Daily prompt: Insult fest

Daily Prompt
Food for the Soul (and the Stomach)
Tell us about your favorite meal, either to eat or to prepare. Does it just taste great, or does it have other associations?

I said all I have to say on this subject a long time ago, as you’ll see further down the grid, and since nothing’s changed and they’ve done the reblogging for me, I’ve decided to ask a question that’s interested me for quite a while.

Are Americans aware that in order to be published in America, Australians have to re-jig their language to conform to the US market? (This may apply to other non-Americans as well, but I can only speak for us.) It seems to me that you probably don’t know this. Why should you? How could you – when the product you find on the shelf (or at the cinema) has already gone through the process?

I find this really sad, for two reasons.

First, I think it’s sad for us. Australian language and vernacular, like it or hate it, has a flavour all its own. It’s innate. It’s us. It expresses who we are. It can be pretty vigorous, and this ‘standardisation’ waters it down to nebulous, mid-Pacific quasi-American, which, much as we love you, is pretty insulting. It suggests that our culture is so inferior that you really can’t be bothered trying to understand it in its undiluted form.

Secondly, it’s possibly even sadder (and more insulting) for you. You aren’t given the choice, or the chance. It’s assumed, on your behalf, that you aren’t smart enough to work out that our footpaths are your sidewalks, or that our thongs aren’t necessarily underwear, but things we wear on our feet. You must be sheltered, it seems, from cultures other than your own. We, on the other hand, seem to have got our heads around chain link fences, biscuits and gravy and cell phones without a problem.

What a nonsense it is!

If we’re talking food for the soul, wouldn’t your souls rejoice at something fresh and unadulterated?


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14 Responses to Daily prompt: Insult fest

  1. bkpyett says:

    You are right, the whole feeling of a book is in the language.

  2. lifelessons says:

    My first teaching job was in Australia, Helen…and it was a bit like speaking a foreign language for awhile, but fun. My favorite? “Don’t come the raw prawn on me, mate!” https://grieflessons.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/my-good-sisters-stroganoff-shepherds-pie/

    • What a shock to the system! You must have been teaching in the country – or city kids out to stir, little mongrels! You see the point, though – change the language, and you change the whole flavour.

      • lifelessons says:

        Actually, it came from an adult–possibly Bazza MacKenzie. Remember him? It meant a bit the same as “Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes, mate.” You’ve never heard it before?

  3. Noah Weiss says:

    Completely off topic from the prompt indeed, but I like the rant. I agree that there is no reason to translate English from Australia or England into American. Part of the fun of language from different regions is hearing all of the differently-used words.

    And even within America, there are variations in dialect.

  4. Aunt Beulah says:

    Interesting, Helen, I had no idea that the reality of other languages is altered in the books I read. What a shame.. That’s like taking the seeds out of raspberries. Thanks for enlightening me.

  5. I also get pissy about this from a British perspective Helen. When my default spell checker tells me the word is ‘flavor’ and not ‘flavour’ or my lovely NYC friend says ‘Don’t you mean APPricot?’ when I order an apricot Danish, I think ‘Not if we’re speaking ENGLISH as we do here in fricking England where ENGLISH originates from, so back off bitches!’ Usually on the days I haven’t taken my medication albeit… 😉

  6. Hot flash. For an American to be published in Australia, or England … WE have to conform to YOUR language. That’s publishing for you.

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