Switching language and what does it mean??

This blog is not “travel” related, well may be a little bit…

It is a big adjustment when you grow up talking one language and all of a sudden have to switch to a different language for most of your communication.  Growing up in India, we used to talk in Telugu, my mother tongue. In school we had to learn English as second language and Hindi (India’s national language) as 3rd language.  We had at least a bit of practice in Hindi, but I never had a “Full” conversation in english until I left India in 1990 to come to US.

Not that I am perfect at it, but now I am able to manage 95% of my communication in English and starting to get rusty in reading and remember words in my mother tongue.  You know you MADE the transition when you start dreaming in ENGLISH 🙂

Well, even though we learned english as a language in school, it was mostly British, and formal.  Everything is full sentences and proper.. so no wonder in the beginning people could never understand me.. not to mention the heavy accent that comes with it.

Here are a few things you had to get used to:

1.  “Z” is pronounced as ZED in India and it is Zee in US.  Now I am so used to it, I pronounce it as Zee and some of the guys in India write down “G”.

2.  Color used to be Colour, Check used to be Cheque, etc.  I guess we don’t want too many letters around here…

3.  The toughest part of it all is the “Slang” – when you don’t grow up speaking the language, I guess you never know some of these words/phrases.

It started back in 1994 when Lesli asked me to go “run this off” … I was like, run it to where?  She meant she wanted a copy of the paper she was showing me.  I still can’t figure why it is called “running it” off? Oh well….

Why are we so obsessed with the word “Jump”?… I am going to jump in to the shower, Jump in to my car… even today a guy on phone saying … “I am about to Jump on a plane, I will talk to you later”… how come they are all JUMPING?  I looked up “jump” on dictionary.com – it says:

Jump (v): to spring clear of the ground or other support by a sudden muscular effort; leap: to jump into the air;to jump out a window.

I know it had a few more meanings.. but this is the meaning I remember growing up… so I always imagine people really JUMPING into bath tub or open the car door and spring themselves into driver seat… well I am going to jump to my next word 🙂

Then, there are these “phrases” people use… I don’t think anyone can really explain the true origin, but they get what it means.

You can wait till the cows come home“… why?  Cows take a long time to come home? Don’t they want to make it home before night? so does it mean, late night?? so I had to look it up 🙂

One of my colleagues used to say “chaps my hide“… I figured it meant it is irritating him, so looked it up to find out its origination is from people riding horses… chaps their asses….

Well he is not the brightest duck in the pond“… hmm.. there are bright ducks and dumb ducks in the pond?  Can we figure out their IQ or the one that gets shot first, is the dumb one??

Here are some more from Lesli that now made them part of my vocabulary…

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig… what the heck? What is jiggety-jig? Sounds cool to say it though.

Scoop the loop – I guess it is a Storm Lake, Iowa thing to circle the road around the lake… no idea if anyone else will get it or say it.

Cherries in Rearview Mirror – what? Cherry fruit hanging on the car rearview mirror?… wait you mean the cops red lights flashing that you see in your rearview mirror?

I can go on.. but you get the whiff.. know what im sayin’?

It is going to be a learning experience for rest of my life.. to keep up with this, and I like it… now I am GOING to JUMP out of my seat on the plane and go to restroom…

Later gators… (everybody is a Gator?? I didn’t know that).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s