Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Native speaker

i am not a native speaker in american, and i notice that every day... funny, i have always worked in international labs; english was the everyday language and talking about my work is difficult for me in dutch (some words dont even exist in dutch). but only here in the US i realized that my english is not that good (my excuse for everything nowadays! useful!); we all spoke english as a second language, and i guess that is why we never had a problem, we were all as limited; the pace was a little slower when speaking. now it sometimes goes soo fast for me! on top of that, often americans mumble, and i just have no clue what they are saying... ( i do not at all like to call, call centers are the worst).
there are also a lot of expressions and words i never heard of ("wicked funny", "im sweating my balls off" (for guys, i believe.. ;), "anomaly"). and i still have trouble with "hey, how are you?" or "whats up?" when just walking past someone in the hallway. i always think i have to answer this question..... then there are expressions i am now familiar with, but cannot get myself to use, as i think everyone immediately will notice i am not an american! like "like", or when giving directions: "you hang a left after you turned right". going out to dinner: "yes, we are all set" or "no, we are still picking away on this". when saying bye "have a good one". i could go on, if only my english was not so limited... ;) ah, and "awesome" of course...
the very first time i entered the US and was questioned by a bored officer i could not understand one of his questions, no matter how hard i tried. i asked him 3 times to repeat his question, and got so embarrassed that in the end i just answered "yes". but what he then said i did understand; "to this question you should have answered NO!" however, i still do not know what the hell he asked me!!
(i know i told this story already a million times, by now having i written down here, i will stop telling it... :) )

10 comments:

Sylvia Neumann said...

my favorite story is at Jamba Juice, were the cashier (also difficult word to pronounce) asked me if I wanted anything else today. Not expecting this kindness and eagerness to sell I had to ask 3 times what he said. I really really thought he spoke Spanish and I almost replied, sorry I don;t speak Spanish. Fortunately I understood before I made a complete fool of myself.

I feel exactly the same. Litening improves after a while, especially listening to the radio and TV helps a lot for me. But yeah, we never learned in scholl how people actually say things.

biebkriebels said...

I remember sitting in a restaurant the waitress asked us we wanted a super salad. I answered no I want a normal salad. She didn't understand my answer, she had asked me "Soup or Salad". And the dressings for a salad I did't understand any of the six different ones. I had her repeat it 3 times. They never slow down for not native speakers, like the French.

Tim said...

hahahaha excellent. Supersalad? no normal. we also had fun at burger king where no native speaker ever works. at least this time there were only latin americans i think, and they did not speak english at all..

Pa said...

Ooit 'n Amerikaan Nederlands horen spreken? Ik wel en dat ging niet echt goed, ondanks zijn cursus Nederlands voor ambassadepersoneel.

Pa said...

Anderzijds: de Amerikaan probeerde het nog, de Brit vond dat niet nodig.

CaT said...

hihihihi. funny stories!! :D
yes, it is better than in the beginning. but still... supersalad could easily happen to me as well!
maar kon hij wel zeggen wat hij moest overbrengen?

Pa said...

The Dutch switched to English for him and the Brit. And the American was very disappointed: he never got a chance to practice Dutch in public.

Walk in New York said...

Autoportrait amusant, un bel effet fisheye

Sequim Daily Photo said...

Oh those crazy Americans!

Tim said...

by the way: i did get you a frogeye lens.. ;)