October 5, 2011

The Repercussions of a British Childhood

 Buckingham Palace with the cousins, circa '98

Even though it's been about twelve years since I lived in England, some things are still affecting me. Particularly that whole difference in certain spellings and pronunciations between English English and American English. Now, really, this does not come up too often at all, and most of the obvious things (colour, neighbour, honour, per ejemplo) were conditioned right out of me within the first year of being back in an American school system. But let me tell you, those elementary years are truly formative and somethings just stick with you, and there are some words that are used just rarely enough that when they do come up it's confusing. 

The word "basil" for example. I know in one country it's pronounced "baaahsil" and in the other it's "baysil," but in the moment it arises I am just never sure if the one I am using is the correct one or if it's the one that will make people look at me and be like, "Excuse me?" And, unfortunately, this happens more often than you would think because there is a delicious restaurant around here called Baaahsil/Baysil and I always have this issue and I always forget which one is right. I mean, American.

My sister struggles with this too. Just last year she called me saying, "Caroline, you know what cling film is, right?" and I told her of course, and she said "Good, because my housemates all laughed at me for calling it that!" (As you all know, I'm sure, cling film is saran wrap.)

I was thinking about this whole situation this week because I realized that I always write "dialogue" instead of "dialog." It's just because I like it better. Even now, just typing those words without the tidy "ue" on the end just looks kind of ugly. (Although, side note, it's always "monologue" and never "monolog." What is with this language of ours??)

Does anyone else have any struggles like this? Any of you other TCKs, perhaps? Please let me know so I'm not so alone in the world...

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