A New Language called American


#1

All this talk of strange accents reminds me of something

When I first came to Taiwan I realised there was a new language I’d never heard of called American. It was everywhere and Taiwanese only seemed to comprehend this strange tongue. Even foreigners who were not american seemed to be experts in its usage.

However after much effort and practice on my part I managed to devise a program to speak this tongue and communicate with the locals effectively.
I realised to learn a language you have to think like one so I proceeded to go out and get pissed more than was usual. This resulted in a consequent rapid deterioration of brain cells and had the useful result of slowing my speech down. Next task was nasalisation. Or should I say nasalization. Rigorous training by placing masking tape on the lips for large portions of the day resulted in an increased vocalisation capacity through the nasal cavity. When approached at the McDonald’s counter it was also an effective deterrent to conversation initiation by over eager American loving clerks. Kids who formerly plagued me on the MRT would cower behind their parents and I suddenly became invisible to the adults. Or should I say a-dults.
Be warned though that after completing your training, success can have its drawbacks . Your relations at home may stop speaking to you. Your friends will greet your phone calls with ‘what the f*ck country are you in’ . Strangers may regurlarly include you in conversations as to how much bigger things are at home.

There is also the bright side. Now I am an american speaking foreign citizen and I can apply for any of those american teaching positions that are currently advertised on ICRT. It still excludes me from the Canadian language positions but I believe that effectively adding ‘ay’ at the end of sentences will open up my job opportunities no end.

I now call on the Taiwanese government to give official classes in American prior to any classes in Mandarin to non-American speaking English teachers. This will result in a quicker acclimatization of foreigners to the culture in Taiwan. I will open a poll on Segue and if we work together as one nation…under God…eh sorry if we work together we can convince Taiwan’s congress to push this through as rapidly as possible.

all in jest guys…!!!


#2

Wrong. Everyone knows that getting pissed elevates, rather than diminishes, brain efficiency. It has been clearly shown that booze and drugs act like predators in the wild, such as lions, and attack and kill only the slowest moving brain cells. In doing so, booze and drugs effectively kill off the slower cells and allow the rest of the brain cells to operate more quickly, just as lions culling the slow and weak from the herd permits the herd to move more quickly.

Jeez! I though everyone knew this scientific fact.


#3

Wow, Tigerman, suddenly life makes sense. Got any more of these ‘scientific’ facts?


#4

Tigerman wrote: [quote]Jeez! I though everyone knew this scientific fact.[/quote]
and was absolutely right about the killing of slower brain cells. Most of us become increasingly brilliant the more genuinely pissed we get,

However if headhoncho was good at speaking American he would never have used the word ‘pissed’ in the context he did. In AmE ‘pissed’ means ‘pissed off’, ie upset about something. In real English (BrE) ‘pissed’ refers to a state of mind related to alcohol consumption - something I’m enjoying as I write and will probably regret in the morning.

This simple example suffices to illustrate two important facts:

  1. Americans habitually confuse different sayings - thus reducing the diversity, beauty, and effectiveness of the English language.

  2. Headhoncho, much as I agree with him, has obviously succumbed to the slow thinking syndrome to the extent that he is now unable to see his own mistake - ie he has become a true american.

Funnily enough, New Zealand national radio described the USA a while back as ‘a nation of people who have been relieved of the necessity to think’. After spending a few years there, making many good friends, and even marrying one, I still can’t dispute this view. So here, have a few karma points old chap.

The correst response when confronted with ‘we want American English’ by Taiwanese is 'Do you speak Chinese with a Beijing accent? Do you use simplified Chinese characters when writing?’

American English is to real English what mainland Chinese is in the eyes of Taiwanese ‘purists’ - a bastardised, simplified language for peasants who never had a proper education. My advice to Head Honcho is to get properly pissed (ie not pissed off, but dementedly and drunkenly happy) and rant eloquently to anyone wih a smaller brain about the inadequacies of their language.

Start with the definition of ‘check’ and go from there!! If you need help call me and I’ll come a runnin’!


