Excerpts from Open Performance on Jan. 6, 2010 from Alaine Handa on Vimeo.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a very mixed background regarding English.  My Mother was American (from Oregon, specifically — and there are regional differences in the U.S.).  My Dad was born in Wales and partly brought up there and partly in Canada (Alberta — regional differences in Canada as well).  I was born in China but we left before I was old enough to speak.  Was brought up in South Africa (10 years), Oregon (3), and Hong Kong (4).  Went to college in Missouri, then returned to Hong Kong where I have lived ever since.  I had classmates in HK from all over the world.  I ministered to a Chinese church for 6 years and a mainly Filipino church for 30.  I am moderately familiar with American English, British English, Hong Kong Chinese English, Indian English, and Filipino English.  

    I won’t attempt to be exhaustive with all the differences I’m familiar with, but here are a few that I haven’t seen mentioned here yet.  

    Several have mentioned various names for bathroom/toilet/restroom/CR, etc.  One I haven’t seen anyone mention yet is “bog.”  I learned it in school in HK.  I think it’s originally British.

    For “laboratory”, I used to say “la-BOR-a-TOR-ee” until an American friend corrected me.  I was told it should be “labra-TOR-ee.”  I thought it was another case of American vs British pronunciation, but when I checked I found I was conflating the British pronunciation (la-BOR-a-tree) with the American (labra-TOR-ee).

    In cattle-raising areas in the U.S. I have had Americans “correct” my pronunciation of “HERR-uh-ford” (for the cattle breed), insisting that it should be “HER-ford” (as in the female possessive pronoun).  But they take their name from the English county, which I’ve always heard as “HERR-uh-ford” (including in the musical, My Fair Lady.  

    Filipinos tend to use “Pentel Pen” to mean any “felt-tip pen”, “nylon-tip pen”, “marker pen” or “white-board” pen, regardless of whether or not it was made by the Pentel company (in fact, usually it is not). 

    This is now “old tech”, so I don’t hear this much any more, but I used to get confused when Filipinos would ask me if I had “a cassette.”  They meant a “cassette tape player”, while to me (and in its origins) “a cassette” was the tape, not the player.  

    And that’s probably enough for now!