Monday, January 18, 2016

My Texas Alphabet: Y for You Bet!

The idea for this alphabet post series comes from ' The Alphabet of My Emigration' by Dee Dorota L., member of The Polish Ladies Abroad Club, who has relocated to England.
I have also decided to join the project and write about My Texas Alphabet twice a week.

When I came to Texas I had already been able to speak English (mostly its British version). Although my husband had no problems with understanding me, while using the language, to my surprise, many people seemed to have no idea what I meant when I addressed them. Of course I was aware that American and British English are slightly different, so I was not surprised when communication difficulties were caused by vocabulary differences. It was confusing though - when I was trying to find a trolley at a supermarket or have my fringe trimmed at a hairdresser's place. People did not know what I wanted and I felt rather stupid eg. showing the hairstylist 'in sign' language, to let her know what I was talking about.

I also found out that since there are many emigrants here, almost everybody speaks with their own accent. However, the most popular seems to be the one of the native Spanish speakers. Simply because many guys come from countries in South/Central America where Spanish is the first language. Polish accent is not popular at all, I reckon that is why many locals find it strange or difficult to understand.
More over, Texan English is commonly spoken in the state. Obviously, its grammar forms and pronunciation vary from Standard British English which I had been taught.
All in all, having lived in Texas for some time, I am able to communicate more and more efficiently thanks to the fact that I also learnt quite a few new words and phrases.

Here are some examples.
  • 'You bet!' - used as a reply to 'Thank you'. Frankly speaking, I find it quite weird, considering the exact meaning of the expression. Anyway, I know what it means when I hear it after my 'Thanks a lot', but I still prefer using traditional 'You are welcome' or 'Not at all' instead. I am simply more used to what I learned before my move to Texas.
  • 'Ice box' - I do like this name for the fridge. I happened to see what a real ice box looked like when I was watching an old movie made in the 40s. The ice box was a big room with cooling pipes system on the walls. It was a cold room, quite large and fancy comparing to a modern refrigerator.
  • 'Scoop down' - when I first heard it, I did not know what I was supposed to do 'down' as nothing was 'up'....
  • 'I am good' - used as a reply when somebody is offered more food/drink. I still say my 'No. Thank you.' then. :)
Those are only some of the language aspects which were new to me. No matter how many years I have been learning English, I am still learning. And I guess, I always will.....

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