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Thread: separated by a common tongue

  1. #1

    Default separated by a common tongue

    I love the differences between american usage and british usage that make transatlantic chats so interesting. Not so much the words which are just a matter of preference, like torch / flashlight , bumper /fender, trunk / boot but more like the word hood which in relation to a car for an american would mean the same thing as a brit would refer to as the bonnet (hood would normally be understood to be the roof to a brit). Those don't usually cause much confusion because we are all used to them but there are words such as "jumper" which a brit would use to refer to the item which an american would call a sweater, if an american used jumper he would probably be referring to an item a brit would call a gymslip.

    In the UK if a "motion is tabled" it is put up for discussion whereas americans use the same phrase to mean that it is taken down from discussion. Similarly a "Moot Point" to a brit is one which is worthy of and should be discussed but to an american a "Moot Point" is one which does not warrant further discussion.

    I'm sure we all know of hundreds more words which have different meanings in american and british english, but we probably aren't all aware of the same ones. I was chatting with an american buddy recently about the word "okay" which is in common usage on both sides of the atlantic but with slightly different meanings. We can both use it as an affirmative but if he uses it to describe how his day went he means it was a good day, whereas if I used it to describe my day, it would mean that although nothing went particularly wrong it wasn't a good day.

    So will this thread go down a bomb (british english for do really well) or will it bomb (american english for do really badly)? Post all the words that you can think of which might be confusing to speakers of brit/eng or am/eng or even dialect words which are confusing to others who speak the same version of english I think Ade mentioned in one of his posts how confusing the word "while" can be, depending on your locality.

  2. #2

    Default

    I'm going to disagree with a few of your points...



    Quote Originally Posted by tuscan View Post
    hood would normally be understood to be the roof to a brit
    I'm not sure I'd think roof - in fact I'd think bonnet simply due to the americanism.



    Quote Originally Posted by tuscan View Post
    In the UK if a "motion is tabled" it is put up for discussion whereas americans use the same phrase to mean that it is taken down from discussion. Similarly a "Moot Point" to a brit is one which is worthy of and should be discussed but to an american a "Moot Point" is one which does not warrant further discussion.
    If I "lay something on the table" it would be for discussion, but a "motion is tabled" I have only ever known as the american way. According to a few articles online, the english meaning of "moot point" is archaic, in fact again the american way is all I've know.



    Quote Originally Posted by tuscan View Post
    So will this thread go down a bomb (british english for do really well) or will it bomb (american english for do really badly)?
    I've actually never heard the english way before! Only the american for me!

    In my opinion, I find discussions between a non-native english speaker more interesting, trying to describe common items and turns of phrases can be very fun!

  3. #3

    Default

    Probably due to the increase in the number of Murican TV shows "Tabling motions" is probably just parliamentary language for items which are put on the agenda, so unless you follow politics closely there is every chance that you would not have come across the phrase.

  4. #4
    alu

    Default

    well i can see your point on this site for example:
    america/uk

    pacifier/dummy
    diaper/nappy

    i've got acustom to using american words when speaking to americans and vice versa

    also heres some others

    america/uk
    football/rugby
    soccer/football

  5. #5

    Default

    I think American English is spoken far more widely over here these days anyway, especially by the younger people who were exposed to far more of the american culture than "Old Gits" like me were during their formative years.

  6. #6

  7. #7

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by alu View Post
    well i can see your point on this site for example:
    america/uk

    pacifier/dummy
    diaper/nappy

    i've got acustom to using american words when speaking to americans and vice versa

    also heres some others

    america/uk
    football/rugby
    soccer/football
    Wait... if you call football rugby, what do you call rugby?

    Rugby and football are two completely different sports... ._.

  8. #8

    Default

    I think "copping off" would be equivalent to making out and necking would be the same as snogging

  9. #9

    Default

    And then there are those who get to laugh at both. In Canada we use a dialect that is very similar to American english but spell with mostly British spellings. We also have a ton of colloquialisms and a few borrowed words especially from french. I know that Aussie's and Kiwi's have their dialects as well. One that I can think of right away is;

    Canada/US

    tuque/knit cap

    I don't even know what the Brits call one.

  10. #10

    Default

    Beanie, I think.
    Sent from my OMNIA7 using Board Express

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