English – Down Under and Up Over

English – Down Under and Up Over is a humorous look at the English language from the point of view of a foreigner studying, learning, and communicating in English. It is not a textbook, but laugh-out-loud stories peppered with idioms, oxymora, and correlated jokes. It is wittily written to illustrate the importance of knowing the multiple meanings of words, the variety of spellings, and the culture, making a difference between understanding or being lost in translation.

This book is dedicated to New Zealand and her people. As a result of the unfortunate earthquake disaster in Christchurch, the author and the publisher have donated 100 copies to those affected by this tragedy, in hopes of easing their pain and providing them with a little humor during this hard time.

English – Down Under and Up Over, ISBN 978-0-473-17323-4 can be purchased from book stores or direct from the publisher: The Copy Press. Phone: 643-547-2972. Fax: 643-547-2973. www.copypress.co.nz. E-mail: infor@copypress.co.nz. Price $25


This book is to illustrate in a humorous way how difficult learning English is as a second language. Reading this book will create hours of laughter along with many awareness about the complexity of the English language for both a native speaker and for one who is learning it.

English is the most popular language in the world, because of the number of persons who use it, the geographical spread of its use, and the variety of purposes for which it is used. The more widely a language is used, the more potential it has for variation. And the paradox of diversity in unity is more apparent in English than any other language spoken upon, in the entire world. I learned this the hard way in getting my graduate degrees in America, and traveling to Great Britain, Canada, Australia and living in New Zealand.

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, English is one of the hardest languages to learn as a second language. It is the most commonly spoken language in the world, because In every international gathering, English is the official language whether or not there is a representative from an English speaking country participating at the meeting.

The language known as “English” and spoken by Brits, Scots, Irish, Americans, Canadians, Kiwis, Aussies, etc. is by no means standardized or homogeneous. In some cases, their differences are so significant that one would think that it is a completely different language! Depending on the circumstances, this can be quite comical or stressful for both the “native” speaker” and a “foreigner.” The pronunciation, the use of words, the many different meanings of a word, spelling, sentence structure, along with colloquial expressions create enormous difficulties that are quite challenging, funny, and most of all confusing.

A simple example is, “The wheel of a car.” It is spelled tire in the United States, but spelled tyre in the UK and other commonwealth countries. However, the confusion comes, at some point in the evening you may tire and decide to go to bed. English most definitely with its many colorful variations is a most intriguing language to study!”

I love to travel, especially to countries I haven’t been before. I consider traveling like a great book, and if you haven’t traveled you haven’t read a page. Being an invited guest lecturer for cruise lines since 2001 has provided me with the unique privilege to travel around the globe that I am very grateful about.

Stories, jokes, and slang from New Zealand, Australia, America, and the United Kingdom give good examples illustrating the differences in English depending upon where it is spoken!

When I moved to New Zealand, I had to learn Kiwi English which was a different language from the one it took me 35 years in America to reach my comfort zone. I had to start all over again, and I’m learning more everyday. However, it’s not happening fast enough at my age.

Pronunciations, slang, and spellings in Kiwi and Aussie English are quite different than American English. What is known as a napkin in the US is called a serviette in Down Under. If you asked for a napkin in a restaurant, you would get a funny look from the waitress. In Kiwi English, a napkin is actually a diaper, or nappy as they call it. And when the waitress comes back and says, “Is that the lot there?” don’t be baffled, she just wants to know if you have everything. Breakfast is brekkie, lunch is dinner, and dinner is tea, so be careful to use the right word when you invite your friends over! If someone tells you that my husband is crook, it is not for being a thief; this word is used for sick!

Remembering all the crazy situations I have been in, along with the many times of simply being frustrated and lost in translation, now makes me laugh. This is my reason for sharing the language stories with others hoping to help new learners to better cope with some of their own embarrassing moments. And for “the experts” to try “putting the shoe on the other foot.”

Considering the topic of this book, sit back, and start reading to entertain yourself. And if you see some mistakes in my book, please relax and forgive me. Remembering that, “I no good speak English,” just have fun with it.