The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd

Life in London: learning new lingo

If my tone from this point on sounds rather different (posh? Trying too hard to be British? Using the word “rather” too often?), the influence of reading too many books and writing too many essays must inevitably be blamed.

It’s called culture, people.

The point of this entry is to offer to you, gentle reader (I can’t believe authors actually say that), an overview of what I have learned so far about the English language.

Before I begin, I must offer a disclaimer. I have been in residence here for four weeks.

Anyways, I’ve been working hard on my British accent.

I can say “sorry” quite well, probably because I have to say it so many times on the street. The embarrassment of running into someone is mitigated by my secret delight in feeling absolutely British for about two seconds.

As for all the rest of the words in the English language ... well, I’ve been practicing in the shower. My flatmates tell me my accent isn’t ready for the general public yet.

I have, however, picked up a few British words that differ from ours. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Cheers!

I really hope/think this means “thanks!” One time, I stopped for a guy on a bicycle and he said “Cheers!” in a friendly manner as he rode past. That sounds positive, right?

I’m 99 percent confident it doesn’t mean something like, “Get out of my way, American person who has no clue how to cross streets!”

Lift

I definitely know the meaning of this one, it’s an elevator! Makes loads of sense. The only lifts I’ve ridden have been in Tube stations, where they can be rather sketchy. Once I was riding in a lift and it was being finicky so I said to my friend, “We’re all gonna die on here.”

Then a random stranger started cracking up. Then I got super awkward as I contemplated my own awkwardness, which made him laugh more.

I personally didn’t find the thought of death with 20 other strangers funny, but to each his own.

Personally, I’ll stick to the stairs from now on.

Biscuit

The British biscuit (aka cookie) is perhaps the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. There is one kind that is particularly good, called “digestives.” We aren’t really sure if they help digestion, but we pretend like they do, for the sake of health. They are impossible to describe, but I will fill my suitcase with them upon my return.

Porridge

Oatmeal, my morning sustenance and the love of my life. Saying “porridge” makes me feel like Goldilocks, but that’s all just part of the charm.

Speaking of food, stay tuned for my in-depth look at British food next week!

swerve@dailytarheel.com



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