Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog 16: And then I was like…

Dear Midwest,
We should be offended. Grammarians all over the world are noting a common phenomena that is sweeping (or at this point I guess it already has swept) the world. The worst part? They are blaming the Midwest for it. Rude.
Ready to retaliate,

So, let me explain. First of all, my main teacher for this course is Terry, and he is British. Since we are in Europe, we have to teach our students British-English. It’s absolutely harder than it sounds. There are so many little phrases that we don’t say (I will call round for tea at two, the child minder will be late today, the rubbish needs to be taken out, I will call for George later, etc. We have to teach these silly phrases as well as silly words like when the lights go out you grab a torch, not a flashlight, etc. Also they spell things funny practise, harbour, colour, etc (and yes, Microsoft word just tried to correct all of those haha)) so teaching British English is a task within itself, but having a British teacher who thinks their language is so much better than ours doesn’t help.

We were talking about American slang in class the other day (of which there is apparently a lot) and we came to the words “said” and “told”. Terry said that surprisingly these words are going extinct. He asked us, “who here is from the Midwest?” and I raised my hand. (side note: I am THE ONLY ONE from the Midwest. All those other fools in my class are from the east or west coast.) “Oh, Allie. Shocking. Of course you are from the Midwest, it makes so much sense now.” I was thoroughly confused. He continued, “The other day I was talking to Trish (the other teacher) and I was like ‘I think we should include this in our lesson.’ And she was like ‘No, I don’t think that’s necessary.’ And I was like ‘Oh, we definitely should.’” And he stopped. “Sound familiar?” I honestly stopped and thought about it. Had I overheard their conversation? No, I didn’t get it. I looked to the classmates to my left. They were smiling and waiting for me to respond. I looked to my classmates to my right and saw the same thing. I was so confused. “I don’t understand, I didn’t hear you say that…” I started. He laughed. “Okay, Im going to tell you a story. The other day I was at the pub and my beer was knocked over. I turned to my mate and said ‘why did you knock my beer over?’ he turned to me and said ‘I didn’t knock it over, you did!’ Now, Allie, turn to Elena and tell her that story I just told you.” STILL CONFUSED, I turn to Elena and cautiously begin to repeat the story. “Well, Elena, the other day Terry was at the pub and he said…” I was cut off. “Well, you aren’t doing it right now because you are confused so you are speaking carefully” he responded.

APPARENTLY Midwesterners were the ones to introduce the use of “I was like” instead of saying “I said” in our everyday lingo. So, in my class, I am to blame for “said” and “told” going out of style. I wouldn’t have believed it but then later that day (my class often uses me as a form of entertainment, thanks for that) my teacher COUNTED how many times I said “like” and tallied it up. I really wouldn’t have believed that I say “I was like” that much, until I was trying to reenact this story for Ash and it went something like this…

“Terry was like ‘im going to tell you a story…’ and I was like so confused. And then he was like ‘repeat it to lena’ and then I was like ‘lena, this is what happened’ and then he was like ‘you aren’t doing it right’ and then I was like ‘what?’” and on the story went. I really do say “I was like” instead of “I said” but I think it’s just silly to blame the Midwest. As my friend Nicole pointed out the girls in California say “I was all, and he was all” instead, so I don’t think worldwide grammarians can really blame us for the loss of “said” and “told”.

As my dad so brilliantly pointed out, I don’t necessarily think it’s a Midwestern thing, I think it’s a girl thing.

And I was like love love love from Prague!!

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