Apr 22, 2012 - England    7 Comments

Am I a Swiss American?

It happened to me before. It always happens to me in Switzerland whenever I start speaking English, it happened to me when my hostdad picked me up and actually thought I was the wrong guy and it happened to me today in school again.

We were reading a newspaper article about some migrants getting sued, when I, curious as I am, asked a vocabulary question concluding that it was the same word as lawsuit. It was when my teacher gave me a really puzzled look telling me that she wanted to ask me this before but didn’t have the chance. She added if I actually have been or lived in America. “Yes mam! I suuure haaave” I responded with my best Forest Gump accent. She was teaching me for the second week apparently without knowing about my exchange year in the United States of America.

I love to see the puzzled look on people’s faces when they can’t really figure out where I am from. I use a lot of American day to day language, I have an “American accent” but still English native speaker can hear that there is something fishy. Their suspicion are usually released when I tell them that I am a Swiss who did an exchange year in Chicago. That was also the reason why my UK hostdad wasn’t really sure if he picked up the right guy. I quote him “As soon as you opened your mouth, I thought hold on a minute, is he really from Switzerland or is he just a crazy American who wants to learn proper English?” My hostmom tells me that she always needs to tell herself: “He is not an American he just talks like them. So I can’t suppose he understands everything I say.”

I want to thank my American friends and family for teaching me so well (I actually think the way I eat is part of it. The paster pastor of my church even has the opinion that I am more American than Swiss by my behavior) In the US I was known as the Swiss or the guy from Switzerland. In the UK, I am known as the Swiss American or the guy from Switzerland with the American twang.

 

As always: Do me a favour and correct my mistakes ;)

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7 Comments

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  • “It happened to me before.” – I think you are referring to multiple instances, so I would say, “It has happened to me before.”

    “She added if I actually have been or lived in America. “Yes mam!” – She probably ASKED and “mam” should be “ma’am” (it’s short for “madam” so the apostrophe replaces the “d” …it’s a weird word. :P )

    “English native speaker can hear” – speaker should be plural, so “speakers.”

    “Their suspicion are usually released” – suspicion should be plural (“suspicions”), but the phrase is also usually, “Their suspicions are usually realized/confirmed.”

    That’s weird that how you eat is a part of your teaching! Haha, is it because Americans have different eating customs?!

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  • müsste es nicht pastor statt paster heissen??

    • jep that’s right ;) well spotted!

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