Saturday, June 4, 2016


In honor of those who have taken AP exams, or final exams, or simply those who like Britishisms, I bring you this Common Household conversation from early May.

Younger Daughter: I have my AP test on next Wednesday.

Her Dad: What's the topic?

YD: English.

Dad: Okay, what's a popinjay?

YD: A conceited person, as in "a puffed-up popinjay."

Dad: And what is “bubble and squeak”? 

YD: A delicious mixture of potatoes and… it has potatoes in it, and maybe some other stuff.

Me:  And cabbage.*

Dad:   Bangers and mash?

YD: Sausage with a delicious sauce and more potatoes. 

Dad:  What is the American equivalent of "sod off"? 

YD:   "Go away!"

Dad:  Under what circumstances would you say "tally ho!"? 

YD: When you are hunting and you hear the trumpets.  Dad, these are Britishisms, not English!

Dad: And what about "Pip pip"?  What does that mean?

YD:  When you clap your hands and say “Pip pip.”

Dad:   What would be the literary, religious, and health significance of the bacon sandwich?

YD:  The literary significance is that it shows the relationship between his work, as opposed to his relationship with his wife.  The health significance is that he is ignoring his own health.  What was the other one?

Dad:  Religious.

YD:  The religious significance is that we are not supposed to eat bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.

Dad:  I didn’t say anything about lettuce or tomatoes.

YD: Don’t you remember the part when he says, “There was too much lettuce,” as in there was some lettuce?

*I knew this because we dined on Bubble and Squeak in the "pub" at Epcot Center.
* * * * * * *

Here’s to the idea that the AP English exam should be a quiz on colloquial expressions of the British Isles rather than on techniques of argumentation.  But don’t ask me about those references to the bacon sandwich.  I suspect it is a Terry Pratchett thing. 

Speaking of Britishisms, fans of P.G. Wodehouse might enjoy this send-up of a certain political candidate and his butler.

Ta ta for now.


Cassi said...

I love Britishisms, and I certainly agree that it would be a much better AP test. Better yet, no AP tests at all!

We have a couple of FB friends from Scotland who actually write in Scots, which I always love to read.

The Crislers said...

Your family is well-versed on Britishisms! I love British insults, but British food always sounds very suspicious to me, even those dishes not featuring some kind of organ meat.

I would love to take your kind of AP exam.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

As much fun as I do have teaching teenagers to argue for that AP Lang & Comp exam, this does sound like it would be better. Thanks for the link, too! I adore P. G. Wodehouse so much. His stuff is squeakers and chiff if you ask me.
Hope your daughter got a good score!

Anonymous said...

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