Friday, November 06, 2009

More US Observations

And the list continues...

- Rico always jokes that he can spot people from the US in the airport - in particular men - because the travel uniform of choice always involves tennis shoes (running shoes/cross trainers is more accurate - I use one of the more incorrect regionalisms when it comes to talking about all-purpose exercise shoes). Now plenty of people travel wearing sport shoes, it's just that Americans many times wear their running shoes with an outfit that is nearly formal, like slacks and a button-down, collared shirt. I guess it's the clothes equivalent of the good old mullet: business in the front, party in the back. Except here it's business up top, comfort on the bottom. Seriously, I've never seen tennis shoes worn in so many different contexts. Sometimes it makes me cringe (prairie dress with 1980's Reeboks??), but there is an upside: I can wear my new Adidas whenever I feel like it and rest assured that there will be no questioning looks thrown my way.

- Why do we have so many ads for medicines on tv? Do other countries advertise health options like this??

- The California Accent. Yes, this pertains only to a portion of this great state's diverse population, but it's quite noticeable for someone from out of state (or country). The defining characteristic is that all statements, queries, prases, observations, etc. end with the voice going up in register. To me it sounds like everything is a question. I don't even know how to describe it in words. Maybe I should do a video blog to illustrate! Anyone know what I'm talking about here??

- New vocabulary: staycation, funemployment, ill (and illest), ending words with variations of -sheezy, -iggity, -izzle and other funny sounds.

- If we had a dollar for every time Rico and I are asked if we speak Spanish we'd be halfway through our mortgage payment by now. Poor Brazilians...I know this is a sore spot for many. Perhaps with the Rio Olympics more people will become aware that Latin America's largest country speaks Portuguese, not Spanish. Still, to be fair, many Brazilians are quite ignorant when it comes to their fellow Lusophone countries. For example, we were frequently asked by friends and family in Brazil if they speak French in Mozambique. Sigh...I guess we all could use a refresher in geography and languages of the world at some point.

- The Bay Area is the most incredible place ever for restaurants. You can find any kind of cuisine, any price point, any style imaginable. Want Nepalese food? Check. Raw food? No problem. Just in our 4-block neighborhood downtown we have the following restaurant options: Chinese, Thai, takeout pizza, Vegan, Mediterranean, Brazilian (yes! with feijoada completa on Saturdays!), Mexican, two delis, a high-end Continental restaurant in a hotel, and a Starbucks.

What more could we want?? :)


nola said...

Yes, the sentence ending with an up is annoying but hard to beat out of myself. It's particularly common among young women of most US regions, and creates many problems when wanting to be taken seriously - there's been much written about this. Remember Valley Girls? That's the first I'd heard it in the 80's, but I didn't live in Cali then.

Know what I find really annoying though is parents who say to their children, "You need to stop screaming now, OK?" and "It's not ok to hit other children, OK?" OK? You're asking your child permission to set rules and boundaries? Ugh. A very distinct Americanism - I haven't seen it on this scale in any other country.

The medication ads on TV are relatively new - I remember when the law changed. And it needs to change back! Tonight at a friend's house we sat through a commercial of new vs. used catheters - it was horrible.

Sheezy and shizzle - that popularization is all Snoop Dogg. The guy's a cultural genius.

Marcia said...

the australians do that too...within days of landing in Melbourne, I had to start talking like that just to be understood!

ali, love these sorts of posts!

Jennifer M. said...

I love seeing my culture through your eyes. It's very refreshing and interesting to me. Welcome to America!

judy in ky said...

I envy you your choice of restaurants!
As a huge fan of Antonio Carlos Jobim, I do know that in Brazil they speak Portuguese.

Ellie said...

You know, I can't stand exactly this in AUstralia. Our ability to speak any type of coherent English seems to decline daily.

Ali la Loca said...

~Nola - The OK thing is worse only when it's "mmmmm-kay?" I definitely knew of Valley Girls, but didn't think the accent, if you can call it that, was so widespread.

~Marcia - If you come visit the US, I'd love to hear you do an American accent!

~Jennifer M. - It's fun seeing my own country through new eyes. Also interesting living in California, as this is 100% new to me.

~Judy in KY - Kudos on knowing Jobim and that Brazil speaks Portuguese. Now go spread the word!

~Ellie - My biggest pet peeve is that "me and him went to the store" is so widely used at this point many people don't even know it's incorrect. I'm usually not bothered by regionalisms and slang and the general evolution of language, but certain things really get to me.

JC said...

Dude, I miss you soooo much! Just went and read through all these posts that I'd missed. How I laughed! You know, the tennis shoes (I do it too - is it an Anglicism?) / trainers thing? I think little-travelled Brazilians (especially from the interior of SP probably do it too, with the high-waisted jeans). Wait, that could actually be an American. Oh well. And similarity number 2: the going up at the end of the sentence. All the kids in my school in SP did it when speaking in English. It used to drive the expat Brit teachers mad, they thought we all sounded mildly stupid. Hah. I continue to be on my total high, I must finish that email where I tell you I have found the meaning of life. Ok I need to go to sleep now but did I tell you ai missi iu, bestchi frenjis of maini fromi Mapootu?! I do. Beijos e beijos! x PS love the view and the hippy neighbours can't wait to visit! And the wine of course. Rico looks well cheeky in that photo. Ok, laters now! x

JC said...

Oh, and wait, one more thing. Do people really say "OMG shut UP" as an exclamatory expression of suprise? I just saw that on telly and it sounded soooo silly!!

Ali la Loca said...

~JC - OMG, shut UP! It exists. Like, totally. Did you, perhaps, hear this lovely phrase coming from the mouth of the blonde girl on Dress My Nest on the Style Channel??? I bet you did!