#5

But our friends in New Zealand, who almost all agree on everything, show signs of independent thought??? :?

Not at all. The Taiwanese are correct in wanting to speak American English. Why would they want to speak that Normanized version of English spoken by Brits, Aussies and Kiwis? I mean, really, do the Kiwis rule the world or hold any sway at all over international diplomacy, or anything?

I guess those inadequacies have hindered the US from becoming the most powerful economic, military and diplomatic nation on the planet… Oh, no, the US is all that… I guess American English has been, after all, adequate. These Taiwanese are no dummies… objective third parties, they have chosen American English over the Queen’s English, or whatever other cockneyed accent comes from Britain…

:wink:


#6

Not too often, but every so often, the ugly American sentiment asks to be re opened :cry: [quote]I guess those inadequacies have hindered the US from becoming the most powerful economic, military and diplomatic nation on the planet… Oh, no, the US is all that[/quote]


#7

Ehhh who speaks cockney or queens english here, my teacher in 3rd class would have beaten me up as he proudly used to tell us we don’t have the Queen so we don’t have to speak the Queen’s English…simple logic but excellent in its application.

Of course if you have a president you might want to speak the President’s English. I’m sure this might resignate with some of our readers and most of us wouldn’t want to misunderestimate your depth of feeling on the matter. We can all recognise the inherent fallacy of humans. I guess what I’m trying to say in a way that is not so subliminabable is that we are all free agents in our own way. America has not often be known as the land of the pacemakers but that is America’s choice, for instance they’ve always strive to keep good relations with their friends and neighbours, president blair and many european nations, even the Grecians. We can all beat our chest and yell to send in the nukes (except for when somebody actually has one they can fire back) or we can coexist peacefully like humans and fish do.

:slight_smile:


#8

[quote=“headhonchoII”]
Of course if you have a president you might want to speak the President’s English.
I’m sure this might resignate… most of us wouldn’t want to misunderestimate… I’m trying to say in a way that is not so subliminabable… America has not often be known as the land of the pacemakers…

:slight_smile:[/quote]

Yep, I’d say you have the President’s English down just about perfectly. :wink:


#9

i dunno, in the states, we love british and australian accents. they sound so cute and quirky. :wink: why do you think american women love hugh grant? take away his accent and he’s nothing. hell, some american singers sing in fake british accents(green day sure as hell didn’t sing in a northern cali accent)! it’s not our fault that people from other parts of the world prefer our accent to the brits and aussies. :stuck_out_tongue:

thank god the world doesn’t insist on canadian english, though. “what are you talking aboot?” ugh! :laughing:


#10

Uh, amos, why is response to criticism of American English and the collective American ability to think “ugly American sentiment” ? :?


#11

“have hindered from”?

All that has been achieved in/by the US has been achieved despite your linguistic abilities, not because of them.

I’ve kept away from the ‘US foreign policy’ thread, on the grounds that I don’t want to go around picking pointless and unwinnable arguments. But, in the face of widespread public opinion, I don’t think that you can use the word ‘diplomatic’ in connection with the conduct of the US government towards the rest of the world.

Attempting to equate diplomacy with “We’re going to have a war even if we don’t find the evidence we need to justify it, and we don’t care what the world thinks.” is a perfect example of what I meant in last night’s posting.

The argument is not about the rights and wrongs of US policy. The argument is that this is not diplomacy, and claiming that it is simply demonstrates the kind of rigid jingoistic thought process that is the result of never having learned to express thoughts clearly.

Language is tool we use to think. Debase the language and you reduce the capacity for effective intelligence.

In the absence of diplomacy or real debate about foreign policy, US English is perfectly adequate for the intellectual giants that enforce the policy - the US military. The reason it’s so popular in other countries is that it’s the medium used to sell yet more cheap foreign goods to the worlds most ‘powerful’ economy. Congratulations!!


#12

I tend to agree with Tigerman more, but you are both barking up the wrong tree (could this be one of our debasing Americanisms? the animal allusion, the outdoorsy tone?)

