British Steve (one of my fellow teachers and friends here) says all of his schwa sounds as “oooh.”
“Say ‘lover’, Steve!” urges American Mike, his roommate.
“Loooova,” Steve will say gorgeously.
“I don’t have an accent. I don’t know what you guys are talking abOAT.” says Alan from Ottawa. “But that letter you keep trying to say is called ‘zed.'” The Aussies, Irishman, Brit and other Canadians agree. My fellow Americans and I remain content in the knowledge that our school teaches American English so we don’t have to get used to anything funny.
“Aubergine” is what they call an “eggplant” in the UK. They also call zucchini “courgettes.” We discovered the other day that Aussies call peppers “capsicums.”
Manx Lloyd shuffles his papers and can’t find what he’s looking for: “Oh, sod it!” he growls.
Later, Bob – my fellow New Yorker -and I were laughed at when we discussed it being “Tuesday.”
“It’s not ‘Tuesday!'” said the speakers of proper English. “It’s ‘Chewsday.’ You Americans all say it with a ‘T…’!”
They complained while riding the escalator in Kyoto station the other night. “I’m starting ta say t’ings like ‘look at that bunch of t’ings over there’.” said my usually unintelligible Irish neighbor, Sean. “I’d usually say ‘look at those loads of t’ings,’ you know what I mean, like?” I immediately knew what he was talking about; earlier, I had caught Aussie Mike saying “Dude.”
And today, as I was trying to find my lesson plan in my cluttered folder, I became frustrated and said, in complete seriousness, “Oh, where is that bloody lesson plan?”
“Did you just say ‘bloody’?” Manx Lloyd asked me.
“Yes,” I said reluctantly, because I’ve always found it really obnoxious when Americans try to use UK slang (even if, in my defense, I did it completely on accident).
“Marvelous!” said Lloyd.