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American versus English
I have had a hard week one way and another, but mostly because of the way different people have a different take on things or even life, I suppose. A lot of it has had to do with language, I think, American versus English and perhaps something to do with gender
This last week, I have had ‘difficulties’ with four American women. Basically, they think that I’ve been rude to them, and I think that they have overreacted to me. I can furnish examples.
A woman responded to my appeal for short stories about Asia(ns). She replied that she wasn’t Asian, and I said that that didn’t matter, the condition referred to the story not the writer. She had first said she had a story, but when I replied as above, she wrote, ‘Right, I’m out of the loop then’.
To a Brit, using ‘right’ in this context makes it sound as if there has been an argument and she has left in a huff, yet I cannot see why she would do that. A simple, ‘Thanks for the offer, but I’ve changed my mind’ would have been more British. Did she think I was being rude? I don’t know, but I do know that her reaction seems over the top to me.
Another, I accidentally posted on a group page on Facebook. I was told, ‘Refrain from doing that…’. I said it had been a mistake and complained that that she made me sound like a serial offender. She flew off the handle, saying she wasn’t ‘in the mood to deal with me’.
I have no idea where she is coming from.
A feature is that all of these women emphasized how ‘cool’ they were, but that I’d better not rile them. That doesn’t sound very cool to me, it sounds like they’re looking for an excuse to boil over.
British women, American and British men, both sexes of all other nations (bar one person) and most American women I email, I get on well with.
Another example of American versus English, last week, a male American writer friend, told me that his book had been ‘slated’ on a famous website, so I commiserated about trolls. He quickly pointed out that ‘slated’ in the US version of English means lauded. Great! However, the point is that he didn’t jump down my throat like some of his female counterparts. He recognised the American versus English difference, and dealt with it.
An ex US Marine told me yesterday that a section of American female society was making it hard going for men because of their aggression, although he had no idea of my recent experiences.
Coincidence? I don’t believe in them. This is obviously a big problem in the USA, which is being exported via the Internet. These women are not ‘cool’, as they profess to be, they’re as taut as a tow rope on a tailhook!
However, I could live with all that, if they just considered for one moment that the form of English that they speak is not the only one in the world and that comradeship, if not friendship, should be factored in, if they are as cool as they say. I have a sneaky suspicion that these gender warriors have never left their continent and rarely speak to foreigners.
Churchill was right, two nations divided by a common language, but now exacerbated by an unwillingness to listen to what someone is saying instead of how they say it. After all, every good linguist know that you have to translate ideas, not words.
Oh, on the American versus English debate, but Australian, I like how the Australian prime minister expressed himself! He told the American actor via the world media that it was time his pooches ‘buggered off back to Los Angeles’.
I like it, I like it, I like it! No pussy-footing about, no PC flim-flam, no ambiguity – just straight-talking. There should be more of it, and he should have fined the bloke $1m and given it to the dog shelters or animal rights organisations.
On a far lighter note, I think I saw one of the rare birds fly out of the nest I mentioned a few days ago. I couldn’t be certain, but I hope it was one of them. Otherwise it must have been a different type of brown bird checking out their abandoned nest. Anyway, I have got my broken camera into a condition that I will take photos next time one of them puts in an appearance.
– Update I just saw one of them again! –
The temperature dropped ten degrees today to thirty-five, let’s see how long it takes for the monsoon to arrive.
All the best,
PS: If anyone feels upset after reading this piece on American versus English languages, it was not my intention, so read it again.
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Podcast: American versus English