The US has achieved precisely because of its debasement of the language. All know the famous American infatuation with money and power. Long ago we decided that these were important, and language was less so. As we neglected the language, we gained valuable time to pursue the characteristic American traits of being rich and lording it over the rest of the world.

To contrast, the English for example have become trapped in a vicious cycle of their own making. As they pay closer attention to their language, they lose power, making the language look even more important… leading to the sad and debased current state.

Which state of affairs is more desireable is of course debatable. However I have noticed that all people around the world, from the English with their pretty accents and intonations, to Indians in the South American jungle with much simpler tongues, do have languages, including such astounding terms as pissed; however they do not all have power and money.


#13

For all of your assumed linguistic superiority, you failed to understand the meaning of my post. I did NOT state that the US has prospered because of its use of “American English”. Rather, I merely commented that our use thereof has been sufficient, or at least not sufficiently deficient, to allow the US to become the power that it currently is.

Oh, so now widespread public opinion is correct, regardless of whether it is based on any facts or reality?

I very much disagree with your above statement, for the following reasons. (Please note reasons and support for the same are important when attempting to make a point… it works much better than merely repeating widespread public opinion) President Bush and the US have worked extensively with foreign governments in the war on terror, particularly with respect to intelligence gathering and attempted coalition building. The US under Bush forged an extraordinarily cooperative and helpful arrangement with Pakistan and several of the former Soviet republics. The US has dealt with other nations in the Middle East, rather than just Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. What other nation is attempting to asist in the Israeli-Palestinian problem? None… the rest of the world is content to let the pathetic UN pass ridiculous resolution after ridiculous resolution against Israel (the target of countless terrorist attacks)… and to call that “diplomacy”.

The US has worked closely with the Russians and signed a nuclear arms deal with them. Pres. Bush is in constant dialogue with Mexico. The US has an extremely positive relationship with the UK and even Polish President Kwasniewski has praised Bush for his “multilateralism.”

The US has gone to the UN and sought and obtained a new resolution re Iraq, despite the absurdity of the notion that UN inspectors might be able to conduct thorough investigations. The US has and continues to seek cooperation from Japan, China, Russia and South Korea in dealing with North Korea. This despite all previous attempts to deal diplomatically with North Korea have proven to be dismal failures.

The US stayed out of the Balkins and Kosovo until the Europeans finally admitted that they hadn’t the stomach or ability to do what needed to be done. When Spain and Morocco recently rattled sabres at each other over a rock in the Med, Europe sat on its hands until Spain and Morocco quietly asked the US to mediate.

Apparently your notion of multilateralism and diplomacy means that the US must follow the dictates of the European left or the admonitions of UN Secretary Annan. Thanks, but no thanks.

You can complain about American “unilateralism” all you want… but I honestly think such claims are rather hollow, in light of the facts.

See the above. Bush and the US prudently reserve the right to act “unilaterally” if other countries refuse to cooperate on matters vitally affecting US national interests. The US (Bush admin) has repeatedly indicated that with or without international support, the US will take pre-emptive action, if necessary, to eliminate terrorist threats, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by terror-friendly states.

And simply repeating what so many others uncritically scream about US unilateralism is the result of what type of thought process?

Language is the tool we use to express our thoughts.

Nonsense. Everything the US does is debated. In fact, US actions are likely debated more thoroughly than the actions of any other nation. Your above statement is groundless.

Whatever you say.


#14

How did all this come from a thread labeled “A New Language called American”. I don’t think it’s hard to understand why the Taiwanese want an “American Accent”. It probably has more to do with marketing then anything else. They want what’s gonna bring the dollars. If there were a bunch of schools specializing in The Queens English, Irish English, or whatever, they probably wouldn’t do so good (I could be wrong though).

I have a feeling that, in most cases, schools are looking for foreign looking faces to sell to their parents. Actual English speaking/teaching skill (in any accent) are not that important.

