Language Barriers

I teach adults, right? So you would think that language barrier troubles happen all.the.time. in the classroom. However, I feel like I have a harder time understanding the other native English-speaking teachers rather than the students! Crazy, right?


An English teacher and I were talking about language. Because that’s what you do when you’re a language teacher. In fact, I think we were even talking about how it can be hard to understand other English accents. And then this happens (pronunciation according to how I heard it):

Guy: Yeah, there’s a group in London that I can’t understand at all. Called cottonandbriming. It’s like a different language to me.

Me: Cottonandbriming?

Guy: Yeah. They have all of these different words when they speak.

Me: Cottonandbriming? {Still not believing that that’s what it was actually called} What do they do?

Guy: Well, they roym words with each other when they speak and then they change the words. There’s a website that shows you how it works. It’s mental.

Me: How do you spell it? {Me getting ready to type it into my computer}

Guy: C O C K N E Y

Me: Ohhhh, cockney!

Guy: Yeah, cottonandbriming.

Me: Cockney and what?

Guy: Royming.

Me: Ohhh, rhyming!

Guy: Yeah…. {I think by this point he thought I was crazy a.k.a. mental}

Me: {typing into the computer} Cockneyandrhyming

Guy: No, just cockney rhyming.

Me: Oh. {typing in}

Another British Teacher: Will you two just come in and teach my lesson? You have just gone over what I’m going to teach: English language variations.

And finally, we overcame our language barrier. On a side note, the website is pretty cool to look at, and worth checking out!



Filed under Culture, Estonia, Teaching, Travel

6 responses to “Language Barriers

  1. Carole Pearson

    This is awesome, Kimmy!!! I’m still smiling. When I started to lose my hearing I couldn’t understand my beloved British comedies on BBC. (Still can’t even with new ears – hearing aids.) I want to send you something by snail mail, but I don’t have an address for you and Pete. Could you send it to me by e-mail or even snail mail. Love Ya!!!!

  2. Haha, love it, Kimmy! Made me laugh. Thoroughly enjoyed myself, dahling.

  3. This is great! I’ll bet you felt like an idiot but it was his accent that was the problem. Do they ever have a hard time understanding you? You can talk pretty fast.

    • It’s funny, because they almost never have a problem understanding me. The American accent is pretty strong and easy to understand. Sometimes I do talk to fast, and then I have to repeat, but it isn’t the accent that makes it tricky to understand, just me talking too fast 🙂

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