I think it’s time for another post on language. Now that we are nearly five months into our stay, the discoveries around language differences are not quite as dramatic. We’ve mostly adjusted to the accent and the words that baffled us in the beginning. At this stage the differences are more about nuance and word usage. Here’s what we’ve noticed recently:
Full stop. Elsa Ruth had a funny experience when she was asked to write punctuation marks on the board and then tell the class their names. Full stop is the name used here for the period.
Diary. It is hard not to chuckle hearing a grown man say, “I’ll put it in my diary.” It’s not a journal with a heart lock and key, but a calendar! The word has even evolved into a verb. I’ve gotten several texts from the school reminding me to “diarize” an event.
Jotter is a fabulous word I will bring back with me. It’s a notebook for jotting ideas! Simon had to have one at school specifically covered and labeled “Jotter.”
Snollies. This is one we never would have learned if we didn’t have children with us! Same thing we call “boogers” or “snot!” Along these lines, we also don’t say, “Don’t dig your nose!”
Here are a couple of verbs that we use too just in a different way:
Sort things, sort a problem, sort you out. We use this one to tell about arranging or organizing things not solving or fixing. We heard this one frequently after the car was stolen. “You must have so much to sort.” Or Elsa Ruth has told about how her teacher says, “Wait a moment while I help this classmate, and then I’ll sort you out.”
Fetch. This is a verb I associate with dogs and bones or with episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Here it is used constantly, as in “I need to fetch the children from school.” Or “I’ll stop by to fetch it.”
Must I…? This one is subtle so I was impressed that Elsa Ruth brought it to our attention. They use it for “Should I…” Should is almost never used and I wonder if it would have a different emphasis. “Must I return it tomorrow?” certainly sounds more formal and earnest to me than what we would say.
Sometimes we encounter different usage in the school readers. Check out these:
Bin bag is what we call a can liner or trash bag. It’s funny to me that they should even have a story about “sledging” since so few people have experienced snow! Does it look like there’s any sledging in the near future where you’re living?