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February 15, 2012
Posted at 12:27 pm
 

Trapped in a Triad of Countries

In one sentence I might say, "dialogue," "miles," "grey," "Farenheit," "eh," and "postal code." (Hm, I'm thinking about what THAT example would look like, lol.) Ok, I confess, I am an American who met an Englishman on-line when I was in my early 40's, almost 15 years ago now. For the first six years I knew him, I often hung out with him in Canada, but continued on with getting another degree and finishing up my old life in the U.S. Now I live in eastern Ontario 15 miles or so from the border with my English spouse.

When I first came up here, the currency looked like funny monopoly money to me. After having to figure out how to live on a budget every bit as limited as it was in U.S. funds but with more colorful dollars, the paper came to look just as real to me. In fact, I have to watch myself when I leave Canada, because I forget which bills to use.

The words I use have gotten every bit as tangled up. English words are transposed among the Canadian words and wrapped up in American words. I no longer remember which word comes from where when I am talking on a daily basis. Somewhere along the line, I stopped worrying about it, and I use whatever word or phraseology that I like best. I can pretty clearly see the cultural breakdown that is beginning to happen as a result of the web, because it is similar to what has happened to my linguistics.

Is this a good thing? It's sad when a language dies out, or a culture becomes extinct. I hope that good records are being kept so that these things are not lost forever. However, its my dream that the comingling of customs does help us begin to understand each other. The resulting broadened horizons also vastly increase our choices about how we relate to both our narrow and wider spheres.