Is there a language barrier between different English speaking countries? (UK to OZ)
This blog is touching on the subject of language barriers between different English speaking countries (in my case the UK and Australia). This will be one of my many blogs along the way sharing my own experiences. In the near future I will also be blogging about "can culture shock hit you moving from an English speaking country to Australia?."
When I moved from the UK to Australia, it was very much a different experience for me than my move to Qatar. One thing I said to myself before making the move was "at least I don’t have to worry about the language barrier this time." How wrong I was!
It is not easy moving to another English speaking country. Both countries might have English as their first language, but they are both very different. Like anywhere in the world accents differ depending on what part of the country you grew up in. I am a perfect example of that. I am from Hull in Yorkshire and I frequently will say words that are certainly not in the English dictionary.
When I was growing up I used to love watching Home&Away and Neighbours (actually that has not changed I still do!) however this has not prepared me enough for my move to Australia.
When I arrived in Australia it did take quite a while to get acclimatised to the local lingo! I found that many of the words seem to be shortened. A couple of examples are, in Australia, Afternoon is "Arvo" and Barbecue is "Barbie." After about a week living in Australia I did go out and buy myself a Aussie lingo book!
When I met some Aussie’s I did keep getting asked the same question "Are you a pom?” I quickly learnt to understand people are in fact asking if I am English?
Kate’s Quick Stories
I was invited to a coffee morning and it was suggested to me "bring a plate" ,now I found this very confusing and after further research realised it in fact meant "bring some food" not that they were having a shortage of cutlery.
My dad was a little confused when I told him to make sure he packed his "thongs" when he came to visit from the UK. Thankfully he soon learnt I meant "flip flops" and not his underwear. All good experiences I say.
The Aussie lingo is very different to the British English, but I feel it’s all part and parcel of getting used to a new culture and their norms.
* Top Tip!
In my opinion during an expatriation move you have to understand that language is going to be different and cultures are different worldwide and just because you know something differently does not necessarily mean that's the right way.
Few other tips for embracing the change:
• Do not try to change someone! We all speak differently, embrace it and enjoy the other's culture and norms.
• Try and do a bit more research than watching Home & Away before moving to Australia. Invest in an Aussie Lingo book. I am not saying learn it from cover to cover, but have a basic understanding before arriving and enjoy it!.
• If you do not know what someone means, then just ask. There is no harm in just saying "I am sorry, but I am not sure what you're asking me?". Can you imagine if I had just turned up with a plate for the coffee morning with no food?
• Maintain your sense of humour! Do not take everything so seriously, if you do, you will just stress yourself out.