Friday, August 14, 2009

You Crazy Brits and Your Crazy Words

Today's conversation in the company vehicle:

Me: Why do Singaporeans fill the back window of their car with stuffed animals? It looks like Toys R' Us threw up in their car.

Singaporean girl from work: I don't know. Maybe they want it to feel more like home. You know, give it a cozy feel. Not me. When I had a car, I kept it very clean, lah. I did not have stuff all over.

Me: You sound like my husband. He likes cars to be spotless.

Singaporean: Oh yeah. I kept car very clean, lah. But, I kept a lot of supply in the boot. Like paper plates, plastic fork, paper towel. Just in case, lah.

Me: Uh huh. Wait, what's a booth? Are you meaning the trunk?

Singaporean: Yes, lah. I forget, you Americans call it a trunk. We call it a boot. (Her accent makes the word sound like "booth" I've realized at this point.)

Me: Oh. Ha! Is that a British thing or a Singlish thing?

Singaporean: Oh no, it's British. We use many British words in Singapore.

Ok, that's it.

What other crazy things have you Brits taught the Singaporeans? I thought we spoke the same language here. Yet I keep learning words that are supposedly from the English language that I've never heard in conversation.

I know I'm from the middle of nowhere-ish, but come on. A boot? How does that part of the car resemble a shoe in any way?

Help a girl out.

(Update: Ok, I got curious. I found this. Maybe this chart will help me learn all your crazy talk.)


FISH said...

And the hood is called a bonnet. Go figure...

TC said...
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TalesOC said...

Funny. I spent most of my youth in Georgia. I moved around so much as a young kid and since leaving though that my Southern accent is all but gone.

That's one I didn't know, and I've been living here for over a year. I don't much ride around in cars though.

How about:

Lift, Trolley, Lorry (sp?)...

Not sure if this one is British, but "postal code" as opposed to "zip code". I had a girl ask me my postal code once, and couldn't understand her accent. By the time I figured out what she meant, I said, "Oh you mean you want to know my zip code!?" And she started arguing with me that what she really wanted was my postal code, and I had to tell her that they're the same thing.

And... there are so many weird Singlish phrases that I don't plan on even trying to figure them out. Except for "lah". I think I have that one sort of figured out. ^_^

TalesOC said...

Just thought of another one!

I really had to think to figure out what the automated system I was digging through (via phone) was talking about when it told me to "enter your pin, followed by hax". I was thinking, 'What the heck is hax?!' Commons sense told me it had to be the pound key.

Anonymous said...

There is British and American English. I'm surprised you didn't know!

Honestly speaking, you can't expect everything in other countries to be the same as in America right?

Megan said...

To Anonymous: Um...I was aware that there are two different forms of English. I'm not stupid, but thanks for hinting so.

I don't expect things to be the same as in America. My point is that our English words are so drastically different at times, that you cannot decipher the meaning without asking for it.

A boot? If I took it literally, it could mean the tire. I mean, that's the part of the car that most resembles a shoe, right?

Cut me some slack here. I'm not that naive.

TalesOC: I know! The hax thing threw me off when I first tried to check my voice mail here. I had to ask my husband what the heck a hax was. I couldn't figure out if they wanted me to hit # or *

TC said...
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Megan said...

Oooooh! I like it! Definitely makes checking your messages more entertaining.

TalesOC said...

Wow, Anonymous. You tried to make us look stupid and only succeeding in looking like a fool yourself.

Of course we knew there are two types of English. How could she have written the post about the difference between American and British English if she wasn't aware there are two different types? The post itself says it. Who's dense now?

The point of her post is how different English can be based on what country you're in, even without considering slang. She has a good point too.

When I think of boots and cars, the first thing I think of is a cv boot, and I'm not even that mechanically inclined.

Check your arrogance at the keyboard buddy and think before you just throw your narrow opinion out there.

Megan: That's exactly what I thought too, about the * and #. I was really leaning towards * but it didn't make sense, because similar menus always called for #, so I went with that one and got lucky.

Anonymous said...

To TalesOC:

She obviously knows that there is a difference, but she does not know the difference.

TalesOC said...

