2010年12月1日水曜日

how do you take your tea?

As in do you drink it or eat it?

Had a very odd conversation today.

I was talking to someone at work.

I thought I was speaking English- our common language.

But things got all complicated when I told Meg and Amy to go get their stuff together so we could go have tea as I didn't know about them but I was hungry.

Tea? Hungry?

Seems in the US you only drink tea. And you eat dinner.

Me? I eat dinner twice a year- Christmas Dinner and Birthday Dinner, I eat tea every evening and prefer drinking coffee to tea.

I was asked if all Australians call the evening meal tea and I couldn't answer. Hmmm.... noone in Australia has ever looked puzzled when I said it so I'm thinking I'm not the only one anyway...

So, aware now that I was having a cross-cultural conversation I asked Amy to go to the bathroom before we left remembering that toilet is a bit of a dirty word in North America. Well, this time it was M and A's turn to be confused.

"You have a bath at work?"
"Why does Amy have to have a bath before dinner?"

In the end I had to use the t-word to sort things out anyway.

I feel like one of my students:

"English is so difficult!"

14 件のコメント:

Helen さんのコメント...

I used to have dinner in Canada with some of my friends in the afternoon, only to come over here and find out that dinner is only in the evening!

I would understand what you meant by having tea in the early evening, but that may have more to do with the three years I had in Scotland (and reading oodles of British novels!) than anything else.

English...isn't it fun?

D. さんのコメント...

It's fun, some way, and exasperating. :)

I'm Italian, learned British English from elementary to high school, make study-trips for English in England, Ireland and Malta, took an USA's English test for university, speak in English with people from USA, Japan, Mexico and east Europe. Saying that sometimes it's a mess is an understatement!

I would go to the toilet only in public places and to the bathroom at mine and my friends' home.

Tea is something that I drink for breakfast or for afternoon break.
The meals of the day are breakfast (colazione), morning break (merenda), lunch (pranzo), afternoon break (merenda) and dinner (cena).

The same misunderstanding that you had with the tea, you can have it here in Italy with colazione (breakfast), but it's such an ancient and aristocratic way to call the lunch that actually nobody tell it any more.

European English: South America's Spanish
USA English: Latino

European English: USA
USA English: America

European English: America
USA English: America the continent?

And so on, so on... :D

Gina さんのコメント...

What a fun post!

For mornings...we have breakfast.
For afternoons we eat lunch.
For weekends if we are having a late relaxing breakfast we'll have brunch!
For evenings...every evening. We sit down and eat dinner. And if I'm using American slang with my boys, which I often am....I might even sometimes say we're eating "supper"

When we have to go pee, etc. We go to the bathroom or the restroom. Which technically we are not bathing or resting.; ) Well, I guess we could be resting. : )

It is true, I don't use the word toilet to my American family or friends or son's or husband, but I will use it if I'm speaking for example to my MIL though, so she'll know what I'm talking about. ; )

The great thing about living in Japan is we get used to hearing words/phrases from all over. Water closet, loo, toilet. Bathroom and even restroom. : )

jojoebi さんのコメント...

hahaha.
my 2 pence worth...
morning breakfast
mid morning combined meal - brunch
midday lunch unless it is a big meal like xmas day then it is dinner
if eaten early evening - tea
late meal - dinner
snack before bedtime - supper

I also use the toilet or loo, never a bathroom unless I intend to take a bath.

Now that is out of the way, what do you call two slices of bread with some kind of filling in between the slices?

Lulu さんのコメント...

Oh i have these sorts of conversations ALL the time with my non-Aussie friends it seems. Sometimes even with Aussie friends that are NOT from Queensland originally.

Like when I say togs or rashie or thongs. Common words, or so I thought!

I say "tea" for dinner sometimes. But I prefer "dinner"- that said, I am pretty sure my mum almost always says "tea"...

Miscommunication in a common language is a funny thing!

Claire さんのコメント...

