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hurtloam
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30 Sep 2017, 11:29 am

I'm just wondering as an British lass, are there any terms we use (I'm including folks from Ireland, Scotland and Wales in we) that Americans don't understand at first of find weird when they read our posts on here?


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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30 Sep 2017, 11:39 am

I've been on model railroad/railway forums which have a large percentage of UK members for several decades and have learned quite a bit there. But if I were randomly teleported to somewhere in UK there would have to be a lot of them in the rest of life which would be new to me.


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SilentJessica
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30 Sep 2017, 12:04 pm

Australia has some of the same words and terminology, and I have confused some Americans I have texted with these:

"That's okay" instead of "you're welcome" when they thanked me for something.
* "Chips" instead of "fries".
* "Singlet" instead of "tank" (they had to ask me what a singlet was).
* "Tea" instead of "dinner".
* "Powerpoint" instead of "outlet". I had to send a photo and say "this thing".
* When I said something about my "neighbour" once, someone said "you mean your neighbor?"

To make it easier, I usually use the same words they use unless it feels too wrong to.


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hurtloam
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30 Sep 2017, 2:14 pm

SilentJessica wrote:
Australia has some of the same words and terminology, and I have confused some Americans I have texted with these:

"That's okay" instead of "you're welcome" when they thanked me for something.
* "Chips" instead of "fries".
* "Singlet" instead of "tank" (they had to ask me what a singlet was).
* "Tea" instead of "dinner".
* "Powerpoint" instead of "outlet". I had to send a photo and say "this thing".
* When I said something about my "neighbour" once, someone said "you mean your neighbor?"

To make it easier, I usually use the same words they use unless it feels too wrong to.



For a couple of seconds there I thought that Microsoft PowerPoint was called Microsoft Outlet in Australia.

We call it a socket over here.

Here's a thing that confused me. I was going to a formal event and the dress code was no tank tops. In the UK a tank top is a sweater with no sleeves. Think Clueless 1996. I was like cool, I'm wearing a shirt anyway. Plus this was 2003 and tank tops were so passe at that point.

I only found out last year a tank is a vest top, which I guess you guys call a singlet.


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Michael829
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30 Sep 2017, 3:36 pm

hurtloam wrote:
I'm just wondering as an British lass, are there any terms we use (I'm including folks from Ireland, Scotland and Wales in we) that Americans don't understand at first of find weird when they read our posts on here?


Not weird, and not incomprehensible. But telltale. Nothing wrong with that. Welcome and nteresting, in fact.

Different spellings of certain words are the main giveaway. Maybe "realise" is the most frequent one.

Though I've seen "whilst" in a post by an American, nearly always it's only used by British or Australians.

I like the British-isms. It makes the forum more interesting to hear from people from other countries, and find the extent to which we all say similar things...and the fewer ways that we differ on things (I can't say that I've really found any national ways that we differ).

In a related topic, it's funny about accents. None of us think we have one :D

Americans notice how Britishers drop terminal "r" s, or "r" s that follow a vowel. And how Britishers (as do most people) start each syllable with a consonant, instead of ending one with a consonant and starting the next with a vowel. When I was in London, walking down the sidewalk with my mother, there was a pelican standing on the sidewalk. A little kid walking by said, "Look, a pe-lican." Our American pronunciation would be
"pel-ican".

But we Americans don't notice our own pronunciation differences from other people. ...like the way we drop (or barely pronounce) "t" when it occurs in the middle of a word before a vowel.

When I was visiting my mother in London, she sent me to the ironmonger across the street to get some batteries for her radio. I asked the proprietor where the batteries were. He replied that he didn't carry berries,and that I'd have to go to a green-grocer for that.

Then I realized my mispronunciation, and asked him where the ba-ttries are, and he told me.

Once I was in a London-Underground station, and I asked a woman on the departure-platform, "Does this thing go to Sloan?" She replied, "Does this train go to Sloan Square. Yes."

I was on a London Underground car, and it was just sitting for a long time. I was getting uncomfortable with everyone facing and unavoidably looking at eachother all that stationary time, and kept pretending to read my ticket (as I later heard is a common practice). I finally blurted out, "How do they decide when to start this thing?! People just smiled.

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Aristophanes
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30 Sep 2017, 3:51 pm

You folk needs ta learns how ta speak 'Merican right. ~some ignoramus in my rural town, circa 2005 to a British tourist.



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30 Sep 2017, 3:54 pm

UK: (ladies) bag, US calls it a purse

UK: purse, US calls that a wallet, billfold, or can be a coin purse.

UK: pavement, to walk along, US: sidewalk

UK: all vacuum cleaners are "hoovers" regardless of brand, US: they are just called vacuums or vacuum cleaners

UK: watches "the telly," US doesn't call it a "telly," just a television or a TV.

