January 27, 2006

Language difficulties

Tomorrow, we're taking the boys up to Liverpool for the weekend. They're looking forward to it in much the same way as they look forward to going abroad. For them, Liverpool is a foreign country. Everything there seems very different and, more importantly, they don't understand the language.

Last time we were there, the Big Fella (10 at the time) met up with a local boy of about the same age who asked him, in a strong Scouse accent: "Oo joo sport?" The Big Fella was puzzled, he recognized it was a question but couldn't make out what he was being asked. So he said "What?" and took a few steps closer. "Oo joo sport?". My boy still can't make it out. "What?" and a few steps closer.

This happens a couple more times before I step in - the two of them are practically nose to nose by now, the oo-joo-sports are becoming louder and more deliberate and I'm starting to worry that a continued lack of communication might result in some kind of incident

Me: He's asking you who you support.
BF: What do you mean?
Me: He wants to know which team you support.
BF: What kind of team?
Me: Football! He wants to know which football team you support!
BF: Oh, I don't really.

At which, his young questioner looked quite askance, momentarily unable to believe that anyone in this soccer-mad city (let alone a boy of about his own age) would not support some football team or other. Still, it didn't phase him for long, friendly and eager for a playmate, he asked: "Worra ye do in the savy?" My boy said "What?" and took a few steps closer....

Later, I told him: "Next time we go up to Liverpool I'm going to buy you a book on how to speak Scouse." Sometimes, it really does sound like a foreign language.