I went to Tiritiri Matangi Island (see previous post) with a group of 7 other people, 3 of whom I knew. While we were eating on the evening, it occurred to me how amazing it is when a common language and common interest can unite people.
The group consisted of 2 English, 2 Spanish, 1 Brazilian, 1 Polish, 1 Korean and 1 Italian…and yet everyone was united by speaking English and also by a love of New Zealand wildlife and conservation.
It is incredible how a common language can break down barriers and expose us to greater knowledge, understanding, experiences and a deeper insight into other cultures…but I must say it would be nice to have the challenge occasionally of that language not being English.
Here is a photo…what do you call them?
The Kiwis call them Jandals (a shortening of Japanese Sandals)
The British call them Flip Flops (I assume because of the sound they make while walking in them)
The Australians call them Thongs (which in Britain is a type of skimpy underwear, why do they get called this Down Under?)
Isn’t language peculiar at times? 😄
I always find the English language to be a fascinating thing. There are so many accents in England alone and when you then add in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand (never mind non-English speakers speaking it as well!) it is remarkable how the same words can have different meanings and the same words can sound totally different too!
It is also amazing how people can delight in an English accent…strange but true…apparently the timbre of my ordinary voice carries a little more appeal to ladies on foreign shores…weird. There are times though when I may as well be talking a foreign language because I can tell as I talk that people are not understanding me…I have to slow down or start again…quite frustrating.
I imagine over time that I will start to inherit local language traits without even realising it is happening. Thank heaven that the Kiwis don’t sound like they are asking a question with every sentence like the Australians!
In New Zealand, they sound their vowels quite differently…examples as follows…I don’t think these are rules of thumb just to add confusion…
For an “i”, try a “u”…fush n chups.
The number “six” comes out as “sex”…not literally.
The word “Thames” sounds like “Tims”.
“Percent” sounds rather like “pissent”…whatever that might mean.
There are then all of the pronunciations of local words and places…from what I have read, Maori language was not written down and the English decided to do so…and you get a “wh” written down to sound like an “f”. Perhaps they were scared of starting places with “whak” with “fak”…
The unaware can be caught quite off guard. We then have words such as “route”. I say this as I would say “root”. Over here that means something quite different…this means that my genuine Canadian t-shirt is rather offensive…especially with a picture of a beaver…
Find the full definition of “rooted” just here…suffice to say it is vulgar slang for sexual intercourse…
The world is fascinating eh / ay / aye? (You Choose!)