July 26, 2012 by David Gillaspie
Just because London says it speaks English, don’t expect to understand every word.
If you’ve tried learning another language, like Spanish, and visited Spain for the immersion element, then you’ve said these words when two or more native speakers start talking: “Could you please slow down?”
Don’t feel like a silly goose if you do the same with English natives. They speak in a code you won’t break.
Failing to understand the English tongue puts you at risk. Miss a few important words and you’ll be sitting at a table full of boiled meat, mashy peas, and beer that reminds you to appreciate your local brews more.
Remember the culinary warning from Pink Floyd: “If you don’t eat your meat, you won’t get your pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”
The word pudding means more than semi-soft goo from a Jello box.
In England, pudding is the generic name of dessert. Cake, pie, ice cream, or Spotted Dick, it’s all pudding.
What about the meat? What do you have to eat to get that pudding?
Don’t be afraid of spooning something out of a dark pot onto your plate. If you’re lucky it’ll be a stew of vegetables and lamb shanks that rises to the top of the list of best things you ever ate.
What is a lamb shank? It’s sheep meat, not some weapon to stab a fellow prisoner in the exercise yard. That one would be a knife made from a spoon, from what I learned watching Shawshank Redemption.
While you enjoy your pudding after you eat your meat, don’t get hung up on the differences between England and where you’re from. You’re in a foreign country masquerading as familiar. The signs painted on London sidewalks directing you which way to look while crossing the street aren’t there for the natives.
Keep your head on a swivel.