Sunday, 11 May 2008

London calling

My bel ragazzo has gone and left me this morning...he has left me for the bright lights of London, but don't worry- he'll be back! He has only gone for 9 nights to have a training seminar for his new job.
The course will (obviously) be in English, and he is not really worried as he speaks English and has lived in the UK before, but it has been some time since he has spoken English non-stop for such a long period of time. We don't really speak English much anymore (only when I am tired, lazy, feel unwell, want to explain something which I think is important he understands, when I don't know the words in Italian, when I don't want anyone else to understand what we are saying etc...) When we met English was all we spoke as I was too shy to speak Italian as my level was equivalent to a 3 year old (and that is being generous as some 3 year old speak quite well!) Over time we started to speak Italian (well, in actual fact he made me start to speak Italian!)

Bel ragazzo sometimes finds it hard to understand different accents however: the British can be a little difficult to comprehend as some of them cut the end off their words and speak very quickly. Scottish - well forget about understanding them! When I first moved to London I had a hard time trying to understand the Scots and I am a native English speaker...imagine a foreigner trying to understand. The Irish accent is a little difficult but the fact that Italian's as a whole really seem to like all things Irish really helps (and I don't think there will be any Irish people on the training course anyway.)In preparation for the course I was speaking English in a number of (very bad) British accents, and trying the throw in as much slang as I can remember.

"Hiya, alright?" is the British welcome phrase. When I first moved to London they all started saying this and I would reply by saying "I'm ok, had a bit of a headache before, but now I am feeling better....blah...blah...blah..." and basically tell them my whole life story. When I started to notice them looking at me like I was crazy I asked a friend what was I doing wrong.

"Leanne, no one wants to actually know how you are! If they want to then they will say 'how are you today?' Hiya alright just means 'hello, or hey' No real response is necessary, or if you have to say something then then just say 'hiya' back to them."

Thank god someone explained that to me early on.

And sorry...but can I just say why do the Northerner's (Manchester, Liverpool etc..) call their siblings their kid. Confused? So was I. In Portugal I worked with a girl from Manchester and she was telling me a story about 'her kid' and how he was unwell.

'Me kid was unwell and all' (Try to imagine a Manchester accent if you have heard one before, think David Beckham but better as regardless of the fact that he is good looking, he has the worst voice in the world!)

'Oh, I didn't know you had children.' I reply

'You gota be kidin'? I ain't got no kids.'

' just said your kid was sick?'

"No, no! Up in the north me (as in my) kid means brother or sister.'

'Ahhh..ok then.' And don't even get me started on cockney slang, frog and toad up the road!

EDIT: Since writing this an hour ago, I spoke with bel ragazzo (in English) who is safely settled into the hotel, and he ran into a boy on the shuttle bus who is also going to do the course tomorrow...and although they began speaking English to one another, they soon realised they were both from Italy! So much for us being worried he would not understand everyone :)

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