People are very interesting. We each perceive the world slightly differently, sometimes very differently. Like most people, I am intrigued by how I think & how other people think. On my last trip to the US, I was thinking about how people perceive difference. This “social construction of difference” is something I learned a little about at University. One aspect is how my accent is a trigger for my friends to notice that I am different from them.
On this trip, the trigger word for my US friends was “schedule” which I pronounce differently to them. I believe I follow my English origins and pronounce as if there were no C, making it “shedule.” My US friends found that they have a K in place of the CH and so pronounce “skedule.” I do wonder where the k came from. I also notice that the extraneous K does not bother me, but the shed bothers my friends. That’s not to say that I am more tolerant, there are trigger words for me. One is solder, a crucial part of assembling electronic devices. My US friends seem not to notice that there is an L in the word, which I find disconcerting. Don’t get me started on router or Aluminium, both troubling words.
These small differences in language are part of how we identify people who are like us and people who are different. Pointing out the differences reinforces both the sense of belonging and the sense of difference. I want to talk a bit more about belonging and difference as well as how I perceive people in some coming blog posts. They will make a nice break from all the vendor briefing blog posts I’ve been doing.
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