as for why I'm not a fan of our Wal-Marts, Starbucks, Nikes, and Abercrombies... well... that's just a political thing. People only started hating on Enron because they got caught with their less-than-ethical business decisions. That kind of thing happens all the time, it's messed up, and leads to a LOT of other problems for the rest of us. But I'll leave it at that, that's kind of off-topic.
Yeah, The United States of America (or USA, but not America, please, I feel offended) are the most important country in the world. Before you say Duh!, I want you to know that USA impose its culture a lot!!! We Latin American, don't speak Spanish anymore, but Spanglish. ("Miss Clotilde, revíseme el homework" ; "Ay pero que cholo!!! Yo me voy con esta ropa más trendy!!!") And the worst thing is that people who say these words are people who know NOTHING about English! This makes me think: Aren't we taking USA culture blindly? It looks like USA people won't use just "America" to call their country, they'll use "The World" to call their country.
Eugenia: There's a McDonald's near my house, I go often. I don't want the "Double Big Mac" to be bigger. Also, if someone doesn't go to McDonald's is not because it is from USA, it is just because nowadays, to be fat is so "cholo".
this is quite possibly one of the most boring thing i have read in a while
Hey guys/girls....just imagine if we all got together somewhere and had one heck of a party, I guess we wouldn't care where the (BLEEP) we all came from or what nationality we were! Sorry, but I just woke up this morning feeling really good...maybe it's the sunshine outside. Hey, this is England you know..here the sun appears occasionally! Makes you feel good!
<<So you're saying your friends don't go to McDonald's just because it's American? How absurd!>> Yes, I know it's absurd! But that's the way it is (with some of my friends)...
<<That's like us and our damn "freedom fries". I dunno, is it me, or is this America-bashing thing getting more popular than it has in the past?>>Yes, that ''American-bashing thing’’ IS getting more popular, but I don't care about that, I mean, I can live with or without a Mc Donald's! Don't get so angry about that, Jeff, it's just globalization!
<<The United States of America (or USA, but not America, please, I feel offended)>> Yes, that's true but, for example, when I have to translate texts where the word ''American'' appears I (and ALL Spanish translators) go for the word ''estadounidense'' or ''norteamericano'' so when you translate it, it makes you feel less excluded :P
<<We Latin American, don't speak Spanish anymore, but Spanglish. ("Miss Clotilde, revíseme el homework"; "Ay pero que cholo!!! Yo me voy con esta ropa más trendy!!!") And the worst thing is that people who say these words are people who know NOTHING about English!>> I speak Spanish not Spanglish and using English words (when you don’t know what they mean) is just a perfect example of ''decorative English'', and that doesn't mean that USA is imposing their culture on us!!! And besides, here in Argentina, people do not speak like that, the only ones who add English words to their utterances are the people that have, at least, some notion about the language.
<<There's a McDonald's near my house, I go often. I don't want the "Double Big Mac" to be bigger. Also, if someone doesn't go to McDonald's is not because it is from USA, it is just because nowadays, to be fat is so "cholo">> 1ST: I was talking about MY friends not ‘’everyone’’, 2nd: Are we going to discuss about the size of the Big Mac????? 3rd: What's the meaning of ''cholo''?? Is it like ''fashion''? If people think that being fat is fashion I'm going to move to your country now!!! LOL, I hate having to take care of my body all the time! (Completely out of topic, I know, sorry :P)
<<Hey guys/girls....just imagine if we all got together somewhere and had one heck of a party, I guess we wouldn't care where the (BLEEP) we all came from or what nationality we were! Sorry, but I just woke up this morning feeling really good...maybe it's the sunshine outside. Hey, this is England you know..here the sun appears occasionally! Makes you feel good!>> That would be so good!!! I want a party!!
Eugenia: 1) Thank you, Eugenia. With your translations I feel less offended!
2) You've got pretty weird friends (I shouldn't criticize; I've got strange friends too). When I go to Mc Donalds I only think that I like the Quarter Pound Cheeseburger, not in the fact it is from the US).
3) I'm sorry, but here in Ecuador we don't consider fat girls as beautiful. In fact, we prefer blonde, tall, slim girls (have we heard that before?)
4) I almost burst into laughter when I read your last post. Don't worry, it's not your fault. A Peruvian might understand "cholo". If you look this word in a good dictionary, you'll find that it'll mean more or less: a poor mestizo person from the Coast. Well, that might not be true, cuz here we're all mestizos (not like Argentina, which is full of Italian Whites!). Anyway, in the "high, aniñado" social status, "cholo" is used for things that are not fashionable, and especially things that belong to poorer social status.
4a) Have you watched Laura en América? In an episode she says "me quedo con mis pobres, con mis cholos".
5) It's a good idea to come to live in Ecuador. I recommend Zamora Chinchipe :-)