If Language Be The Food Of Love…


It means I have found it.

The El Dorado, the essence of life, the I Ching, the holy grail…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, that when you start exploring a particular topic, the floodgates open and suddenly, you are awash. Where previously you could find or you knew very little, in an instant a whole deluge of opportunities to broaden a particular horizon appear.
Those of you who have been following along for a little while now will know my fascination for the trials and tribulations of the translation kind here in my adopted homeland. The nonsensical expressions of the natives, the faux pas of my own making, the idiosyncracies of place names and the general labour of love that is communicating with the locals.

Source: pinterest

And let me put this in context. I come from a land Down Under where women glow, men chunder and pretty much the only language spoken is English. As do the locals – speak English I mean…although there are about half a million Australians in the UK…but I digress.

And my I Ching? It is quite simply the definitive Anglo-EU Translation Guide. Shared with me (wry smile for free) with my over-the-partition German work colleague.

Some were familiar from my Boden Bonanza back in May 2011.  But there were others that were new – and enlightening. ‘You must come for dinner soon’ does not constitute an invitation from a Brit (but may from any of the other nationalities in my sphere). ‘I only have a few minor comments’ is not a well done/pat on the back but is rather likely to precede a complete re-working of…well, everything you were working on.

Needless to say I spent much of my first few years in Blighty hungry and over-worked.

There’s been a spike of visits and page views over my last post, where I introduced you to Jack Scott from Perking the Pansies (reciprocal back-scratching at its best, I say). Jack has set up a very useful Expat Glossary on his site to help the immigrant ingenue in fair Anatolia navigate the colourful, lotus-eating-expat populous. Inspired by this charitable act, I have decided to create a glossary of my own, Mind The Gap! to help those fresh-off-the-boat to chart a safe course through the nuances of the indigenous vernacular here in the UK.

As the disclaimer says, Mind The Gap! represents the views and experiences of the author and whoever else she can earbash at the time. All idioms, ideas and idiosyncracies have been pinched without prejudice…and without apology.

In the spirit of community, sharing our experiences to enrich others and supporting our expat brothers-and-sisters-in-arms (aka blah blah blah), if you’re prepared to be earbashed and pinched without prejudice, let me know if you’ve got any personal pearlers to add.

Source: pinterest

You never know. This could mark the beginning of a quiet revolution…

5 thoughts on “If Language Be The Food Of Love…

  1. . . once saw a neat bit of undercover videoing of US actor Samuel L Jackson who was filming in London and Liverpool, getting some local 'dialect' tuition from one of his stunt stand-ins – it went like this . .
    Jackson: 'So, let me get this right; 'Bollocks!' that's bad, right?'
    Stand-in: 'Right!'
    Jackson: (perplexed)'But 'The Dog's Bollocks!' that's good?'
    S-i: 'Right!'
    Don't know if this is appropriate for your list so won't be offended if you bin it 😀


  2. 'Mind the Gap' is an excellent idea! I've had plenty of howlers here. Probably the best (often retold) is when I misunderstood the UK phrase 'can't be arsed' and thought it was 'can't be asked' in other words, 'don't ask me because I don't want to do it'. I used this phrase several times in front of my prim mother in law, each time wondering why she looked so alarmed. When I discovered the real phrase I had that ol' familiar red-faced feeling of an #expatfail.


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