Thursday, August 29, 2013

Speaking English in England

When we made the decision to move to England I was excited and a bit relieved that we'd chosen an English speaking country.  Having lived in France for 5 months during my last year of undergraduate, arriving with z-e-r-o French language was exciting, but exhausting.  At least in relocating to England I'd have mastery over the language, right?


Most everyone speaks a form of English that I can understand, however there are the occasional strong accents, phrases of speech, vocabulary words, and pronunciation differences that trip me up from time to time.  I especially notice differences when I'm placing our online grocery order and type a product into the search box and it returns zero results. Really?  Or I type "paper towels" and only get toilet paper as the result. (they're called "kitchen towels" FYI)

Despite these differences we've managed to adopt certain vocabulary words and phrases of speech without even realizing it (until the other person notices you doing so and rightfully teases you). As we approach our one year expat-iversary Devin and I still take great joy comparing British English to American English and we crack ourselves up almost every time.

Since I can't possibly remember all the differences in one post, I'll just start you off here with a list of things in the hope that I'll do another "Speaking English in England" again soon.

If you want to say _______ you should say ________.

Hello = Hi-ya!

Potato Chips = Crisps

French Fries = Chips

Sandwich Bread = Bloomer

Bike = Cycle

Bladder (where you hold your pee) = Water Box

Colon = Midnight Soil Box (Devin and I just made this one up based on Water Box)

Pap Smear = Smear Test (ew, way to make it more gross than it already is England)

Sneakers = Trainers

Pants = Trousers

Underwear = Pants

Sweater = Jumper

Shopping Cart = Trolly

Truck = Lorry

Median = Verge

Stovetop = Hob

Oven = Cooker

Post (as in, something you'd tie your boat to or block traffic with) = Bollard

Eraser = Rubber (Imagine my confusion walking into the supply room at the elementary school and seeing a box with the word "Rubbers" on it. I thought, "My aren't they progressive with their birth control in this country!")

Markers = Felt Tips

Glue Stick = Stick of Glue

Garbage Can = Bin

Garbage Bag = Bin Liner

Thanks = Cheers

Doctor's Office = Surgery or GP

Bathroom = Loo

Toilet Paper = Loo Roll

Toothbrush = Tombstone Polisher (FALSE! Just seeing if you were paying attention)

Umbrella = Brollie

Pancake IS NOT = to Flapjack

Bye = Bye-Eee! (to be spoken in a high pitched voice)

Hope you enjoyed your foray into British English. More on this later!

1 comment:

  1. mail=post
    glue stick also = Pritt stick (it's a brand just like say Scotch tape for any cellophane tape, which reminds me...)
    scotch tape=cello tape
    crackers=crackers or sometimes biscuits
    eggplant =aubergine
    cell phone=mobile phone
    supposed to=meant to
    swimsuit (+goggles etc)=swimming costume
    costume=fancy dress
    baked potato=jacket potato
    grade 1=year 2 etc
    to pick up=collect (I have to collect my kids)
    dinner=tea (not always, but often-shall I give your kids their tea=should I feed them dinner?)
    thrift shop=charity shop
    shocked (or super surprised)=gobsmacked

    And of course, everything is Lovely, no matter how macho you are--I love that!!!

    I miss you, England and Hayley!! Sending love!