English language and Coronation Street

Coronation Street

Coronation Street

Over the years it has happened to me often, in fact on a daily basis; in shops, pubs, cafes, cinemas, restaurants … actually in every place I happened to open my mouth, (to speak that is -:)!

And it goes like this;

Friendly New Zealand English Speaker, (FNZES): ‘Oh hiye! You have a lovely accent; where you from?’

Me: ‘Croatia.’

FNZES:’ Vising New Zealand?’

Me (smiling): ‘Actually I live here.’

FNZES (smiling): ‘Oh, that is nice, how long have you been living here?’

Me (still smiling): ‘Long time, some 18 years.’

FNZES (still smiling): ‘Oh that is sooo lovely; and you still have such a strong accent! How did you learn English?’

Me: ‘I just watched Coronation Street a lot’.

FNZES – doubles over with fits of uncontrollable laughter and after some time turns to a colleague; ‘Mate you are not going to believe this!’

Well, after few of those I stopped confessing in public to have learned English from Coro St. But it is true … I did! To that day I am not quite sure what is so funny about it!  

In case you do not know, (something hard to imagine but still -:)), Coronation Street started as a British television soap opera more than 50 years ago and over  time has developed into an institution, with its own language, phrases, accents, characters and loyal fan base. It is the world’s longest-running TV soap still in production.

Of course I did not know any of that when I first stumbled upon the Coro’s lovely Ken and Co. Lonely and desperate to learn English, I tried to watch TV as much as I could. My idea was to absorb the language like music … and it worked! Why Coro St?

Well, of all the soaps and a day-time TV programs on offer, only Coro’s characters look like real people, and working class people at that! They lived in tiny, red-brick terrace houses and slogged in such places as the knickers factory for their daily crust and pint. I could so relate to that! My first jobs were in factories and so were of all my neighbours. When I was a student I had a regular gig with the local rubber factory. Our favourite songs started with; ‘and now for the grave yard shift …!’ When I moved to New Zealand and found myself on the grave yard shift in a timber factory, it was like ‘welcome home cuzzy bro!’ (that is a story for another day -:)).

Coro Street inhabitants had real life dramas and come up with most vivid descriptions of each other’s; ‘Skirt no bigger than a belt, too much eyeliner, and roots as dark as her soul.’ (Blanche Hunt).

They made most accurate observations when at AA meetings; ‘I’ve never heard such self-indulgent whinging in all my life. Is there some correlation between how boring you are and how much you drink?’ (Blanche Hunt).

They resolve their love-life problems in a most matter of fact way; ‘You tell Karen about the baby, I will make you pay, I will make you suffer.’ (Steve McDonald).

They provide encouragement for neighbours’ new business ventures; ‘An alcoholic and an arsonist open a bar? Sounds like the start of a joke.’ (Blanche Hunt).

And above all they exchange lovely complements: ‘I treat my body like a temple’ (Kelly Crabtree), ‘Open to everyone, day and night’ (Janice Battersby).

Once I absorbed enough of ‘blimey me’, ‘bloody hell’, ‘gobsmacked’, ‘stick t’kettle on’, ‘I say nowt’ and alike, I tried to use them upon any of my FNZES I happened to be talking to … for some reason, and to that day, they laugh uncontrollably every time! What’s more when I try my best line: ‘Hi ya chuck, ow arh ya doin’, laughs turn into complete hysterics!

‘Flaming Nora’ I say, I am trying to learn English here!

 

 

 

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

29 thoughts on “English language and Coronation Street”

  1. Lovely article! I guess there are a lot of British humor in the Soap opera, and I think my first followed British TV soap was Dr. Who (since I like imaginative world), in the 80s, but I did not learn a word from it, may be I was just in my primary school and my first language is Mandarin, and then I spoke dialect to my parents at home.

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    1. Thank you very much! I am so glad you like it … indeed it was a good old Brits humour that kept me watching once I was able to understand at least some of it!
      Take Care,
      Daniela

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  2. This was such a good read! I WANNA WATCH CORONATION ST TOOO!!! And this may shock your bones, but this was the first time I heard of it…

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    1. Thank you very much! I am so glad you like it and found it funny! Give it a go – you may like it, although even I will admit that humour is not as good now days as once was! In nineties and even before that it was just good old Manchester working class and back street chats!
      Take Care,
      Daniela

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    1. Oh lovely neighbourhood indeed, LOL! Good old Manchester working class and back street chats! Check it out
      Thank you very much for reading and commenting!
      Daniela

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    1. Thank you very much! I am so glad you like it and found it funny! I am not sure that it is on cable, but you can just click on the link in the post and check them out on their website. Although even I will admit that humour is not as good now days as once was! In nineties and even before that it was just good old Manchester working class and back street chats!
      What I think is and remains funny is a Croatian woman learning English from Coro Street in NZ!
      Take Care,
      Daniela

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  3. That’s a very cute story! You know for many years I used to dream I was a Croatian undercover female saloon girl (don’t ask me why) I even spoke Croatian (is that the term?) and understood it. In 2007 I had the great opportunity to visit Dubrovnik and it was amazing.

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    1. Oh my God Liza! I am so GLAD you visited Dubrovnik I liked it! Dubrovnik is just stunning.
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting,

      Lots of Love -:)!!
      Daniela

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  4. Your story reminds me of when I taught i Korea. I was in a subway completely surrounded by Koreans and yet I kept hearing this “perfect” American (not British) accent.. I was looking through the window trying to catch the reflection of this man who sounded sooooo familiar.. but I couldn’t place how I would know him.. finally I turned around and there he was.. an absolutely Korean man speaking a very recognizable American accent.. I finally asked him where he had learned to speak English he said, “In Korea” I asked him how.. and he replied from old television shows.. it was like John Wayne or something so crazy.. such a bizarre picture..linked with the face.. awesome though.. great article

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      1. After teaching English and realizing how difficult the language was.. and then having to learn Spanish and realizing I am probably not a real language person mentally.. and finding out I know have to learn Nepali.. I LOVE language stories..

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  5. Hello Daniela
    Don’t feel alone there…my grandmother in law ( long deceased ) also learned some english from US sitcoms.
    My wife learned to read ( really read ) from paperback romance novels.

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  6. Hi Daniela,
    I’m about to settle down to watch ‘Coro’ and and find out who really attacked Tracey Barlow. I thought that before I do, I’d leave a comment to say how much I enjoyed this post.

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  7. What a wonderful story. I´ve been watching Corrie all my life. I never really thought of it as a way for people to learn English. I wonder if you have a northern English accent too, like me? 🙂

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  8. Great story, Daniela !

    and so TV does have some uses then !🙂 .

    it never ceases to amaze me how so many of us have a dire need to put people into neat little boxes based on the where are you from or where is your accent from.sorta questions. this is after all the 21st century and increasingly we live in a world where more and more people have worked and lived in different places, sometimes oceans apart. and yet, the question crops up … “where are you from” ! i think it would be far more interesting to know.”where are you today and where are you headed” ?

    as for accents, everyone on the planet has an accent, it is just that its only when one leaves the little pond and moves over to the next county or country or continent that someone and asks you “hey, where’s that accent from ?” … i have started saying i got it off e-bay (read trademe for nz)…🙂

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  9. Hi,
    I am so glad to ‘see’ you here! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. And I just love the ‘e-bay’ idea! I might just starting using trade me … LOL -:)!
    Kind Regards,
    Daniela

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