Language Barriers

Even though the Scots tried to populate the USA, along with the English, Welsh, Spanish and many other claimants, English, though often not of the fluent variety, is supposed to be our native language here in the USA. Stop right there! If this is the case, then why oh why am I always given a CHOICE on every call I make to hear MORE options in Spanish? Why is it that when I went to the INS to take the citizenship exam, the message boards were covered in everything but English? And the biggest why came at the citizenship ceremony itself, English was the last language to be spoken, after Mandarin, Tagalog, Spanish had all made their unwelcome appearances. It was so strange to stand there with my American flag, waiting, and waiting and waiting, for the ceremonies to be communicated to me in English. The man who performed the welcome greeting that day even announced his speech in Japanese and then Hindi, before proceeding in English. I was in LA yesterday, driving quite innocently down Florence Blvd, when it just hit me. There were no signs in English, it was all Spanish. Not even the AD’s on the billboards, on the busses, or cabs, all Spanish! When I go to Mexico, which I do love to frequent for vacation, they expect you to talk in their native language, and when I go to Italy or France, the same thing is expected there. This is the USA, so why don’t we all speak English? My Scottish english is far from perfect, even though we invented the language, but to sit in my car at Jack in the Box, going through the drive thru, and for the man or lady to keep asking me, in english, ‘can you please repeat that sir” twenty times, when all I want is a bottle of water, well, it just beggars belief why or how they can do their job on a daily basis. And yet, when I am followed by someone else through that very same drive thru, fluent in Spanish, there is no issue. Whoosh! And they are through, with food, drink and all things nice.

Then there are the language discrepancies, you know, one meaning in my country, another in yours.

“Hi Pauline how are you?”

“We just had a brown out” she says

Strange look from Alan, perhaps one of consternation and disbelief at the information Pauline just delivered.

“A brown out?” I replied, hoping the smell wouldn’t be noticeable.

“Yes” she said, “the power went off for a few moments, then came on again”

“Ohhhhhhh” said I, with some relief, “a brown out in Scotland is when someone shits their pants!”

Another example, and I am avoiding the TomAto, tomato, conundrum here. That’s too obvious. I was sitting having lunch with this lady a few years ago, when into the conversation comes a comment about Herpes and the gentleman sitting in the corner opposite us.

“How do you know he has Herpes?” I asked, quite innocently.

“You can tell, look at his head”

Well, I was certainly flummoxed and confused and I quite innocently asked her,”Can you tell from someone’s head if they have herpes?”

“Of course” she replied, looking rather disinterested by now, “look how it sits, it’s not even straight!”

Of course, she was discussing his HAIR PIECE! How silly of me!

Then there is the name Craig. A simple, regular, normal name, but spoken in the US, as CREG. It’s not CREG, you morons, its CRAIG, with the emphasis on the AI and a roll of the tongue round the R. No matter how hard I try, I cannot find one American who can say that name properly. CREG, WTF is CREG?? and to all you CRAIG”S out there, I sincerely apologize for the fact that no one in the USA can address you in the manner you all deserve. I have tried to educate these fools, but so far, I am on the losing side of an impossible battle. It’s such a simple thing to fix, but I can’t find anyone, so far, able to bypass their inherent abuse of such an easily rectifiable error. It’s the same with MARYLAND! Since when did MARYLAND become MERRYLAND?? Well, ever since you Yanks started mispronouncing the ARY. You don’t say MARY Christmas, you say MERRY Christmas, so how can MARYLAND, become MERRY without MERRYment and a change of name by deed pole? And why is it that you miss out letters in words over here in the US? Favour is NOT FAVOR, Aluminium is NOT ALUMINUM! What happened to the U and the I?? Some say you modernized our precious gift to the United States, others say you bastardized, but no matter what, it just doesn’t seem right and I don’t like it. Oh I could go on, but why bother, you’ll just end up correcting my corrections by making them all Spanish!

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