To start afresh in the New Year: Tips for when talking to a foreigner + (teensy)UPDATE

One thing I’ve come across a lot when talking to  foreigner who doesn’t know much English or only knows basic English or…in fact any non-native English person that doesn’t have THAT much contact with us native Englishmen/women is the confusion about certain phrases we may subconsciously come out with.

Simple phrases that we use in everyday lingo such as ‘How come?’, ‘What’s up?’ and ‘OH ffs…’ are just weird to them. ‘How come?’ means ‘Why?’ in a casual manner and it most likely derives from the phrase ‘How did that come about?’

We know what it means, we’ve always known what it means, it’s just a phrase we come out with when we’re in conversation however, non-natives, especially those outside of Europe, will most likely not understand what ‘How come?’ means. The words ‘how’ and ‘come’ are two different things, and, well, let’s think about it. Putting these two words together with their original definitions does not logically equal the question ‘why?’

Phrases like this can make speaking to some foreigners slightly difficult so sometimes it’s best to be aware of why they may not understand you. I’m not however saying phrases such as ‘How come?’ and ‘What’s up?’ and the sarcastic phrase ‘Well NOOOOO….’ should be avoided. We should still speak normally, it’s how they learn. They ask what we mean, we explain, they gain extra vocab. It’s good practice. All we should do is be aware of what we’re saying!

On another quick note, as you can see I’ve gone through a lil’ blog refurbishment. I’d been meaning to create a personalised background for a couple of months now and finally drew moi! The actual layout of my blog has changed as well just because I can’t change the colour of the text or title text on my blog as I have to pay (meh) and because it was white it wouldn’t show up with my preferred background. I will switch back to my old layout probably is I ever pay or find a way around it but for now it’s this lovely layout! (: Hope it’s not  too different!

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2 Comments on “To start afresh in the New Year: Tips for when talking to a foreigner + (teensy)UPDATE”

  1. sf says:

    Hmm, I never realized the words “How come?” would sound…odd, ’til now. Interesting thought. On a similar note, whenever I say, “No jive” to someone (meaning “no kidding”) – even though they’re English-speaking folks – they always gimme a puzzled face. So yup, we all seem to have our own lingo, that we may have to explain to others (whether foreign or not) at times. Interesting post!

    • liuhllils says:

      Indeed! My friend started to call things ‘fetch’ (meaning cool) because of Mean Girls and even though in the film, Gretchen uses the word because it’s from England apparently, nobody I know understands what she means haha! Thanks for the comment! I do love hearing people’s thoughts!


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