Lost in Translation
We've noticed that there are some North Americans here that over-enunciate everything in English, so that "the people here will understand." This not only makes the North American sound ridiculous, it's insulting to the people from Botswana when someone is talking down to them like that. As a result, my roommates and I have made an effort not to fall into that trap. For the most part, it's been working, and we've found that it doesn't create the divide between Africans and Canadians that can so often happen when the "baby talk" is used. We don't sound ridiculous, and the people we work with or see during the day appreciate the fact that we treat them like everybody else.
There are, however, some times when it seems like we're playing a game of Telephone. For example, earlier this week, Graham and I went to Pie City, a restaurant that exclusively serves pies. For the record, "pies" here aren't like the pies at home. They're flakey pastries filled with different meat and vegetables; kind of like what Toaster Strudels would be if I was running Pillsbury.
Graham got himself the chicken peri-peri pie, one of our favourites. It was 9 in the morning, so I wasn't really in the mood for a pie. I decided to just get juice.
"I'll have an orange juice," I said.
The girl behind the counter replied, "One Russian Chili*."
I tried again, "No, I'll just have an orange juice."
"Oh, juice. What kind?"
"I think I'll go with orange."
That was that. I got my orange juice and continued on my way. It may have taken a little longer than usual, but at least I didn't sound like Emo Phillips.
*Russian Chilis are the equivalent of a chili dog. Giant hotdogs and sausages are called "Russians" here.