@anonymous: Obviously she does know the difference, of she wouldn't be able to point out that there is a difference.

How something this simple is beyond your comprehension amazes me.

TC said...
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andrea said...

Postal code is definitely British!

And anonymous is a little too defensive about someone else's blog, yet doesn't want it known who they are. Interesting.

TalesOC said...

They're always like that. 9 times out of 10, a person posts anonymously because they don't want anyone to know they're about to be an ass, or about to make an ass out of themselves.

TC said...
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TC said...
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TalesOC said...

When you leave a link, you can actually use HTML in the comment to turn a word into a hyperlink like this:

Click < a href="linkgoeshere" > HERE < /a >

There are no spaces after the < or before the >, I just added them so it would post right in the comment.

Now, to check out this link you left.

TC said...
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Anonymous said...

Typical Americans - thinking that the world revolves around them. Obviously she doesn't know the British word for trunk is boot because she asked whether it is British or Singlish. In a previous post, she claimed that the people in Singapore insists on wrongly spelling tire as tyre. That shows she wasn't aware that there is another standard for English, i.e. Queen's English. Try some humility instead of arrogance, it will help you to win friends. I must say that some of the postings are very interesting, offering a different perspective of the world around us.

TC said...
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Anonymous said...

To TalesOC:

FYI, there are 2 different Anonymous here. I am the first one.

Let me rephrase my sentence since you fail to understand it.

She obviously knows that there is a difference, but she does not know what exactly the difference is.

Don't worry, I am not picking a fight with anyone in this blog. I think this is a lovely blog and I enjoy reading her posts very much. Every now and then, i have an opinion on her posts so i just leave a comment. (Just making use of the features here). No need to go all defensive for her, since i am not flaming her or whatsoever.

TalesOC said...


I haven't met Megan, but she seems like a very nice person to me. I don't think anything she's writing is arrogant. She's simply stating her opinion of the differences between living in Singapore and the US. What's wrong with that? I'm no expert on her blog, but I haven't seen anything overly negative so far.

You have yet to add anything relevant to the conversation. IMO you should GTFO.

Other Anonymous Guy ^_^ Dude, you should make a handle, even if it's just a random user name, so no one lumps you together with other 'Anonymous' accidentally.

Anonymous said...

To TalesOC:

I will not be arguing or throwing insults at you (or anybody else) anymore, since my original post had no relevance to you anyway

Megan said...

Ok. Ok. Ok. Things are getting a lil' too heated in an already boiling hot country.

I appreciate the feedback guys. I enjoy hearing from all sides of the spectrum. (Sometimes, I would prefer it be phrased in a more polite manner, but that's just my Momma's influence talkin'.)

In response to some of the comments, I hope that I haven't offended anyone. This blog is seriously just my take on Singapore from my American perspective.

I'm not arrogant....except about my latest cookie creation (which I will be blogging about soon.) But about myself or my way of life, seriously not.

I really don't think America has it all figured out and I don't wish the world to change so that it's similar. What a boring world that would be, huh? I love Asia and the differences I find. I'm merely stating my confusion when I stumble onto something new to me.

OH and the thing about the "tyre". You have to excuse me. That was my first week in Singapore. I knew nothing about the history or the British influence. I naively thought it was misspelled. I apologize for accusing Singaporeans of improper spelling technique.

I do hope you'll forgive me one day.

Cori said...

As Megan's big sister, I am loving all of the people who have came to her defense because she is the sweetest girl alive, and there is nothing arrogant about her. She's honest and humorous. Blogs that lack honesty are not blogs that I want to read.

I love you Sis! I miss you, and we need to talk. Call when you can!

TalesOC said...

Megan seems like a nice person, yes, but I can't stand when "anonymous" people comment on any blog and make such ridiculous accusations.

Dawn said...

Back to the topic :)

When a friend of mine moved to Canada years ago, she walked into a fast food joint, and baffled the staff by asking for chilli sauce and serviettes.

2nd anon said...

To Megan
No, I am not offended at all. My posting is to state that there are differences amongst us that we should respect, which you did very well to pick up. In fact, there is now respect for you as you showed openness to contemplate on honest feedback, unlike some other person(s) ...