Speaking Like a Brit

12 Apr

I stumbled upon a NY Times article today (admittedly suggested by Cup of Jo, a wonderful blog if you like girl things, as the article was written by her husband) discussing the use of Britishisms by Americans.  I had never really thought about it before, but I use them all the time.  I use cheers daily, call my living area a flat, and have even unconsciously come out with “aye” recently.  Because I do live in Scotland (and have been here a total of some 10 1/2 months total) and have a Scottish partner, this is both less surprising and less annoying than it may otherwise be.  I probably would have ended up picking some of the terms up any way.  Between my friends’ study abroad trips to the UK, my mom’s Australian roommate in the 70s, and general pop culture, how could I have missed or resisted gems like ginger or bloody hell?  Basically I’m just hoping that someone stops me and tells me if they think my Britishisms are terribly annoying.

In the daily Britishness that is my life at the moment, I’ve been doing more work with inclusion.  I’m having a bit of a hard time finding American legislation on this, but I suspect that some will pop up the minute I’ve posted this post.  Interestingly, it appears that the US initially signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a convention that would impact how the US educates individuals with physical and mental disabilities, and then failed to ratify it.  The UK, on the other hand,  has not only ratified it, but also incorporated it into their education legislation in recent years.  What do you think about educational inclusion?  Do you think it’s a big issue where you are?

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3 Responses to “Speaking Like a Brit”

  1. Leigh April 12, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    For the record, I am in no way going to record or report any comments to the inclusion thing in my thesis.

  2. jwdwrites April 13, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Hello Leigh, I enjoyed the article you mention and found it hilarious. We have also been adopting terms from the United States for many years. One that springs to mind is can I ‘get’ instead of can I ‘have’.Regarding your work on inclusion I am proud that the UK has adopted this disability legislation, but we have a tendency to adopt more than we can truly afford at times, albeit with the best intentions. The impact of disability legislation is small potatoes compared to the impact of the influx of foreign nationals on our school system. I am aware that this is a very emotive topic and a little off your point, but I feel that we are trying to offer a system that does not disadvantage anyone, regardless of race or ability and that is a noble motive. We are raising our children as practicing Catholics and they have attended a faith primary school in the town where we live. I would like to point out that my wife is an immigrant to the UK, so I hope you will not think that this is a racially motivated comment, I sometimes feel we have become so frightened of offending that we have become unable to have a civilized discussion on these issues. Getting to the point here, the school where our two older children attended and did well has seen its academic results plummet due to enormous rise in non-English speaking children, such that children who speak English as a first language have become a minority. This has understandably led to a greatly reduced pace of education within the classroom and lower average learning outcomes. This in turn leads to more English children withdrawing from the school and attending other non-faith schools in the area instead. What is the answer? I don’t know, but I am concerned that some parents have become angry at this situation. The truth is that to embrace a truly inclusive system will always involve some element of cost, both financial and experiential and the big question is are those individuals who make the laws prepared to take the political fallout from those affected alongside the kudos that come with humanitarian reform.

    • Leigh April 13, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      I love that the language transfer goes both ways! It’s definitely becoming a smaller world. What you’re finding in England is happening all over the world in nations that are desirable places to live. I know that there is a lot of debate about how to handle that very issue in the United States as well. I am surprised to hear, though, that language ability is something you are dealing with in a Catholic school. I assumed it would be an issue confined to state-run schools. Personally, I don’t think there is an easy answer. I think it would be really great to try to incorporate a second language into some classroom teaching, so that the students learn to communicate with each other and the world a bit better, but that is not always possible or practical. In my opinion, it would probably be best to allow individual schools and teachers to handle situations as they come rather than having politicians attempt to solve these things. The next few years here will probably be quite interesting as EU immigration continues to open up. Hopefully schools will discover a better solution than they’re implementing now so all students- disabled, typical, English speaking, foreign, or otherwise- won’t suffer.

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