It’s obviously very hard to translate any wordplay-based humor into another language because it relies on a certain level of language fluency, but this is especially a challenge when the play involves idioms, figurative expressions that may or may not have an equivalent term. I had an experience that highlighted this challenge one day while a German roommate and I watched an episode of a comedy series that loves a bit of wordplay: “Arrested Development.”
I had certain expectations in me about what “life in England” must be like. Now that I live in the UK, I can tell you that some of those expectations have been fulfilled (the Brits really love tea) and some disappointed (but they’re actually not that polite, sorry-not-sorry). However, there are a few little things about living here that have taken me completely by surprise.
OK, so I laugh derisively whenever one of my coworkers, who’s basically an old Englishman trapped inside a young Englishman’s body, says “jolly good”… but secretly I find it a little endearing. British expressions are excellent day-to-day entertainment for this expat, and I’ve even adopted a few of them (with mixed results).
Here are just five of my favorites, with a more complete running list I’ll keep at the bottom of the page.
Britishisms sound about as natural coming out of my mouth as Princess Beatrice’s hat looks on her head… but I can’t stop.
Unpopular opinion: the weather in London is great.
Living in Europe and working in ESL, this has enabled me to become fluent in my “third language.”
It’s strange to need to re-adjust to American life
Ten things about life in France that I will be happy to leave behind me
Getting ready to say “au revoir” has me reflecting on what I’ll dearly miss about France…and what I really, really won’t.
the most bizarre and amazing brain trick of all is a feature of conversation with fellow Anglophone expats, in which French seamlessly infiltrates English.