Linguistic Identity Crisis: A country girl divided by a common language.
May 5, 2010 11:27 AM Subscribe
I'm moving to the UK for the next three years and have some questions about my identity and language use.
I've already started running into this problem...I'm not sure when, how and if I should switch over to UK conventions for language use in speech and writing when communicating with UK people. I am in academia and will be pursuing a PhD in sociolinguistics in England, so these subtleties are something that I am hyper aware of. I do realize that to an extent I'm overthinking this, but it's also something I can't help noticing. Alas, ignorance would be linguistic bliss.
When talking/writing with advisors/staff at my new university, or with UK people in general, should I be using the British writing conventions yet...maths, favourite, programme, etc.? How about in speech? Should I wait till I get there and do the big switchover, like a watch?
Some of the new dialect features are natural to use when I'm talking/writing to people, others feel like I'm trying too hard. Being somewhere in between just seems careless and confused to me (since I'm aware of the differences). I figure that features like the accent will come naturally. I'm pondering the stuff that I have conscious knowledge of, like when spellcheck highlights things that I should change. Or not?
How do people navigate this minefield of minutiae? What has worked, and allowed you to get along with the least amount of social awkwardness?