I have a few American friends here but I spend most of my time with Ugandans and British and Australian ex-pats so I am finding that my vocabulary is shifting, if only for clarity’s sake. I’ve found myself saying “chips” instead of “fries” and “crisps” instead of “chips.” Beyond junk food there’s also “car park” = “parking lot,” “flat” = “apartment,” “coffee plunger” or “cafetierre” instead of “French press,” “you fancy…?” instead of “would you like…?” Yeah, it’s getting pretty bad.
I have been conscious of my tendency to adopt the language of the people around me since the New Year of the millennium that I spent in
In Senegal, one of my favorite parts of the language were the exclamations (you can read about that in an earlier blog entry) I picked up and if a French person ever heard my French, complete with West African rolled r’s and j’s converted to s’s, they would likely be confused about my origins or at least the origins of my French.
At one point, after having lived in Wisconsin and Iowa, finding myself in Philly and saying things like “wudder,” I became paranoid that my accent was becoming the worst possible mix of mid-western twang and mid-Atlantic speak. Now I add in what I’ve picked up in