The differences between American and British English are of course numerous, and I’ve touched on them before. One area that’s always intrigued me though is food.
They’re all racist, aren’t they?
But the Irish are racist, aren’t they? (internet commenter, 2016)
I don’t mean to be racist, but the Poles are the racist f**kers on the planet. (idiot who won’t be named, 2000)
Recently, I came across the first sentence above, somewhere deep in the comments section of an article I’ve long since forgotten about. I was surprised, as I didn’t consider myself to be racist, nor did the majority of my compatriots seem to be. Reading on, things were cleared up a little.
I came to realise that the person was referring to a belief that Irish-Americans are racist. Which let me off the hook, but then I remembered that the article was about an Irish actor, as in, from Ireland, so the person was not only indulging in wild generalisations, but also conflating being Irish-American with being Irish. There was a whole heap of confusion going on. Continue reading
Me Fail English? That’s Unpossible!
In recent years, some news stories have emerged from Australia of would-be Irish immigrants failing the English test required for entrance, the IELTS General-Training exam.
One of the most common responses to such stories is to laugh: Ha, serves them right, how can they not even pass a basic English test if they’re English speakers!
But the situation is a little more complex than that.