Since moving away from home, teaching English and meeting my boyfriend… I have found out words and phrases that I’ve commonly used back home have slowly been disappearing….and instead, I’ve began to think in a more ‘American’ way.
First of all, the books that I teach my students with are full of American words like ‘trash can’. Then my boyfriend has also learned American English. So these are both influences.
There are tonnes of words and phrases that people in Ireland use quite regularly, like ‘grand’ ‘shite’ ‘Mam instead of Mum/Mom, the phrase ‘I’m after (doing something)’. ‘Giving out (to someone)’ We also say ‘yous’ instead of ‘you all’.
Of course my students will definitely not understand me if I say any of these!
What’s worse is when I am with my boyfriend I start thinking American English. For us ‘pavement/ footpath’ is ‘sidewalk’… so in my head, when I see someone walking on the street, now I automatically think ‘Oh they should be walking on the sidewalk!’
Then I think ‘Oh no… FOOTPATH!! I MEANT FOOTPATH!’
Instead of saying ‘crisps’ for things like Lays…I sometimes say ‘chips’.
And during teaching, I’ve given up saying the word ‘sweets’ and just say ‘candy’ now… they don’t know the meaning of ‘sweets’, and they always forget when I tell them anyway.
And actually, the same goes for my boyfriend now!
Because we spend a lot of time together and he listens to me everyday….. he sometimes has blurted out ‘Mam’ instead of ‘Mom’, ‘tree’ instead of ‘three’ and now he is saying ‘crisps’ instead of ‘chips’!!
I’ve also noticed some phrases that I commonly use which he has picked up on… like ‘Did yeh?’ I’ve also think that he has lost some of the American pronunciation of some words like ‘matter’.
It’s strange how it all works!
For me, I suppose my speaking is changing because firstly, I don’t meet any other Irish people, so I’m not continuously hearing my own native accent. Second, I’m constantly aware of my voice and if for example I say in my native accent ‘brown’.. my students won’t understand me… so I have to change how I say some words so they understand.
Lastly, my boyfriend speaks American English, so I’ve become used to hearing certain words more than others from him.
haha whats worse though is that I feel my English speaking has gotten worse. I forget certain words in English and some of my grammar gets mixed up. I don’t know why.. but I think it’s to do with the fact that I am constantly listening to non-natives speaking grammatically wrong English… maybe some of that bad English gets stuck in my head!! Also there are words in English that I rarely use anymore. In Ireland I would hear them more often so I would remember them. But here… at work I hear the same English spoken over and over again.
Well, I HOPE those reasons are true… or else I have no idea why my English is getting worse.
It’s funny how your accent changes with different environments and who you are with. I just hope that when the time comes to head home to Ireland, my Irish words and phrases will come flooding back to me!