You say To-may-toe, I say…to-may-toe…

Accents are an obvious thing to expect abroad.  You think the English will sound like Downton Abbey, you assume it to be a fact.  And, in some cases, it is.  But there are some random words that you’d expect to be totally different that are actually the same, or just downright strange.  Firstly I became aware of the tones in which the English speak.  This is kind of hard to share over a blog, but it really is different.  You can “put on” an English accent, but if you don’t get those pitches right, you won’t sound “British.”  They prolong certain sounds, and move their pitches much more than Americans do.  I can’t think more on how to explain it…so I’m going to suggest the next time you watch a British show, really listen for those fluctuation.  Once you notice, there’s no going back.  But of course the next thing you notice is words.

They use different vocabulary for basically everything.  Trying to have a basic conversation with a middle school child can be difficult because they don’t know what you mean by “d’ya” or “how’re’ya doin’.” You try and find Tylenol, but they don’t sell it in the UK, it’s called something TOTALLY different, but they still sell Ibuprofen.  I take Zyrtec allergy medicine back home, but all I could find was Zirtek.  But then…food even gets a little weird.  Take for example the produce stand that comes to Bath every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (This is not it pictured above. The one above is from the Saturday market at Sainsbury’s.)  They’ll say Tomato as I do, To-may-toe, but they say Potato as Po-tah-toe.  Why? They’re like, basically the same word. They don’t seem keen on the ‘mah’ sound that you might expect someone English to say in Tomato.  And then there’s Bananas…. They’re a whole ‘nother bowl of fruit.

Now this pronunciation is just weird.  Think first, how you say Banana.  Now think, I say Banana as Bah-nan-ah.  You’d expect an English person to say Bah-nah-nah…however, that is not quite right.  They do, in fact, pronounce it as Bah-nah-ner.  Yep. With a “ner” at the end.  “Bananers for sale! Bowl for a pound!”  That’s what I hear on Wednesdays.  But it’s not only Banana that suffers this strange oratory fate.  It’s really any word that ends in an A.  The name Emma is usually said Emmer.  Idea becomes Idear.  Oddly enough, my name has yet to suffer this peculiarity.  I still remain Nyssa, though I feel it’s a matter of time before I become Nysser…that will be a sad day.  It just baffles me.  Why?  There’s no R in Banana!

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