I Speak English

facebook.pngNo, Facebook, I do not speak “English (UK)”. I speak English, the language of England (the clue is in the name). Please add the awkward qualifying verbal appendages to the description of your own, derivative dialect. :-P

12 thoughts on “I Speak English

  1. Hehe, I got the same thing from them.

    Actually, I’m also intimately familiar with the “Fire door, keep shut” sign that you complained about a few weeks back. It’s on many doors in my student house. It’s not as bad as the signs on the hot taps though: “Very hot water”. I don’t really understand this British mania to put cautionary signs everywhere, but oh well… ;-)

  2. I have a bit the same feeling when I must look carefully inside a list of 15 various french variations to be able to spot the “French (France)” one (I really wonder how they were able to define “French (Monaco)” as a different thing).
    But in that case, it’s not really pc to ask for a higher status :-)

    OTOH I wonder if people from Antilles and Réunion aren’t sometimes offended to see that the software suggests to tag their language as not really the same thing as France’s french.

  3. I do love the following quote:

    “Help translate Facebook into English (UK) so that it can be used by people all over the world, in all languages.”

    I know en-US has lots of differences (or as I like to call them, “errors”), but it’s hardly incomprehensible. I have to wonder what level of translation is really needed.

  4. I keep wanting to answer “Yes, I do. Why don’t you?” :)

    Reminds me of the classic English attitude of comedy. When in doubt, speak slowly and clearly “Do you speak English?” If that fails simply say it again, louder!

  5. @ Dr Moose: I can offer a slight advance on your suggestion, as I was discussing this very issue with a colleague, and he explained to me that there are in fact two languages in the world: English and Foreign. Here’s how to order a beer in Foreign:

    Oi, garçon… uno beero por favor.

    And here’s how to order two beers:

    Oi, garçon… duo beeros por favor.

    (For wine instead of beer, ask for wino, likewise for any other drink add an -o to the English.)

    And here’s how to ask one of the natives to speak English.

    Oi… No speako da lingo, you speako Anglais?

    (Note: Anglais pronounced On Glaze)

    If they still don’t understand, that’s when you resort to saying it louder, particularly the “Oi” bit. Works in all countries. All you ever really need to know.

    Sometimes when you are in Wales, you will hear people speaking Foreign. In that case, they probably also speak English, so just tell them in English that you don’t speak Foreign. You can make great friends by showing them in this way that you recognise their language. They may well even say some things to you in English as a sign of appreciation.

    But in most other places (e.g. France) you will have to do the “no speako da lingo” bit, and the natives will tend to show their appreciation by saying some more things to you in Foreign. If you make sure to be wearing an England football shirt at the time, then they will appreciate all the more that you are English, so have made a considerable effort to learn the “no speako da lingo” phrase. So you will make good friends this way.

  6. Ben Basson:
    Indeed. Most of the differences are minor spelling deviations, and all the major ones (-or versus -our, -ize versus -ise, -er versus -re, &c) are close enough that the same pronunciation is a straightforward reading for either spelling. Colloquialisms tend to differ, but they also vary from one part of the country to another, and how often do those sorts of words come up in UI strings anyway? I was kind of hoping the widespread adoption of the internet could cause the variants to kind of re-merge, in the sense that both spellings would (eventually) be considered acceptable in both places. (English, in either variant, already has numerous examples of words with multiple accepted spellings, so this would not be a fundamental change, really.) There are lots and lots of languages in the world, and that’s all well and good, but English (US) and English (UK) are so *very* similar, unless you’re a linguist studying regional dialects or something, I’m not sure what the point is really in separating them to the extent of doing separate translations.

    I can see it for a word processing program, because it means the spelling checker’s dictionary of words will use the locally correct spellings, which is legitimately useful, perhaps even important in some contexts (though, I’d like to see an additional option for English (international) that lets you type both American and British spellings; I’d use it). But for anything that doesn’t have a spelling checker built in, it just seems… superfluous.

  7. Gerv: There’s 305,000,000 of us and 61,000,000 of you. We win :)

    Ben Basson: Not much, but things like extraneous u’s (e.g. “coulouru”, “neiughubouru”, etc.) tend to make things more familiar to en-GB speakers, as well as linguistic filler like “Bob’s your uncle.” Add a pip-pip-cheerio and you’d think the Facebook guys got their start in jolly-ol’ instead of the colonies ;)

  8. We improved English (UK) to create English (US), also known simply as English.

    Consider our version 2.1 an improvement over English (UK) (version 2.0) which itself was an improvement over Old English (version 1.0).

    English 3.0 is currently in widespread beta release and can tested on any IM client. Most teens are fluent in 3.0 and either 2.1 or 2.0. ;-)

    English (OE) – version 1.0
    English (UK) – version 2.0
    English (US) – version 2.1
    English (IM) – version 3.0

  9. Hmmm I like American English. The “errors” you refer to is our version of English not sucking and sounding stuffy and absurd. Also, most of the world agrees if you use the internet at all. :) “Cheery-oh” my ass. Also for the record, I’ve been to Wales and Scotland and can;t understand a god damned word anyone was saying. America for the win! :)

  10. But it is thanks to English (USA) this is nowadays the most widespread language, and is mostly the English foreign people use.

    I am from Spain and doesn’t bother me to specify Spanish (Spain). Actually the proper term within Spain is ,Castellano, or Castillian.

    //Thanks for the blogspot: Plural of OS?

  11. jmcejeula: Historically, it’s just not true that English is widespread because it’s spoken in the US. Ever heard of the British Empire? :-) That’s why the US speaks English, Australia speaks English, many Indians speak English, … And it’s not true that “most foreign people use it” – Canadian English and Australian English are closer to UK than US. (So, Jason, your figures are misleading. Not that numbers make something right anyway, that’s a fallacy.)