When you spend a lot of time with someone over the course of nearly two years (especially when it’s to the point they think they could probably put up with you for the foreseeable, and ask you to marry them) your conversations tend to cover a fair spectrum of the English language. Nonetheless, nearly 20 months since I bid cheery oh! to England and set up camp this side of the Atlantic, my Canadian beau and I still have vocabular misunderstandings in abundance.
Searching for his allergy pills this morning, Michael picked up a packet of paracetamol and inquired as to whether they were my malaria pills. I looked at him for a moment, wondering whether this was a joke. He’d already been exasperated at himself when, making a shopping list for the drugstore, he’d called kitchen roll kitchen roll and toilet roll toilet roll (as opposed to the Canadian equivalents paper towel and toilet tissue – “why do I say everything British now?” he’d lamented). The paracetamol were from a bag of painkiller goodies my British friend left when she went back to England, and my quizzical look at his inquiry was lost on him.
In a similar way, I recently noticed, he has given me strange glances when I call the new dog, Cosette, a cheeky monkey. “You cheeky monkey!” I exclaim as she places herself in the most inconvenient location she could possibly be in at any one time.
Paracetamol and cheeky monkey inspired me to list the very best sounding words that you Canadians are missing out on using. They are spectacular. Here they are all in a row: poorly, stroppy, mardy, wally, brolly, manky, lurgy.
Poorly: when you are ill. “I’m ever so poorly,” you might say. I feel it garners more sympathy than simply being ill or being sick. When my dad’s poorly, he not just poorly, he is weak as a kitten.
Stroppy: when you sulk because you don’t get your own way. You can also be “in a strop”. I spent the years 2001-2007 in a strop.
Mardy: as far as I’m aware, this is the Northerner version of stroppy. The Artic Monkeys had that song “Mardy Bum”.
Wally: when you’re being silly. My dad calls me a wally, an eejit which is the Irish slang version thereof, or an omadhaun, which is proper Irish but along the same lines. He also says “daft ha’p’orth” which is a full-on Northerner way of saying the same thing. It occurs to me now my dad has an abundance of ways of saying I’m being stupid.
Brolly: umbrella, for when it inevitably rains in England.
Manky: when something’s disgusting or gross, it’s manky. Mankey is also a Pokemon.
Lurgy: the UK equivalent of cooties. When I was a kid, we all knew to clench a fist, place your thumb in the middle of your forehead and say “plugs forever” and then you’d be immune from the lurgy for life. OR SO WE THOUGHT. Sometimes people would try to tag you with the lurgy anyway. Madness.