Posted by: TheAuthor | 08/03/2011

Muddled Tongue

With travelling around the world you invariably encounter new people, new accents to distinguish or a different form of etiquette perhaps. Living with a different way of talking can also alter your own natural accent. For instance, after being in Canada for a few months; working with Australians, Canadians and not to forget the English, I have been called an Australian or Canadian on more occasions than I can recount – I am English. This is allegedly due to the ‘twang’ and certain words I have apparently inherited whilst being here. Saying words such as ‘eh’ at the end of a statement or question is the most obvious one for me to critic myself. At least I have avoided using the words ‘trash’ and ‘garbage’ for my native ‘rubbish’. English people must reconsider my nationality if I use the word ‘rubbish’ surely?! One would hope so.

Aside from the change of accent and additional sounds I strive to avoid using at the end of a sentence, there are countless regional and national changes to words with which I learned the English language.

I have spent many occasions with my current colleagues discussing what ‘Snow (or ski) pants’ are. Now the English language suggests these would be underwear worn for the snow or skiing, so perhaps thermals for tender areas? In fact, ‘snow pants’ are ‘salopettes’.  How about a ‘took’? This one makes little sense, as I have only recently become used to calling a hat a ‘beanie’ and now in Canada it is also a ‘took’.

Heading across the pacific now to Australia. ‘Thongs’ anyone? I would presume to purchase a thong I would have to head to an underwear shop (I resisted the temptation to implement the word ‘store’ there). The ‘thongs’ I am referring to here are actually ‘flip flops’. This I can understand, they make the flippy floppy sound as you saunter over to the beach or around the shops. Not that they look like a pair of thongs on your feet. This doesn’t paint as bizarre a mental picture as the French calling a ‘gondola’ an ‘egg’, for me ascending a mountain inside an egg is a little bit too weird.

Not to be out done, the UK does have words utilised in particular regions of the country/countries. From Scotland I give to you ‘Neaps’ and ‘Tatties’. The answer is obvious once you know it, ‘parsnips’ and ‘potatoes’.
The Geordie bunch called their dwelling; home; house; abode; fiefdom a ‘yem’. At least its easy to remember for someone like me, keeps people guessing my multi-cultural accent.

Here is one for you to think about and, aside from adding your own words  into the comments below, see if you can work out what it means – no googling mind you!

‘Poutine’ (poo-teen)



  1. Well I was way off lol. I was thinking maybe pheasant or something like that. Cheesy chips and gravy? Never would have thought of that

  2. I’m stumped on this one. Poutine? Haven’t got a clue

    • I am going to let poutine sit for a little longer, it doesn’t sound like the thing it is. It’s kind of like ‘jandles’ which is Kiwi for flip flops.

      It is popular in the north of England especially, but known by a long name.
      It’s popular in Canada, known as poutine.
      It is a form of food.

    • OK, Alex for you here is the answer.
      Poutine is essentially ‘Cheesy chips and gravy’

  3. OOh hoots mon! Neaps be Turnips…. Parsnips be Parsnips

    • As in ‘Tur-neaps’ indeed. Although, researching for this post I found a number of sources where ‘neaps’ apparently can be understood for different items. I don’t believe this emanated from Scotland though!

  4. Yeah that was a shot in the dark. I have a feeling that it’s probably something obvious, something that’s used on a regular basis. This is going to bug me

    • It is used often for sure, not by everyone or everywhere. Especially popular in the north of the country

  5. Poutine??? Some form of seat maybe?

    • A form of seat is incorrect I am sorry to say.

      It is sold here in Canada under this name, in England under another.

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