19 Dec 2013


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

If ever you are an English-English speaking person and visit the States, you will realize that the Americans apparently also speak English, but sometimes it leads to confusions. First there is the accent. Every sentence is pronounced as if the person has a very small to a very big potato in the mouth. The smallest potato is in Boston, the biggest one is in Texas.

That's why in Texas people asked me if I came from Boston. Belgium they didn't know at all, but Brussels they had heard of probably due to the European Union which is located in Brussels. And TV talks about Brussels and not enough about Belgium.

The Englishman shouldn't ask for toilet or loo, but for the restroom, although he had no intention to rest there, especially not when he is in a hurry.

Biscuits become cookies, which the English only knows from his computer, which has the advantage not to get an indigestion.

There are no chaps or lads anymore but guys and please pay attention to pronounce it correctly otherwise it could became "gay".

Cars have no boots but a trunk and don't think that you suddenly have a trunk of a tree in your boot.

In the front of your car you don't have a bonnet anymore but a hood. Very confusing because bonnets are worn on your head.

Goods are not transported in a lorry but in a truck, although thanks to American movies, trucks are also existing in the UK by now.

He doesn't sit in a garden but in a yard and tries to calculate how many yards are in a meter, which is used nowadays, but elderly Englishmen sit in their gardens, but still calculate in yards. 

Little children are not sitting in a buggy but in a stroller and that means  not a stroller in a park walking around and looking at girls.

There is no lift in a building but in an elevator which elevates him to the 10th floor, which doesn't really matter when both go up and down and don't get stuck.

His clothes are not hanging in a wardrobe but in a closet which in old English means a restroom. Strange.

The letter box becomes a mail box but it is "The postman always rings twice" and not the mailman maybe he doesn't ring at all.

He does not wearing trousers in the States, but pants. Fortunately underwear is the same word.

On TV there are no films but movies, but a film is still filmed and a movie is filmed too.

A Flat is the word for an apartment. He could meet someone in in the States who had broken down in his car and tell him that he has a flat he would probably think,  it was a strange moment to tell where he has an apartment. 

Poor poor Englishman in New York !

The other way around is also confusing for the poor American who visits Europe. Some help is here, because in non speaking English European countries, they learn British English and not American.

But all this doesn't matter as long as we can communicate together even only with hand and feet !


Jo said...

OMW What a wonderful post! You should come to South Africa to become really confused. Hence my WW yesterday that many Europeans didn't quite catch! Hope you'll have a dry Christmas!

eastcoastlife said...

Here in Singapore, we learn the British English in schools but we watch lots of American TV programmes and movies. We get confused too. :P

Linens and Royals said...

Americanisms are creeping in here too but I try to resist them. Here it seems a flat is what you rent and a unit is a flat you buy. What we call a garage sale is a yard sale in America and a car boot sale in Britain.
Whatever they are called I am there and ready to buy other peoples discards/rubbish.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gattina .. we're losing the uniqueness of life - but language differences can be challenging - good list you've given us here ..

Cheers and enjoy the rest of the festive preparations .. Hilary

Andrew said...

Brilliant!!! And funny too. I might turn this into my own post in time, but briefly Australia takes from both countries.

We say toilet but you do at times see the sign restroom, although I can't remember seeing restroom for a while. Don't Americans usually say bathroom?

Biscuits here, but you hear cookies used at times in big shops.

The traditional Aussie is blokes, but you are more likely to hear guys now, for both men and women.

We say boot, bonnet, mudguard and not fender.

We have always said truck, but we know lorry well from books and tv.

We use both garden and yard. A yard is less formal. Front garden in front of the house, back yard at the back.

I may be out of touch about babies, but we used to say pusher when the child was sitting up or pram if they flat on their back.

We say lift, but those who watch a lot of American tv might say elevator.

Definitely wardrobe here. Building plan toilets are marked with the initials WC, water closet.

Mostly mailbox, but you post a letter in a letter box on the street. The mail is delivered by a postman or mailman.

Pants here.

Mostly movies here. My mother used to go to the pictures. I go to the cinema. Young people go to the movies.

Your flat in Australia is probably smaller and more modest than your apartment in Australia. It is a hard one and people decide for themselves. I have lived in a couple of flats, one was rented, one was owned. I now live in an apartment. But if you live in a small one bedroom rented flat and you call it an apartment, you are 'bunging it on', or 'putting on side'.

I will look at the effingpot link tomorrow.

You should have embedded the song, an Englishman in New York.

Esther Joy said...

As a Canadian born, but naturalized American, I could identify some of the similarities from Canadian roots. Very charmingly written post that also educates!

Anonymous said...

So fun! Isn't it amazing how different the same language can be from place to place?

A Lady's Life said...

You know the kids today speak also in a new language we don't understand ourselves and we live here.
We read British books and watch movies so we are familiar with British terms.
I think every generation has something different I told my son son of the terms we used and he was also shocked.
They also would have no idea what we meant by them.

Lola said...

Still grinning!

Similar misunderstandings here in Spain too!

Granny-Guru said...

Love the translation! To Andrew, the Aussie, yes, Americans do say bathroom, but you're more likely to hear that in someone's home, whereas, if you're in a restaurant, you're more likely to ask for the restroom. I don't know why.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

LOL!!!! Been there, know that (the other way round though).

Lissa said...

what a fun post. I have always like this kind of English, it just sounds more elegant than American english, but sadly, I wasn't raise in Britain or some other place that speaks this kind of English.

hope you have a wonderful day.

Terra said...

I love this post, and am American but know all the different words since my dh and I read so many English books, watch English tv shows and movies, etc. One I don't think you mention is that in the USA it is flashlight and in the UK it is torch. Yes, we do not rest in the rest room, ha ha and we also call it a bathroom but don't usually take a bath in there when it is a public bathroom in a restaurant, etc.

Susan Anderson said...

This was a fun read. Well done!


Eden House News and views said...

Being english with american family and having lived there I totally understand your fab posting
Happy Christmas

21 Wits said...

Thank you for such an interesting and fun post, it was just delightful.

Cynthia said...

Vive la difference!

Judie said...

Gattina, this is soooo true! What a great post! English v. American!! So very clever! Hope you have a great holiday.

Maribeth said...

I spent time with my Aunt in England and by the time I left I was speaking proper English with a lilting accent. My Aunt laughed at me as I hadn't realized I did this. I guess I have an ear for accents.

Jenny said...

There is an enormous difference between English-English and American-English...

Entertaining facts!

Thanks for linking to the letter "E"!