I actually feel quite bad at the moment. I was recently reading a book about all the weird and wonderful phrases in the English language and their origins. And then I saw a rather funny video about cockney phrases…and was surprised at how little I knew about my own language!
And as for feeling like a ‘greenhorn’…apparently that means an amateur, or someone who is far from an expert in a certain skill, and judging by my declining knowledge of the English language, I definitely have my work cut out
I regularly come across strange translations of phrases in Dutch or German whenever I try to say something (and try to pretend I’m semi-fluent..which is far from the truth) but then when I come across phrases like ”eat one’s hat” (does anyone else know what that means??) I realise how bad my English is getting. My parents even bought me a book last Christmas called ”The Queen’s English and how to use it”. I knew it was getting worse after all the influences I have here…but I didn’t realise that it was one of those things I would have to keep working on AFTER I had finished my GCSE’s. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I realise now that I’m writing lots of papers weekly, and coming across words occasionally in a text where I have to Google them because I’m not quite sure what they mean. I always thought I was quite academic, but now I’m coming to realise that just because I’m good at writing, it doesn’t mean I can get lazy with my learning!
Although I love brushing up on my German and at some point this year I will take at least a basic Dutch language course (something else I feel terribly guilty about, as I think it’s very rude to live in another country and not at least attempt another language), I hope my English doesn’t get any worse than it is now (I read once that as you learn more languages, others can get progressively worse)!
And apparently my accent has changed a LOT. Most people when they meet me for the first time assume I’m either Australian or South African (even American…) but I don’t notice it at all. And I really couldn’t understand why. But then after a while I realized I was pronouncing vowels differently and small things like this. I don’t sound like I’ve spent my whole life in the land of Oz, but there is definitely a slight hint of something.
I guess it’s just part of studying abroad and being around so many different people from all over the world…but it would be nice to get my ‘Englishness’ back somehow (maybe it’s a good excuse to watch a lot of Monty Python and Love Actually! Yay!)….and maybe invest in a new dictionary at Christmas