English differences

There’s a funny Ant bug report being thrashed out at the moment

In general I find these little differences in how we use English pretty funny. I lived for a while in North Carolina and once, at someone’s house, asked “where’s the bin?”. She looked at me oddly for a moment, until I indicated that I had something to throw out, at which she exclaimed “Oh, you mean the trashcan!” Even funnier was asking at a supermarket, at Christmas time, whether they had any plum pudding – the reply was “Are you from up North?”. Not quite. I also remember the Virginia police officer who was not impressed with my international driver’s licence with its multitude of foreign languages, but that’s another story.

Of course, it cuts both ways. To an Australian, the term yank refers to all Americans. I was to find out in North Carolina that is not strictly accurate.

Perhaps my future contributions to Ant will be documented in Strine. For example, when a task is not found, it would respond:

“Mate, that task name is not fair dinkum”

“‘kin ‘ell, I couldn’t find that task”

Just kidding. Personally, I enjoy our differences and hope we don’t require homogenous documentation that won’t offend.

Oh, and if you ever get the chance to live in another country, as opposed to just visiting, take it. If they don’t speak your language, all the better.