brighton, drag queens, english, gay and lesbian, hampshire, language, lynn murphy, pride, signs, sussex
Bidding adieu to Albion, I combined some of my favorite signs from my one-month residence here. Given their preternatural politeness, roadway signs and advertisements reflect the “keep-calm-and-carry-on” sensibility of the British. In America, the sign below would simply declare KEEP OUT! And, of course, “Diversion” is British for “Detour” and slightly more abstract. “Divided by a Common Language,” as the saying goes.
There’s always a latent anxiety in England about thieves and pickpockets. What kind of “operation” is underway when they knick something from your car? “Sat Nav’s” is British-speak for “GPS.” And, gentlemen, don’t forget to mind the zipper before exiting the loo! I highly recommend The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship between British and American English by Lynne Murphy if you like this sort of linguistic fun.
Finally, at the Queen’s Arms in Brighton, we were regaled with Cher and Beyoncé covers and it appears as if the drag queens are looking forward to some major renovations. Sing out, Louise! And that concludes my entire performance in English!
will miss ur blog, good job!
JOAN REYNOLDS said:
Hi Colin: Just discovered your delightful blog. I too was at Chawton for the JAS UK AGM. It was not my first visit to Chawton but my first AGM there. (I live in Vancouver, Canada but visit Hampshire regularly). Wished I had met you in person that day. I am British-born, grew up in Hertfordshire and left for Canada when I was 21 – so I was amused by your selections of British speak. Satnavs and Diversions were very much in mind this past month as we drove all over the UK, listening to the satnavs very British tones directing us mostly correctly to our destinatons. Just one note: “nick” is the spelling for the word meaning to steal. You were no doubt influenced by the spelling of the quaint reference used all the time by the Brits to describe ladies under-panties, namely “knickers” or possibly those Austen themed “knick-knacks” of the type I cant resist buying during my visits. Also “nick” is a term used for prison, (gaol as the Brits spell it, as opposed to jail). Loved reading about all your Chawton adventures.
Thank you for the input Joan! I’m glad to connect and share that wondrous month in Austenland!