In the end, like I said before, it just boils down to what’s gonna bring in the dollars (we all know that). No need to make things more complicated then they really are.


#15

First of all we Canadians say “eh”, and not “ay”. If you’re going to start stereotyping us, at least get the spelling correct. But then again, what would you expect from American writers. I’m actually surprised that the Yanks who post here were able to find Taiwan in the first place. I mean, after all, it is outside of US borders. Who knew that a great big world actually existed outside of New York, Los Angeles, or Calamazoo?

As for the assertions that the American government has acted internationally with nothing more than good intentions, I’ve got one question, “What are you smokin’, eh???” After all it wouldn’t be too hard to find a large number of self-serving reasons for any American policy you care to choose. From starting a war over oil, to keeping influence in S. Korea through a military presence it all comes back to maintainng U.S predominance. But I weary of such talk for it is too easy to point out the inconsistencies and hypocrosies American international oversimplification…hmmm, at this point the comparison of policy towards Communist China and Communist Cuba come to mind, as well as American interference through instruments such as the Helms-Burton Act.

In terms of lanuguage it’s not surprising that Taiwanese would want to learn American English, (although for some reason it’s taught predominantly by Canadians in this country…perhaps Americans aren’t up to the task of teaching their own language?) after all there’s one Americanism they’re familiar with “It’s all about the Benjamins”.


#16

Wow, you’re pretty hilarious… and original too… On the one hand, the US is too involved in matters all over the globe, on yet another hand Americans don’t know anything past their own state or commonwealth borders.

Uh, who made that assertion? What are you smokin’?

:shock: No shit Sherlock. Why should US policy NOT serve US interests? Again, what the fuck are you smoking?

Bullshit. Since you obviously are not paying any attention to reality, and are content merely to repeat accusations that you have heard or read elsewhere, please understand this:

The US already has access to Iraq’s oil, and in fact, the US is Iraq’s primary oil buyer. War would not, in any event, be good way to increase US access to Iraqi oil.

If Iraq’s oil fields were fitted with modern technology, they would be capable of producing as much as 7 million barrels of oil per day by 2007. They only produce one-third of that currently due to UN sanctions that restrict foreign investment and the import of modern industrial machinery. If the US were after inexpensive Iraqi oil, as you apparently believe, President Bush would be lobbying the UN to end the sanctions rather than be preparing to invade Iraq.

And if an US invasion liberates Iraq, the companies in position to take advantage of the same are primarily Russian, French and Chinese. Russia has US$ 70-billion invested in Iraq – including the 15-billion-barrel West Qurna oil field while the French firm Total-Fina-Elf has a substantial interest in the 30-billion barrel Majnoon oil field. American firms, contrastingly, have no investments in Iraq as they are prohibited from investing there under U.S. law.

The idea that the US will push out the foreign firms, destroy their contracts, and give Iraq to U.S. oil companies is absurd. The US does not expropriate corporate assets from other major powers that sit as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Additionally, if U.S. oil companies knew that they were about to receive this oil windfall, wouldn’t all those oil insiders supposedly so closely tied to President Bush be purchasing U.S. oil stocks? In fact, the big three oil conglomerates in the US, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco and Conoco-Phillips, have recorded a decline of about 25% in their share prices since President Bush began talking of war against Iraq last year.

The cost of going to war in Iraq and nation-building afterward will far outweigh any benefit the US might receive from taking Iraqi oil. Even if Iraq’s liberation leads to a long-term increased oil supply, and the price of crude falls by 10%, that would translate to just $22-billion in annual savings. That would be a puny return on the estimated 2.5 trillion dollar cost of liberating Iraq and nation-building. No greedy American profit-seeking CEO would accept this tiny rate of return.

Finally, the notion that the US is intent to secure oil resources dates to the 1970s, when spending on oil accounted for about 8% of the U.S. GDP. Today, that figure is 3.5%. In contrast, the US spends about 13% of its GDP on health care.

