Over the past few years living in a country that isn’t England has made me appreciate the English language more and more. The richness of the English vocabulary is unrivalled and something to be proud of, justly. Nothing makes me miss England more than hearing someone use the word ‘blethering‘. It’s right up there with HP Sauce and pink custard in the eye moistening department. The other day I was watching Victoria Wood’s ‘Pat and Margaret‘ and a character kept calling her friend, ‘Mrs. Woman.’
‘Mrs. Woman.‘ I hadn’t heard that phrase for eons. Every utterance hit me like some kind of bittersweet, heat-seeking missile.
The thing is, with modern communication being what it is, the English vocabulary is finding fresh ears to assault in new and insidious ways. I often see interactions on Twitter in which an English tweet is explained to the curious, usually to the delight of all parties. Communication of culture will always humanise the ‘other’. It’s the only way the world will stop blowing itself up in the end. It’s how the UK could stay relevant in these times of turbulence. In the great scheme of things we can rest in the knowledge that we will always have a vast wealth of delightful euphemisms for private parts. One that will last longer than any fossil fuel reserve.
When I first started talking to my American husband I told him that I’d lived on a council estate. He naturally assumed I meant something like Downtown Abbey. Whoever said that Yanks and Brits were divided by a common language had almost certainly tried to discuss the concept of’pudding‘ with an American. When I explained what a council estate actually was, he was like, ‘Oh, you lived in The Projects’.
Projects, indeed. Projects are something you do in primary school; with sellotape and a papier mâché volcano.
In the process of our lengthy discourse, throughout our digital courtship, I have taken great joy in his delight at learning new words. Particularly the ones that pertain to the balls/ballbag region. It’s often amusing, but sometimes things that get confusing. A final word to the wise, might I suggest that the word ‘fanny’ only ever be used with clear, unequivocal clarification. It doesn’t take too much imagination to understand how this could lead to disaster, especially in an intimate setting.