The Culture Shock of Duct Tape

When I moved to the US one of the first new English words I learnt was “duct tape”. I had simply never before had a reason to use that word in English. I’m a fan of duct tape – silvertejp in Swedish – though, and find various use for it. I had just never before came across that special use for it that made me learn the word in English. A use that was constantly hammered into my newly relocated brain. That is, as soon as I had television in my new US home sorted out. The Department of Homeland Security advised me, by airing repetitive messages on prime time, to stock up on duct tape to be able to seal my windows in case of a chemical or biological terrorist attack. Talk about culture shock. Where to had a dragged my newborn?

Well, I bought the duct tape. Thankfully I did not have to use it for sealing windows, even though it briefly crossed my mind once.

As I mentioned earlier the Swedish word for duct tape is silvertejp. You can probably decipher it – “silver” and “tape”. On Saturday I came across pink duct tape. After all it is the month of October and breast cancer awareness. Pink in Swedish is “rosa”. But what happens to the word? The tape is no longer silver?! Pink tape? Oh no, it is still silvertejp. It is just rosa (pink).

By the way; the next English word I learnt was “debris”.

Running out of ideas for duct tape? Here are some ideas including duct tape ipod case and a halloween costume.


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