In Britain it's a class distinction. If you eat "dinner" around noon and "tea" as your evening meal, you're probably working class. If you have "afternoon tea" with a cup of tea and cakes in mid-afternoon, then eat "dinner" in the evening, you're probably middle class. If you eat "supper" in the evening (and use "dinner" only for formal meals) you're probably upper-middle or upper class.

Though why on earth it matters to people what you call it, as long as the food is good, I really don't know ...

Gina さんのコメント...

That last paragraph of Claire's is so perfectly said and so true! : )

Kim さんのコメント...

Well, I must be from the same part of America's language group as Gina is!

However, I did find myself in trouble when I moved to Kansas. Suddenly I had to confirm if I was meeting somone for dinner in the middle of the day or the evening. There the evening meal is supper. Lunch? A bit different from my prior life in LA where I was never invited out to supper!

The only tea I tried to eat was in Singapore. Looking for an English tea and being served Chinese buffet? I was soooooo sad!

Bathroom words - LOL! Don't get me started!

achan さんのコメント...

My father always says dinner for lunch and tea for the evening meal. We've grown up interchanging the two but smeone always ends up clarifying it in some way!!

Supper is always hot chocolate with marshmallows on Brownie or church camp

... and Gina how about a dunny?
or outhouse?

Gina さんのコメント...

Hi Achan : ), Okay, let me see, I know what an outhouse is for sures.... though I've never had to use one (knocks on wood: ). Makes me think of Little House on the Prairie. : ) No plumbing and outside someplace. But the dunny. You've got me there. What is it?

Look what you started Heather, ha ha ha. You picked the best topic to talk about today! : )

achan さんのコメント...

Dunny is the Aussie word for toilet, it is also called The Throne in the country!!

j. さんのコメント...

it's breakfast, lunch and dinner in my family, and i think for most people in the midwest (read: iowa, illinois, indiana, ohio and surrounding states) though, my grandma always says supper when we have a big meal that happens around 2 or 3pm (usually only on thanksgiving and christmas).

i can understand how the american got confused when you use the verb "eat" with "tea," but with so many different english-es being used in japan, maybe they need a little more exposure!

also, i probably wouldn't use the word toilet in the US, but again, in japan, the word bathroom is just confusing since the bathroom here really is only that, a room with a bath. but i also i probably wouldn't think of someone as rude for using the word toilet instead of bathroom or restroom, but again, i think it's because i have a basic understanding of other english-es. (what's the plural of english, anyway?!)

i'm sure it's confusing for students trying to keep all the english-es straight! from a teaching standpoint, it seems like instead of strictly teaching "american english" or "british english" or "australian english," i think there needs to be some in-between. for example, using the word toilet (australian? british?) makes way more sense than using bathroom, but then using the word tea for an evening meal seems like it might confuse japanese people since they know it first as a drink.

english is definitely hard and i'm not jealous of anyone who has the challenge of learning it as a second language!

bastish さんのコメント...

If it makes you feel any better, as an American, I believe that tea means tea - but here it means tea with lots of sweets and snacks and pickles and anything else that will fill you up, so I guess in that sense it is a complete meal.

Bathroom is a word I hate. Simply because it makes no sense. Our "bath room" is separate from our "pee/poop room". I wish we could just call it that - "peeoop room".

thefukases さんのコメント...

The peeoop room. Love it!
I had no idea how confusing the word supper is, too! I think the last time I ate supper was at Brownies, too. Probably a cup of hot chocolate and a bikkie (that's cookie bikkie and not scone like biscuit...) Toilet words confuse me too- Loo, lav, washroom (the laundry?) restroom (bedroom?) powder room, little girl's room (that one really bugs me....)

I am the only Aussie at my work in a sea of North Americans. I do modify my English somewhat- I have to or the switchit cards don't work as window doesn't rhyme with bowl! But I am also a bit of a 'there are MANY different Englishes' fanatic and say zed, toMAHto etc. If the kids don't get it I explain that you can say it either way and it's still Ok.

Thanks for the interesting cultural lesson!