The picture is from the rather excellent Zula Patrol exhibit at the EcoTarium last Sunday. A few days ago, I had a comment - one of about 200 to date (thank you all!) - accusing me of shifting language usage and I promised a post explaining myself. Here it is.
Except when I occasionally do otherwise for effect, I write here in what I consider to be my natural (internal) voice. That is I write the way I think. For the most part - and I could hardly call myself an exile if it were otherwise - that is in British English.
My actual language usage on a day to day basis is much more mixed. I work in a small office split nearly 50/50 between expats from the UK and locals and I enjoy the mental challenge of translating a lot of what I say into the local vernacular. In other contexts, the need to communicate effectively necessitates adjusting the words I use and the way I pronounce them. If I say 'water' or 'tomato' or 'carton' in my pre-2007 accent, I get too many blank looks - and that stops being fun pretty quickly. Similarly, I may sometimes keep 'notes' in my wallet but I can't use them to pay for things and people would give me a strange look if I said that it was cold enough for me to wear a 'jumper' (and not just because of the current weather).
So, why was I changing E5N1's diaper? Because most of the time that's how I think of what he wears, that's how I refer to them to him, to all the people around, that's what we buy in the 'store'... Now if we were talking about Exile #4 - she definitely wore nappies. It may not be consistent but it's the way I think - 'shifting language usage'? maybe a little, but I don't think I'll be slipping into dropping the 'h' from 'herbs' any time soon.