English. Same same – but different.

Language is a funny thing. I like to think that, though not my first or second language, I have an excellent command of the English language. I know the words, the tenses, intonation and pronunciation. Unless I’ve drunk myself into oblivion.

Yet the use of language is so. fucking. different when you compare euro-English (yes U.K.; including you) to American-English. Might as well speak two different languages. 

The “hi, howareya” to me is rude. Gimme a break! Let it sink in that you, random stranger, want to talk to me. So say hi, and wait for my reply. The oh, shit a stranger wants to talk to me AND needs an answer to a question is too much for my Dutch brain to handle. So I do fuckall and walk on. Theoretically I know that it’s just another version of hello. The question doesn’t really need an answer. This is just not how you approach people back home. 

And all the compliments. Give a Dutch girl a break. Chivalry is definitely dead in Holland. If you get a compliment back home it’s 100% sincere. It’s legit. You put it in a box and cherish it. Which is probably why the Dutch are seen as direct, forward and rude. 

I’m so not used to the shower of compliments that I can’t take them in stride. I’ll be awkward as fuck and at a loss for words. Yes, me – speechless. 

Those of you wondering, no I didn’t see the Canadian marine again. Did meet another. Who dropped the exact same line. “I wanted to kiss you from the moment I laid eyes on you.” So, is this some naval standard-issue leaflet they hand out before shore-leave? Make sure you get laid as soon as possible and as much as you can to make the passage to the next port bearable? 

That line; if a guy back home drops it, you’re basically married. It means a lot a lot. In an American accent it doesn’t have the same weight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super flattered and I’m probably effectively ruined for Dutch guys. But the constant stream of compliments just doesn’t feel sincere to this sceptic Dutchie. Then again, it’s something I could get used to. 

The Thai “same same but different” proverb makes a lot of sense to me. It’s the same, but different! It fits perfectly. In English we use indentical words, but euro-English and Continental American English is just not the same language. CEA, how politically correct of me. Don’t want to offend anyone here, ey?


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