What’s this blog about?



Ask an American to explain the rules of baseball and they’ll begin ‘Oh, it’s really very simple…’ Then they’ll give some of the most complex instructions you’ve ever heard. Ask a Brit to explain the rules of cricket and they’ll start with ‘Oh, it’s rather complicated I’m afraid…’ Then they’ll launch into rules of equal complexity.

Both are being polite and friendly in their different ways: the American aiming to include and the Brit apologizing for imposition.

Welcome to my world! I’m a British English teacher living in the US and learning to speak ‘merican. Pragmatics and  the structuring of the discourse have been my biggest learning challenge. To function well, I have to frame my thoughts differently in the two varieties.

It took me many years to get to a point where I could blog about ‘merican English, but my ‘merican colleagues say I’ve now reached intermediate. Yay! It’s time to share…

 Posted by at 9:33 pm

  5 Responses to “What’s this blog about?”

  1. Actually, baseball is very simple: it’s rounders played by grown men, except the bases are flat plates on the ground instead of posts, the batter swings two-handed, and the bowler (called the pitcher) can throw overhand and usually does. That should do it!

  2. Ha! Why, yes John. And by the same token, I guess cricket is pretty easy too. It’s rounders played by grown men, except there are just two bases with bits of wood in the ground called wickets.

    There’s another well known explanation which goes:
    You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
    Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
    When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
    When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
    There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.
    When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

    Some people just have to complicate things, don’t they.

  3. Oddly, that description will almost serve for baseball too: just change “twice” to “nine times” and “two men” to “one to six men” (four is the number for regular season major-league games).

  4. I’m a ‘Merican living in Cornwall, and when an American friend visited some years back, he asked someone about the rules of cricket. Three hours later, he was still listening. Either that or he’d fallen asleep with his eyes open. I didn’t want to get close enough to be trapped, so I can’t say which it was.

  5. Ha! Yep, I can believe the three hours and still going. There’s no stopping Jay on baseball once started.

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