Monday, September 28, 2015

In which the American expat in Germany gets a bit British

As an American acquaintance and I were getting ready to go run an errand, I told her, "oh, just a moment -- I'm going to go and put on some proper trousers."

She started laughing and I did too. It was such a British thing to say!

I'm not surprised, though; I know that my manner of speaking has changed a bit since I've moved here almost three years ago. I can see some of the influences of speaking German as sometimes I'll use that language's word order, such as "I went yesterday to the store."

Other times I use a lot more of British style English; I tend to say "trousers" instead of "pants," and "queue" instead of "line." It's not that unnatural of a conversion since Germans around here speak a mix of British and American English. I've also hung out with some Germans who are English teachers and they sound incredibly British, which makes sense as it's the standard for English teaching here (and part of me wonders if they enhance the accent a bit).

Beyond the influence of Germans who've learned Oxford English, I'm also influenced by my own history. I've lived in a suburb of London before and perhaps I've unearthed some of the linguistic habits I had when I lived there, though I have yet to call my cell phone a "mo-BILE" again. I'm okay with that last one!

No comments:

Post a Comment