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To see oursels as ithers see us

Raccoons led me googlewise to this a few days ago. A bunch of Cornish kids’ impressions of America. They must’ve studied Rockville (Maryland?) right before writing – their impressions are too homogeneous to lack an immediate influence of that sort, and one of them makes reference to films. Fun repeated themes:

  • Buildings in the U.S. (tentatively including the White House) are white to keep out the heat.
  • Lots of cars and pollution.
  • Hot in winter, cold in summer.
  • Income disparity.
  • On-street mailboxes.
  • “Grisly bears” and raccoons always scattering trash around in town.
  • Fat, strict teachers in the schools; burgers and chips in the cafeteria.

“How much crime happens every day? We have a lot of crime but apparently not as much as you, is that why you have Jay walking.”

“There are typhoons hurricanes tornadoes earthquakes and poverty and the cost of living is high .But I would not mind a holiday there.”

The use of “I reckon” by three of these kids is interesting. Is this current in Cornwall? Or are they picking up on an Americanism, perhaps used in the movie they saw?

And I dig this: “What are your school diners like, are’ grotty’ like ours ?”

Check out the scarequotes, distancing the author from a word which must’ve felt too English. Is there some Englishy word for words which are too Englishy? Seems like there oughta be. It’s hard to find definitions for some of these words – many aren’t in the OED, and Google glossary doesn’t have many of them either. “Swotty twee” is currently a googlewhack. From that interesting lone page: “Quite twee. (put that word in cos most yanks don’t know the meaning!)”

Here’s a dictionary which at least passes the swotty grotty test. Fun to browse!

8 Responses to “To see oursels as ithers see us”

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    Jesse! Thrilled that you have a blog at last. Hugs to LL šŸ™‚

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