The missing H
I love to tease my American friends about their pronunciation of the word ‘herbs’.
‘Say the words I spell out,’ say I. ‘H-E-R-B-S.’
‘Oh, ‘erbs,’ they say.
‘What are you, effing French!? It’s only acceptable to say that word that way in a French accent,’ tease I. ‘Now say this word: H-O-T-E-L.’
‘Hotel, with the H pronounced,’ sigh my friends.
But wait…! There is a rebellion and a retort from the American team!
‘Say the word H-O-N-O-R,’ says one friend.
‘Ah, you caught me,’ say I in defeat. ‘Honor, sans the H.’
(Although, I am thinking in my head, I’d spell it with a ‘u’. 😉
Eddie Izzard gets it right. Watch and smile!
I was shocked to discover my American friends had not heard of British children’s author and legend Enid Blyton, nor read any of her books in the 70s and 80s when they were growing up. (I know this because there were seven of us and I referred to us as ‘The Secret Seven‘!) They’d not even heard of her when her life story was made into a movie starting Helena Bonham Carter 😉
Of course her writing is now considered rather sexist and racist and the writing is certainly dated, but Enid Blyton’s skill for weaving a thrilling adventure still enthralls me, and there’s much to be said for encouraging the imagination with stories such as The Magic Faraway Tree and The Famous Five books.
So, what did American children read with a torch under the duvet covers after lights out in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew? (We read those too in the UK 😉 ).
Answers to the above on a postcard please, or better yet post a comment below!
I still find the American use of the words ‘tennis shoes’ funny in a cute way. I can’t help it, I just do. 🙂