They say that you’re only truly fluent in a second language when you can think in the foreign tongue, without mentally translating into your own language. If that is truly the case, then I’m a long way from being fluent in American, I can tell you.
I used to think I could spell. Well, to be fair, I was able to spell. Then I came to work in New York, and found that every single email I write, and every document I produce, is littered with spelling errors. Where once I realised that I was a spelling genius, I now realize that I know next to nothing. Where once I manoeuvred my way through sentences with relative ease, now I maneuver with the awkward clumsiness of Oliver Reed after a big night out. And having been honoured to do so well in my profession, I am now bringing dishonor to my good family name.
If that wasn’t enough, I’ve got Microsoft Word underlining all my little errors, like some know-it-all swot of a thirteen year old standing over me telling me that I clearly couldn’t spell my way out of a paper bag.
I’m slowly getting the hang of it, and can even write ‘organize’ now with only a momentary pause before I magic up the necessary ‘zee’. But it comes as naturally to me as successful comebacks come to Britney Spears, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. My spelling, that is. And Britney comebacks, to be honest.
As for toe-may-toes and bay-zill, they’ll always be toe-mah-toes and ba-sill to me. And don’t even get me started on oregano and aluminium.