Local Lingo

dam12641 · 1 · 728

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Online dam12641

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This interests me – and possibly others?

I've noticed over the years that my slang/vocab is changing (a bit) whilst in Thailand.

For the record, I'm English (Manchester), 58, been living here 8 years, have a 10yr old daughter here (and a wife I should add).

I notice that I speak differently now, both to Thais and other Farangs.

1. Dates: I frequently hear friends telling other friends (all Farangs) that, “I'm having a party on number 22.” Number 22? Don't you mean “the 22nd”? I do this myself and I wondered why. After a moments thought, I concluded that this is how we are used to relating dates – because this is the way our Thai wives talk (generally).
2. I'm tending to drop my Manchester slang terms given the international nature of the typical pub clientele. But I do lapse back into them when talking to fellow Mancs and Scousers, Yorkies and Clayheads (near neighbours).
3. Australianisms: I've been aware of Australianisms all my life but it's probably only now that I find them creeping into my everyday vocabulary. I notice it most with words like “Eski”, for a beer cooler. I come from the cold, wet, windy UK. Why would I need a word for a beer cooler? I do now, and have adopted the Australianism “eski”. And a fine word it is too. The others? I probably use them more than I would if I were still in the UK, but hard to judge.
4. Swedishisms (is that a word?) “White Day”. What is a White Day? Apparently to my Swedish mates it is a no-alcohol day. Great drinkers the Swedes. I never had a word for that but now I use it frequently, we all need them. Ok, not as frequently as I should! Can't resist mentioning this. A mate who was Swedish but originally Finnish (his English was not great): I was waiting (impatiently) for him to finish in the toilet, so I shouted “Wako? You finish?”. Came the reply “No, I'm Swedish.” Whether he meant the joke or not, I've never been able to establish.
5. Germanisms (is that a word?): “kaput”. I've been around in Asia and I would say that “kaput” is nearly as universally understood as “ok”. Not sure why but probably because it sounds like what it means in whatever language one is speaking/hearing.
6. Americanisms: the biggie! Again, I've been familiar with Americanisms all my life. Almost without exception (there is one, see below), they are a good thing. Even back in Blighty, I was transitioning to the following Americanism (for example): TV over telly, truck over lorry, movie over film, bar over pub. Those are the common ones because they are worldwide changes and us Brits have to go along to get along. A lot of Americanisms have already become so entrenched in UK English that if I were to list them, the youngsters would just say “What?”. Examples: airplane/aeroplane, jail/gaol etc. But. Yeah (Americanism!), there's always a “but”. The Americanism I can't stand is: “Get off of it.” Off of? Tautological. Very un-American.
7. And now a personal touch. How my Missus talks. I can think of a couple of examples. My wife (who speaks much better English than I do Thai. Obviously) used to get confused with potato & tomato when we were shopping. Possibly because of the “o” ending, pretty rare in English. One day at home, she swatted her hands in the air, gave me a nod and said, “Potato.”. Ever since then, in our house, mosquitoes are referred to as “potatoes”.
8. Further to the above: obviously I am “Daddy” to my daughter. And I am therefore “Daddy” to all her friends. And all the children in the village. And their parents! That's kinda nice! (Americanism!)
9. “Talking Thai”. By that I mean me/us talking English in a simplified way, like a lot of Thais talk who are not fluent in English. Talking more slowly and using only short words. A bit like you have to talk to Americans (and South Africans) really. I'm joking guys, suck it up. I try to stop myself doing this when talking to my wife and daughter because how is their English going to improve unless they hear me speaking it correctly. Example: I find myself almost saying “What you do?” instead of using the full majesty of the Queen's English, “What are you doing?”. I'm not alone in this. I hear English friends speaking to European mates (who speak fluent and grammatical English) in this way: “We go shop. Drink beer.” Why not “We went to the pub for a couple of cheekies.”?