October 5, 2009

I Say Tomato

^That's my backyard. Odd photo for the first post, I know.^

I've revisited the dusty Kuldeep's Chronicles, given it a new name, and now I'm ready to report on all things British. My English housemate has graciously tried to acclimate me to, dare I say, English English, but I'm gradually learning it's practically a whole new language. For example, in an effort to blend in I pronounced the red veggie-fruit a "tomahto," and my housemate asked me if I was trying to take the piss out of her. I assured her I most definitely was not.

Below are some bits of slang I've picked up so far from middle-class English English:
(To simply call it British would be a ghastly error, since not only do Scots, Welsh, and Irish have their own distinct dialects, but so do every single tier of the deeply rooted British class system. Good grief.)

Bumf: Irritating and unnecessary piles of stuff. My personal favorite so far. As in, "My cell phone came with all the bumf about terms and conditions," or "Cole keeps filling my Inbox with bumf about England."

Pootle: A quick jaunt around the block after a big meal. As in, "Blimey, what a feast! Care for a bit of a pootle?"

Fuddle: A midnight snack. As in, "Cole gets himself a fuddle every night. It's his favorite meal."

Mooching: Chillin', lazing about. "But wait," you say, "What would I say when a friend keeps eating my food?" Don't worry...

Skanking: Mooching, i.e., living off your friends. But what exactly the Brits call it when girls dress all nasty and get up in men's bizness, I have yet to learn...


What's exciting about Oxford, though, is how international the community is. A third of the whole student body, and over 60% of grad students, hail from outside the United Kingdom, and this week has been a chance for all the international students to get to know each other. At various pubs I've met a Michael (from Jamaica), Mikhail (from Albania), and Mickaelas (from Cyprus); I've met Andreas (from Germany), Andras (from Hungary), and Andrew (from Philly). I've shared drinks with a CNN India anchor who's abandoning journalism for policy (I told him he looked familiar from Indian television just to stroke his ego a bit), and an Iranian who's not sure when it will be safe to go home again, since another doctoral candidate from Oxford is currently imprisoned there for that reason exactly.

This next week is "Nought Week" (0th?), full of inductions and orientations, and then I jump into classes next Monday. I think I'll have accumulated several reams of bumf before then.

2 comments:

Engrishwoman said...

Don't forget the words "Minger" or "Chav"

- Stef

insizlane said...

or 'pull' for hooking up