Tuesday, January 7, 2020

On Homesickness...

Dateline: Golden Beach, Florida

An observation...
Whether I'm in Florida or Western New York, despite both being happy places to live, I still get the occasional bout of homesickness for Blighty and the British way of life. Sometimes it can take just a tiny thing to bring it on. Like the time I glanced at the local paper back in Olean and saw the World Cup referred to in minuscule print at the bottom right hand corner of the sports pages, as the Men's World Soccer Championships. OK, maybe that wasn't such a tiny thing.
  This time it was the little word "carolers".

  In Britain, chaps like these are called "carol singers". Here, the expression is just a little bit different. Like "road work" instead of "road works", in the hospital instead of "in hospital" and so on. Yes, the photo is captioned "Christmas Carolers". I don't know why these seemingly insignificant differences have so much more of an effect on me than the obvious  words like "cookie" for "biscuit" , "sidewalk' for "pavement", etc. It's that almost unnoticeable difference that makes me realise I'm a foreigner and we are two nations divided by a common language. And I can't help thinking, "Why can't they just call them carol singers?"  But on the other hand, why should they?
Then I wonder how these little difference came about as the language evolved on each side of the Atlantic. Interesting.

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