...down-home part of America, like England.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by anglicana, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. anglicana Senior Member

    A girl goes to Chinatown in Frisco and she finds out that in many shops she visits they don't speak any English. She comments to herself:

    "Don't they understand that they should speak a real American language from a real down-home part of America, like England?"

    There 2 things I don't get:
    1) down-home - is the southern part of the US, right? How doeas England fit here?? (well, there's a lot of humour in this novel, so it might be a joke I don't quite get)
    2) the whole sentence in bold: what meaning does it have?
  2. MissFit

    MissFit Senior Member

    It is possible that she is referring to a town in the U.S. which is named England, but it's not likely. This is probably humor, especially if it was printed in bold. If she thinks that England is in the United States, then she is far more ignorant than the Chinatown residents who haven't learned English.

    Down-home does not necessarily refer to the southern U.S., though the phrase is probably used there more often. It can refer to any rural area or small town. Down-home can also refer to the atmosphere of a place or the attitude of a person or a group of people. It's a descriptive adjective more than a geographic one.
  3. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    Right. And it normally describes a simple, honest, homey situation.
  4. difficult cuss Senior Member

    English England
    Note that she suggests a "real American language", obviously there is joke involved.
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Yes, and the punch line was well documented by H.L. Mencken, following Noah Webster.
  6. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    For the "like England" comment two possibilities occur to me -

    - the speaker is jokingly suggesting that England is a part of America (most likely I think)
    - the "like England" is short for "like the way they do in England", eg "they should speak a real American language like they do in England. Same joke from another point of view, I suppose.
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    A third possibility--

  8. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    Just a side note - many people from San Francisco are annoyed by the nickname "Frisco". They prefer SF or even "San Fran" (another unpopular nickname) to "Frisco". At least that's what several natives tell me. :)

    Locally, it's most often referred to as just "The City."

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