Wednesday, 5 October 2011

England through the eyes of an American - Language Barrier

When I first arrived in the UK never did I think that I would have a hard time understanding the language. After all we all speak English, don't we? Of course we do but the words we use in the USA are not always the same as the words used here in the UK.

For Example:

The other day we were watching an American children's program and someone said they were going to the restroom in a grocery store. My 7 year old got so excited that in the states they have actual restrooms in stores. She was envisioning a place to rest with nice soft couches, TVs maybe a few toys. I then had to explain to her that the restroom is the same as the Toilet or the Loo here. You should have seen the look on her face.

I thought I would share with you a list of words which are different.

English word - American word

Biscuits - Cookies
Headmaster - Principal
Spanner - Wrench
Courgette - Zucchini
Wardrobe - Closet
Lorry - Truck
Toilet / Loo / WC - Bathroom / Restroom
Flat - Apartment
Trousers - Pants
Pants / Knickers - Underwear
Queue - Line
Lift - Elevator
Rubber - Eraser
Chips - Fries
Crisps - Potato Chips
Holiday - Vacation
Boot - Trunk
Bonnet - Hood
Petrol - Gas
Shop - Store
Ring - Call
Jumper - Sweater
Nappy - Diaper
Dummy - Pacifier
Plaster - Band aid
Jelly - Jello
Garden - Yard
Pram / Push chair - Stroller
Torch - Flashlight
Trainers - Tennis shoes
Lounge - Living Room
Candy Floss - Cotton Candy
Primary School - Elementary School
Rubbish - Trash
Bin - Trash Can
Snogging - Making out
Car Park - Parking Lot
Motorway - Freeway
Slip Road - Freeway on or off ramp
Indicator - Blinker
Lolly pop Lady - Crossing Guard
Zebra Crossing - Crosswalk
Pudding - Dessert
Mobile Phone - Cell Phone
Engaged - Busy (IE. the phone was engaged)
Hire something - Rent something
Hoover - Vacuum
Revise - Study
Trolley - Shopping Cart

Can anyone else think of anymore?


Our Loved-up Family said...

That's a good list. What I found hard about the language barrier (but the other way around UK to USA) was shopping, trying to find items I was familiar with like Swedes, it was literally years later that I found out it was called Ruttebega here. I really missed some things like extra thick double cream, and the non-streaky bacon which don't seem to exist, at least in Utah. My husband is always pointing out when I say 'weird phrases' like 'watch this space', 'home straight', and 'half past seven', but these differences keep life colorful:)

Our Loved-up Family said...

A couple more:
Pavement / Sidewalk
Cot / Crib
Lolly (Lolipop) / Popsicle