Post # 1
I saw an interesting article on the BBC website today which discussed the use of British English entering the American English language
It got me thinking, I haven’t adopted many words over the years that are typically “American” but I do find myself saying “awesome” or “sweet!” (British say cool/wicked) ALOT, I do more frequently hear myself saying the American alternative to the word…and I don’t notice myself being British until my boss (who is American) mocks me for saying something British like:
“Mate” – Buddy.
“I’m getting on the tube” – I’m getting on the subway
“Are you happy with this”- Is that ok for you?
“‘I’m going to the Cinema” – Movie
“Flat” – Apartment
Do any of you find yourself saying something that is typically British?
Post # 3
I will usually say a phone like is “engaged” instead of “busy.” I guess it’s because the former seems like a more accurate description of what’s happening.
Post # 4
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
pants = underwear
My FH teases me when I call his trousers pants because he lived in the UK for 5 years.
Post # 5
I know this isn’t a talking difference but I noticed I write cancelled instead of canceled because of a coworker of mine. I thought he misspelled it but apparently not. It just looks so wrong with 1 “L”
Post # 6
beachbride1216 Pants is definately a weird one. You guys say Pants to mean jeans/trousers/item worn on your legs. Pants in the UK means underwear !
Whenever I hear the words “are you going to put your pants on/I’ve split something on my pants” I just have this vision of someone stanting there in their pants/underwear/boxers!
Post # 7
When I came back from a 2 week trip to England, I caught myself using ALL the “wrong” words. My parents looked at me like I was crazy. I still catch myself using one or two of them, like “bin” instead of “trash can”. It’s just so much shorter! I also spell grey the British way. I don’t know where I picked that one up.
Post # 8
I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, so I doubt I do it at all or enough to notice! But I’m on the grey side of the gray vs. grey thing. Does that count?
Post # 9
My husband is British so I speak half-American-English and half-British-English most days!
“pants” has another meaning in the UK. If you hear someone say “that movie was pants” that means “that movie was pretty bad, it totally sucked!”
The many uses of “piss” always cracks me up:
Piss around: kind of wandering aimlessly
Pissing it down: raining really hard, raining buckets
Pisser: either a bar, or really angry.
Piss off: either make someone really angry/be really angry, or go home.
You can go to the pisser, get pissed, be pissed that you’re pissed, then piss off back home. Just don’t piss around if it’s pissing it down!
Some of the more subtle ones that have found their way into my everyday language are telling a friend “I’ll nip around and pick you up”; using the word “posh” to refer to upscale things or rich neighborhoods; or referring myself as “knackered out” when I’m really tired, although I’ve been warned that, in some parts of the UK, “knackered out” is primarily used to describe the kind of tired one gets from having a marathon sex session. So I don’t say that one in front of his parents 🙂
The one that drives me nuts is the British use of “I don’t mind” as the answer to a multiple choice question. “Hey sweetheart, would you like to have chicken for dinner tonight, or would you rather I cook the steak?” “I don’t mind.” Ummmm okay I get it, you’re telling me to pick one and either is fine by you, but can you just say that?! I have no idea why it gets under my skin so badly, but it does, and it’s not just Darling Husband but pretty much every one of his friends or family that I’ve ever asked a question to!
Post # 10
@Soon2BeeMrsG: As I am British, I understand exactly what you’re saying. Even though I’ve been in Canada for a very long time, I still revert back to familiar sayings, like:
“Just going to the loo”
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist”
“Shut your gob”
And that’s not including the swear words… like twat, piss off, and my favourite, c*nt.
Post # 11
Hahahahahahaha! fishbone that is the funniest thing I read all week!
Thank you for that!
I definately say “Pants” to mean something “sucked” that film was pants, the weather is pants”
I think I use the word piss(ed) daily!
Post # 12
anothersmith That’s interesting, do you get a reaction when you say those things?
My boss thinks it’s the funniest thing when I say “hang on”…. I’m not sure what the American way of saying that is but he always mocks me for it.
But I’ve noticed him saying British things and I laugh my head off when he says “cheers mate” or “call my mobile” in his American accent!
Post # 13
Oh I will add, of all the things I’ve written on the ‘bee, I think my participation in this thread would be most likely to really upset my husband. As a British man in the US, he gets a LOT of people who think they’re cute by trying to interject Britishisms into conversations. I can see the smoke coming out of his ears anytime anyone says “wot,” “guv’nor,” or “blimey.” He hates the constant attention to his accent and his lingo, as do his friends when they come visit.
When we go to the UK, I *never* get anyone tossing around “y’all” or “duuuuuuuuude” and while I do get asked fairly often if I’m a yank, the conversation usually turns to where we live and what cities we’ve visited, and never into some weird voiceover session; with Americans talking to him, it seems like someone is always ready to break out the Monty Python impressions. I think that’s a cultural thing because when we go together to Australia, we don’t get the impression treatment either. A general polite question about where we’re from, and that’s it.
Post # 14
fishbone I hear what your saying definately. There is a divide about whether or not discussing the differences in the words we use in the UK or the US is offensive, but I personally find it really interesting because when you start to look into it you realise that SO many words are different but mean the same thing.
It’s as though even when I hear the American version of a word my brain translates it to the British version automatically. I know Trash can means bin, I know frozen yougurt means ice cream, cell phone means mobile etc.
I think it’s curiosity more than rudeness that most people pick up on the differences in the words we use. The last company I used to work for was a VERY well known American Media company, so I’d mix with alot of Americans in my work and now I work for a VERY English company but my boss is American.
So I can see how more and more words we both use are now becoming “adopted” by the other
Post # 15
@Soon2BeeMrsG: Are you referring to my favourite swear word? Because the answer is yes.
I don’t say it loudly in public or weave it into everyday conversation, but there’s nothing like a good, hard consonant expletive every once in a while. If you own your use of a word, it removes the shame from it, at least for me….and let’s be honest, most North American women don’t like that one in particular.
Post # 16
I don’t think I say anything british… but then again I’m born, raised, and living in Ohio 🙂 I do like British accents and phrasing, but I generally feel that unless there is a REASON to speak that way (actually british, spend a LOOOONG time living there, married to a brit, etc) it seems kind of poser-ish to just start talking that way.
Although that might be informed by one girl I was friends with in school. She was born and raised in Ohio but she spoke with a british accent and used tons of british terms. Whenever asked about it she’d say something vague like “oh I had a lot of british friends when i lived overseas” (note: she did not live in britain). But she’d been back for years and it wasn’t just the phrasing it was the ACCENT. Finally one day she got pushed about it and said well her grandfather was british. But then it turned out that he was ENGLISH but had been born in the US, although he was raised by his aunt who was from Britain and was the only one in her family who had an accent. Her grandfather’s aunt, who she had never even met. What?! lol. So yea. To me it just seemed kinda lame/like a way to make yourself seem more interesting. When really? we are in Ohio dude give it up.