Friday, October 9, 2009

"Jam-packed" with American slang

Part of my job involves interviewing college students, which I enjoy, namely because it makes me in charge. Never mind I’m only in charge of 19-22 year olds; that is not the point! I have my general coterie of questions, and a few behavioral-based ones as well. Yesterday, when interviewing I asked the following: “Please tell me about a time when you had to go beyond the call of duty to finish a job or task.” Three separate times I received three very puzzled looks. I went on, “Another way to phrase it, is that you had to go above and beyond to get the job done.” Blank stares, again. And don’t even get me started when I asked them to describe a time when they had to “think outside the box”.

You guessed it: I was interviewing international students and using very American idioms and lingo. I never guessed how completely crazy Americanized English was until I Googled American phrases. Looking at some of them literally, you have to chuckle: “bursting into tears”, “he’s a big fish in a little pond”, “I got a clean bill of health”, “I’m feeling down in the dumps” – and that’s just the B’s, C’s, and D’s! While ruminating on this with a co-worker, she mentioned when discussing a matter with our London office she used the phrase “cut throat” and heard a gasp and then silence.

Just some “food for thought”. (Oh, I crack myself – and only myself - up. And lookee here...that’s another one right there.)

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