UK: mobile phone; US: cell phone

UK: car park; US: parking lot

UK: back garden; US: mostly "back yard"

UK: on a car, the bonnet and the boot: US: that's the hood and the trunk

UK: on a car, windscreen; US windshield

UK: a cushion is anything that isn't a bed pillow; US: a pillow is anything that isn't the cushion you sit on - throw pillow, etc

UK: a baby sucks on a dummy: US: it's a pacifier

UK: trousers are not called pants, as pants are underwear, US: pants are trousers

UK a filled bed quilt (down, etc) is called a duvet; US: tend to call that a "comforter" but still call padded quilts a quilt

UK: skirting board along the bottom of interior walls; US: baseboard

UK:"I'm going to the toilet/loo/WC" US: "I'm going to the bathroom" (to use the toilet)

UK: knickers are ladies' underpants; US: panties, underwear, briefs

UK: a "rubber" is an eraser for pencils; US: a rubber is a slang term for a condom! Pencil erasers are erasers.

UK: doing the "washing up" means washing dinner dishes, pots and pans. US: "washing up" generally means washing yourself, hands, face, etc. Washing up is just "washing dishes" rather than "washing up."

UK: "I'll knock you up at 7am tomorrow." US: Knock you up or 'knocked up' are slang terms for getting someone pregnant.

UK: everywhere you buy something is usually a "shop" "I'm going to the shops" US: 'shop' is used too, but "store" is heard more often. "I'm going to the store to pick up some things."



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30 Sep 2017, 4:04 pm

I'm not either British or American, but English is the language on WP, so I use it, and it drives me nuts - because I learnt British English in school, and I feel closer culturally to Britain, yet my spell check is American, so I just gave up and started using American spelling. I'm probably stuck somewhere mid-Atlantic, writing incorrectly in both standards.

Maybe not what the OP was asking for.

I remember being completely puzzled, though visiting someone saying 'so I was sitting there, going to the bathroom'. What? Either you're sitting, or you're going, aren't you? Took me a long time to figure that one out. :mrgreen:


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BirdInFlight
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30 Sep 2017, 4:07 pm

"'so I was sitting there, going to the bathroom'." Yep, it's even funnier to hear things like "Oh no, your dog just went to the bathroom all over my shoes!" :lol:



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30 Sep 2017, 4:24 pm

Oh, and there was another incident like that:

I had a letter that I wanted to mail to my girlfriend in California, and I wanted it to get to her as soon as possible. I was at a branch post-office in London. I wondered if the letter would go out sooner if I mailed it immediately from there, or if i took it to the main post-office at Trafalgar Square.

So I asked the postal-clerk: "Will this go out sooner if I mail it now from here, or if I take it to Trafalgar?"

He replied: "It will take longer if you mail it from the Island of Gibraltar."

I didn't know that Trafalgar is a name for the Island of Gibraltar.

No doubt he knew what I meant, but he wanted me to say it right.

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Raleigh
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30 Sep 2017, 5:02 pm

I remember getting chewed out for writing "aeroplane".
Also, I was told that "prise" wasn't a word, as in "prise open the door."


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BirdInFlight
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30 Sep 2017, 5:07 pm

Michael, names like Sloane Square and Trafalgar Square really are best to be called their full name -- nobody in London would just call the station "Sloane" or the postal department there "Trafalgar." UK people don't even truncate street names!

Where a US person might refer to, for example, a place at the corner of Grosvenor Street and Davies Street as being located at "Grosvenor and Davies," a UK person would speak the whole name, including the word "Street."

It's a very US thing to cut street names and place names and even station names down to the first part. Around London you're only going to be clearly understood if you say full names of places, stations and streets.



BirdInFlight
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30 Sep 2017, 5:16 pm

Got another difference:

The use of the word "hospital."

UK: "I had to go to hospital."
US: "I had to go to THE hospital."

UK also tends to say "I went to the doctor's" while US says "I went to the doctor."

UK: I took my cat to the vet's" US "I took my cat to the vet."

UK "I shop at Tesco's" US "I shop at HEB" (not HEB's)



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30 Sep 2017, 5:21 pm

British people say "sport" (as in "I like playing sport") while Americans (and Canadians) say "sports". They put the S on the end of "math" instead. Maths.


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Michael829
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30 Sep 2017, 6:01 pm

BirdInFlight--

Thanks for taking the time for that complete explanation. I wish I'd been told about that before those visits to England, when those incidents happened from 1972 through 1976. Well, I guess it can sometimes be interesting, if a bit embarrassing, to find out the hard way too.

When I was in England, I was amazed by the variety of candy-bars, and their diverse shapes & sizes. Even on the Underground platforms. In those days, here or there, I couldn't pass a place that had candy-bars, including the Underground platform, without getting one.

I was also amazed by the great variety of flavors for potato crisps.

In fact, it was in London that I first encountered a plastic potato crisps bag. Of course now they're all plastic here too, but, at that time, they were still waxed-paper here. With the usual (at that time) waxed-paper bags, I of course just tore the top of the bag off. When I had that first plastic crisps bag, I didn't know what to do. So I just squeezed it, to pop the top open. ...but instead it popped the bottom open, and the crisps all went onto the pavement.

That was so funny, I just stood there laughing for a while.

Another thing I liked was the fact that packaged single-serving-size Sheppard's Pies and Steak & Kidney Pies were available in most grocery-stores

I'm assuming that both you and Raleigh are in England.

Michael829


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