Monday, January 7, 2019

Watch your language!

In a comment on the previous post, blogger Neil Theasby mentioned that what is called a thrift store in the U.S. is called a charity shop in the U.K.

Someone once said that England and America are two nations divided by the same language . People argue about whether the someone was Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, or someone else. I really don’t care who said it, but it is definitely true.

For example, here are a few words that people in both countries say but mean different things when they say them:

boot
bonnet
hood
trunk
biscuit
cookie
napkin
lift
anchor
flat
billion
knickers
casket
fanny
chips
hooker
liquor

There are many more examples I could cite but these are enough to prove my point.

I would say that most Americans are aware by now that a lorry is a truck, lift means elevator, flat means apartment, and petrol is gasoline. Hands across the sea and all that.

Australia, however, is in a class by itself. Because of its remoteness, Australian is almost a foreign language. In Australia there are skivvies and billabongs.

I rest my case.

8 comments:

  1. And your thrift shops are op (opportunity) shops here.

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    1. Sue, it's a wonder any of us understand each other at all.

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  2. And in New Zealand, we have not only other things, bit a koind of weed why of soying ut tu.

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    1. Kate, I first noticed it on House Hunters International when the real estate lady wanted to know how many bee drooms the American couple were interested in. I'm glad we have the written language. See my comment to Sue above.

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  3. I once worked with an American who spoke very good English (haha) but when I would lapse into my most broad, ocker aussie accent with slang he would look at me blankly and say he could hardly believe I was speaking the same language.

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    Replies
    1. kylie, I do not know ocker. Perhaps you could do a post about Aussie slang?

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  4. And of course we say Bumbag and you say Fanny Pack. A neverending course of amusement for UK dwellers who are easily pleased *waves a hand*. I know Snow finds me using the word 'shattered' tricky, because I mean I'm tired out in the extreme and he knows it to mean one is shattered of the mind, mentally ill and the like and it's distressing for him. Language is fascinating in its development.

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  5. True story. My brother was appointing a new PA. He offered it to a colleague originally from the US. He had a condition: that she stopped calling the waste paper basket a trash can and called it by it's 'proper' name. On her first day as his PA, he arrived at the office to find in the centre of his desk a treatise on the origin of the words trash can (old English) and why Brits should use trash can instead of their new-fangled words.

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