If you have any interest in geography you may have come across the fact that England comprises of two thirds of the island of Great Britain. Therefore it would not be considered a very large country.
Yet this little country has had an immense influence on vast parts of the world. Probably one of the biggest being the spread of its native language, English.
The Queen’s English is seen as the most pure form of the English spoken language. It was with this notion in my head that I decided to travel to this historically successful empire. My thoughts being that as my first journey abroad it surely will be less daunting than endeavouring upon a country with a native tongue other than my own.
I was of course completely off the mark. The range of English accents in one such small country is remarkable! According to Wikipedia there is even a variety of English called “BBC English”, referring to the British Broadcasting Corporation (a public service broadcaster). The more experienced ear can easily place an Englishman’s heritage based on the pronunciation of their native language. To me, it was at times like learning English for the first time!
Travelling for as little as a few hours by train you can disembark in what seems like an entirely different country. I had certainly nodded and smiled at many a phrase spoken to me, not knowing if I had just promised my first born to the lady selling me a cup of tea.
The British certainly also have a way of saying things which mean the exact opposite!
It had never occurred to me that a phrase such as the ‘dog’s bollocks’ would actually mean something is wonderful. I learnt this the hard way while working in the hospitality industry. A very distinguished looking gentleman from Oxford used the phrase to describe his dinner and I was set on returning the meal to the chef, to the patron’s astonishment of course. To use another phrase, he looked utterly gobsmacked by my behaviour.
I was also told during an English football game that the player’s goal being ‘blinding’ meant it was superb and had not caused any harm to his opponent’s eyes.
I would have to admit to spending a lot more time than I had anticipated, in a state of utter confusion while visiting the Queen and her countrymen.
As luck would have it you can learn the Queen’s English in her home country at Oxford English Academy in Oxford or head to one of the empire’s old colonies Cape Town, South Africa. We guarantee that you will be able to take on the world of English in all its complexities once you leave our school.
On that note, I’m off to see a man about a dog!