Tuesday, 5 July 2011

American Recidivism

This weekend, to celebrate our 18 month anniversary, we went out to eat and to see a show.
It wasn't anything fancy.  Just a bite at our standard pizza chain- Pizza Express.  The food is always tasty and made from good quality ingredients and you can almost always find a 2 for 1 deal.  

As for the show.  I guess you could call it a play.  There is a form of theatre in England that I'd never experienced in America.  It's called "Fringe Theatre".  So, we went to see a fringe theatre show in the basement of a bar.  It was an interesting concept, but wasn't carried out that well.  (The acting was good, it was more the writing that was the problem.)  In the end, the best part of the evening was that we stopped at Archie's Fast Food and I got an Oreo Milkshake!  Yum!

But all of that is to say, that I experienced a strange phenomenon (pointed out to me by Ross)- American Recidivism.  I've already talked about adapting to the language differences and using British words for things, but something was very wrong with me that night.  I don't know what happened, but I was totally speaking American!  I asked for "the check" at the restaurant (rather than "the bill"), later at the bar I asked for directions to "the restroom" (rather than "the toilet").  People had a hard time understanding me.  Even when I wasn't making specific word mistakes.

Like I said, I'm not sure why I was making these mistakes.  My current theory is one I've only just come up with.  I ordered the American pizza for dinner.  It's a pepperoni pizza, and I generally shy away from ordering it.  For some reason I usually feel self-conscious about being an American and ordering an American.... Whatever.  I say it infected me.

Do you have a more reasonable explanation?
Have you ever experienced a case of Sudden Onset American (or other country of origin) Recidivism?


  1. Yes! Ever since we decided to head back to the UK we've been watching a lot of UK TV shows. Without realizing it, I've slipped back into saying English things and a few people have called me on it - or just stared blankly!

  2. I trip over my tongue all the time. I say it wrong, then I can't remember how to say it correctly, then my husband keeps trying to help so then we're talking over each other...

    In Paris two weeks ago (where I speak reasonably acceptable French when given time to think about what I'm trying to say) I was really flustered with trying to interpret for my mom AND ask the waiter for more time...so instead of asking for 2 more minutes -- or another moment -- I asked for 2 more moments. *sigh* Husband was like...uh. what?

  3. @Louise- That's too funny. I guess you're just prepping yourself :)
    @Sarah B- I know how you feel! When I was in San Antonio for last Thanksgiving I kept totally freezing and staring blankly, unable to come up with the correct word.

  4. why is that bad? you are american, you always will be. yes you are living in a different country but you can't forget the words you have been using your entire life. and I hate the word "toilet". I will say restroom or bathroom... toilet just sounds dirty because that is what we sit on. I guess there are words i'll have to get used to but I just don't see it happening. also, i have spoken spanish to english speaking people after taking nyquil or being drugged in the hospital... it's just the way your brain works (or doesn't work) sometimes.

  5. Toilet sounded really vulgar to me at first, but it's the best thing to say to be understood. And as for saying bathroom- they're correct that it isn't the right word to use unless their is a bath in it! :)