London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

English Language Difficulties

28/09/1999, By Anon

Reader Rating: 2.7 from 7320 votes


I was in London, a few years ago, waiting for a bus to take me out to Salisbury. We stopped in a little restaurant in the terminal, and after standing in line a very long time, came face to face with a young lady who glared at us and said something which sounded like "gwan nthng kook?" I looked blank.

Thinking I was merely deaf, or stupid, she repeated it louder. I still looked blank, and finally appealed to international goodwill.

"I'm an American," I explained. "I'm sorry. I only speak English."

This was not strictly true, but it was also true that whatever she was speaking, I didn't understand a word!

Her boss happened to be passing by, and heard our exchange. He smiled, just a bit smugly, and repeated in full, plummy Londonese. "She wants to know if you desire anything cooked."

SO much for my language skills. It seems the young lady had an accent not covered in my extensive British film library!

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Re: English Language Difficulties

By Brie Bahmer 16/08/2002, (Rating: 2.7 from 7202 votes)

Don't worry about it, mistakes happen.

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Re: English Language Difficulties

By Sharonl 06/06/2005, (Rating: 2.8 from 6839 votes)

Almost 6 years ago, I met a friend of mine , in a chat room . He is from Yorkshire England. When we first started talking on the phone, every other word from me would be ,what..what...what. I had a very hard time understanding him. Now close to 6 years later, I can pretty much understand everything he says. Guess it takes some pratice :-) . Another quick story...I have a friend who was living here (Florida) and went for a job and was told she didnt speak english well enough. She had a good laugh on that one!

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Re: English Language Difficulties

By Dubhda 08/06/2007, (Rating: 2.8 from 6523 votes)

As a Londoner born and bred I was still stumped when an urchin sitting opposite me on the bus asked the conductor for "Frape'nyarf" (this is giving my age away because he really wanted a "three-ha'penny half" fare ticket - the minimum rate for kids then.

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