Sunday, January 8, 2012

Translating meats

Not long now till we leave these shores and I'm becoming increasingly concerned about how TLOML will cope with life in his adopted country. He has lived in the UK before, as a schoolboy and a student, but this is the first time he'll be truly settling there.

It's not just access to the NFL and March Madness (in his words 'the best few weeks of the whole year') that concerns me. I'm sure we can chuck money at that problem.

No, it's the language barrier I'm really worried about. The meat debate is a good example. It has been running for weeks, but allow me to summarise it here:
TLOML: 'Will you pick up some lunch meats?'
Me: 'What are lunch meats?'
TLOML: 'Lunch meats! Dummy. Turkey, roast beef, you know the stuff I like.'
Me: 'Sliced turkey and beef, okay, why didn't you just say so?'

A few days later...
Me: 'What if you eat those meats for dinner? Or at breakfast? Then what are they called?'
TLOML: 'Lunch meats. They're still lunch meats. Or deli meats, maybe.'

A few more days later...
TLOML: 'So, what do you guys call breakfast meats?'
Me: 'What do you mean?'
TLOML: 'You know, bacon, sausage, ham. Breakfast meats.'
Me: 'We just call them bacon, sausage and ham.'
TLOML: 'So if I say 'breakfast meat' no-one will know what I mean?'
Me: 'People will know what you mean. But they'll think it's weird. Just call them what they are, silly.'
TLOML: 'They're breakfast meats, you're silly.'


We're heading out of here on January 31st, either to Baltimore for 6 weeks, or straight to London. The BigCorp gods will throw a dice and decide next week. Meanwhile, TLOML have some language classes to take. And I need to shape up my own act. The other day I forgot the English word for cilantro. (It's coriander). Yikes! We'll both sound like yankee doodle fools!

Note for the older reader: I understand in your day these sliced cold meats were collectively called cold cuts. No-one calls them that anymore. Just FYI.

1 comment:

  1. That plateful of tasty meaty bits in your picture looks like a cold collation to me.