The Way I Speak

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!



A Cinematic Surprise

A Cinematic Surprise

Having still not seen the new ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘ movie, we decided to head to the cinema to watch it. Our good Chinese friend helped us book them online, as it is much cheaper than buying them at the cinema itself. For two people it was 50yuan, so about 7euro. Great! We even got to sit in the 25 seater ‘VIP’ room!

We arrived and sat down in the lovely comfortable seats and got ready for the film to start. My boyfriend asked me ‘Did she buy the tickets for the English version?’… I dunno, I forgot to ask. I know in China they have two variants of the film, one in Chinese and one in English…..’Aw I am sure it’s in English’ I thought.

It was in Chinese…

I knew, 3 seconds into the film that it was. . .It definitely didn’t sound like Jack Black huffing up that mountain… I turned to my boyfriend and whispered ‘Oh no…’

So there we were, the only foreigners in the place watching the film and not having a clue what they were saying. I was thinking to myself ‘The Chinese people here must think are Mandarin is great!’

So we spent 1 hour and 30 minutes listening to an all Chinese movie, with no English in sight… and to be honest, I’m actually really glad I did!

I say I could understand maybe 10-15% of the movie, but I spent that whole time listening and trying to comprehend what they were saying. When they were speaking fast, I literally had no idea what they were talking about, but in some scenes they would speak slow and I could understand quite a lot of actually!

If it wasn’t an animation, oh I would have been bored to death. At least with animations they are much more visually entertaining.

To be put into that situation, like a cinema… you kind of HAVE to watch the movie…. unlike at home, you’re not allowed on your phone, you’re not allowed to talk, so you are totally immersed in an all Chinese speaking environment.

I think I will try to watch Chinese animations at home more. I was really happy with myself when I could understand what they were saying.

Now that I know what kind of level I’m at while watching the film, I’ll be interested to see how my listening has improved in another year. I think I’ll watch it again in a years time and see what else I can pick up on. It will be interesting to find out!

So, although we may need to watch the film again…. ha but this time in English…. I’m actually glad to have my first experience watching a 100% Chinese speaking film with no subtitles.

I hope one day I’ll be able to confidently watch the whole film and understand all of it. 🙂