In the few days I’ve been home, I’ve picked up on how my speech patterns have altered in the last year.
We don’t line up, we queue.
We often get on the lift.
I hope I can get together with people whilst we’re in town.
And when buying Ellie a slice of Pizza for lunch, I asked her to help me pay the “Pizza Uncle.”
Obviously, these are mostly Britishisms that have survived from Singapore’s colonial past. But I never really noticed them sneaking into my speech whilst (see how I did that?) we were in Singapore. It felt more odd, I suppose to use “line up” when Ellie’s teachers were using queue up (and all the signs say Q or Queue here).
While (hah! I am American!) I can consciously correct most of these back to the Americanism, the one I struggle with is the whole “Uncle/Auntie” thing. We Americans don’t really have terms for random men and women…”lady,” “guy,” “dude,” etc…but all of them feel so much less respectful than Uncle and Auntie. I like that E is learning to address adults with respectful titles (with friends I do use Uncle/Auntie or Miss/Mr firstname) and I struggle here…and then just usually use Auntie/Uncle anyway, even as it draws a strange look from the recipient.
If you’re a fellow expat…what non-home-country turns of phrase have found their way into your everyday speech and gotten stuck there?