Yeah… its all about oil! :unamused:

Incredibly over simplistic. You are apparently unaware of the events that led to the necessity of US troops being stationed in S. Korea, right? Please tell me that you are not unaware of WW2, the Korean War and the constant N. Korean agressive confrontational stance it maintains toward S. Korea.

Ah, yes. So in your mind the US should maintain exactly the same policies toward China and Cuba, despite the enormous differences in the respective circumstances and the relative importance that each nation has for the US. That would be brilliant, indeed. I suppose you ALWAYS treat every person or situation exactly the same, irregardless of the difference in circumstances surrounding each person or set of events?

BTW, can you name any other “inconsistency”?

The reason the Taiwanese want to study American English are obvious, (1) the US is the most powerful nation on the planet at this time, (2) Taiwan relies primarily on the US for its defense and until a few years ago, it relied primarily on the US as a market for its exports, (3) American culture, for good or bad, dominates the world and American movies and songs are heard and imitated nearly everywhere, including, not surprisingly, in Taiwan.

Duh!


#17

[quote=“tigerman”]
(1) the US is the most powerful nation on the planet at this time[/quote]

I’m not sure this is correct. According to Otis, who lived on the street corner of my block in DC, the greatest nation on Earth is the “doNATION” and the greatest city in the world is “gereroSITY”. I am pretty sure he was correct because he had a “PhDEE in PhilanthroPEE”


#18

Let me make sure I understand here.

  1. Making a joke about a common Canadian speech pattern is stereotyping.
  2. Characterizing all Americans as geographically-challenged “Yanks” is not stereotyping?
  3. American writers lack the ability to express themselves clearly, yet somehow amateur American writers manage to succeed in myriad competitive commercial milieu’s, and a number of profesional American writers manage to enjoy critical and popular success in countries outside the United States?

What exactly is your logic here?

Bitter, are we?

Come on. What exactly is your agenda here? I’m an American, but if you were criticising Germany, France, Australia, or any other country based on the “evidence” you’ve presented here, I’d think your arguments were equally unconvincing.


#19

[quote=“mfaass”]First of all we Canadians say “eh”, and not “ay”. If you’re going to start stereotyping us, at least get the spelling correct. But then again, what would you expect from American writers. I’m actually surprised that the Yanks who post here were able to find Taiwan in the first place. I mean, after all, it is outside of US borders. Who knew that a great big world actually existed outside of New York, Los Angeles, or Calamazoo?

In terms of lanuguage it’s not surprising that Taiwanese would want to learn American English, (although for some reason it’s taught predominantly by Canadians in this country…perhaps Americans aren’t up to the task of teaching their own language?) after all there’s one Americanism they’re familiar with “It’s all about the Benjamins”.[/quote]

Your geographically-superior behind misspelled Kalamazoo.

From my Canadian friends, I have heard the reason why there are more Canadians here than Americans is because the Canadian economy is undergoing some deep sh-tuff and the people who have recently graduated from college are being taxed and billed out the wazoo (or would that be the Kalamazoo), so to avoid having all of their money sucked right out from their fingers they come to Taiwan where the cost of living is cheaper (especially considering their utilities costs there) and the items here have a much less steep tax on them. In the US, the economy isn’t bad enough to send them fleeing by the dozens to other countries. I’m not knocking Canada, just sharing the opinions of a few Canadians on why they are here with so many of their fellow countrymen. It’s not a matter of being up to task rather than having no economic reason to go to Taiwan. I bet if you look at numbers, there are more Americans than Canadians in mainland China because they aren’t teaching English just to make money whereas in Taiwan, you tend to come across more people who are here simply to do just that.
Population percentage-wise, though, I think the New Zealanders have us all beat. I’m surprised there is anyone even left in New Zealand as much as they live and travel abroad.


#20

Just as a point of fact. There are many, many more Americans in Taiwan than Canadians and more American English teachers than Canadian. Given the population sizes, that’s not surprising. Nothing impressive about that. I’m curious why anyone would think there are more Canadian English teachers.