Tidbits on British Life #1

I feel like I have been doing a pretty good job at documenting our travels and some aspects on living in the United Kingdom. But every so often I think, 'gosh, I haven't even mentioned how different that is over here'! So, I am going to start a little "tidbit" section so I can remember to post about little differences that you will FOR SURE notice are different than living in the US.

English vs English
I may written about this before, but it still is interesting to me how American English and British English can be so different. I imagined it would be just like Downton Abbey and I would understand everything perfectly (even though there were instances where I had no clue what Lady Grantham was talking about). But here in England, the British English can take on totally different meaning. And couple that with different accents and you can get confused real quick!

Here are a few of the differences from everyday language that we have had to learn:
(American word = British word)

Mail=Post
Trash=Rubbish
Cookie=Biscuit
Elevator=Lift
Sunroom=Conservatory
Zip Code=Post Code
GPS=Sat Nav
Parking Lot=Car Park
Bathroom=Loo
Hood=Bonnet
Trunk=Boot
Highway=Motorway
Gasoline=Petrol
Oven=Hob
Stove=Cooker
Styrofoam=Polystyrene
Cart=Trolley SO confusing at a Golf Course (carts, buggies, trollies???)
Cell phone=Mobile
Backyard=Garden
Truck=Lorry
Line=Queue
Apartment=Flat
French fries=chips
Chips=Crisps
First floor=Second Floor
TV=Telly
Rainboots=Wellies


I seriously feel like I could keep going on with this list, but I won't bore you today. But, as you can see, things can be a little confusing! We have fun with some of our British friends and trade accents for the night. To hear an American accent from a Brit is sometimes disturbing! Do we really sound that terrible??

At first, I felt like I should try and adopt some of the differences but it seems silly sometimes. Trying to pretend that I say words differently than the way I have spoken them all of my life is silly. We are American, we are different, and that's what makes this experience so interesting!

-Jamie


16 comments

  1. You need to go back and watch at least the first Harry Potter!! I think I always just glossed over what they were saying because I couldn't understand the accent (and I knew the books well so it didn't matter much), but I watched it after being here a few months and I was like "ooooooh I get it now!!!" So funny!

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    1. I know right!! I rented the first 3 after I went to the Harry Potter studios and I felt the same way! Too funny!!

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  2. I did a post on this ages ago as well! I use "British" words sometimes just to cut down on confusion/save time! If I told my niece that we were going change her diaper she wouldn't cooperate at all, but saw "nappy" and we're golden! x

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    1. Nice move with your niece!! Yeah, I do the same..using the "British" words or even just the pronunciations. Like with our movers, I said their version of garage...I sounded soooo dumb. But my favorites to fake are the "ry" endings like military and ordinary. And i LOVE litrally :)

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  3. When I studied abroad in London during college, my friend cut her finger really badly while we were browsing in a bookstore (who does that?!?!). We went up to the cashier to see if she had a first aid kit, and the cashier kept asking my friend, "Do you need a plaster?" and we (as clueless non-British English-speaking college kids) couldn't figure out why the woman was trying to give us plaster instead of a Band-aid. Oh, you live and learn! :)

    Just found your blog, and I love it! One of my dreams is to live in the UK--so I'll have to live vicariously through your blog until I can figure out how to make that happen!

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    1. Welcome and thanks :) Your story is hilarious!! I can only imagine! When I first got here, I had trouble asking about finding the bathroom. The first time I asked where the bathroom was in a pub the guy looked at me like I was crazy! I've learned...its the loo or the toilet but I slip up every now and then :)

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  4. Haha, this cracked me up! I am Australian, and even then there are some serious lost in translation moments. I remember someone asking me what I was going to wear out once and I said 'oh, just pants' - they looked at me, horrified, as over here pants = underwear and trousers = pants. Ugh, you live and learn!

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    1. Yes Elle! I have done the same thing! I forgot that one on my list :)

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  5. When I was living in Australia my boss asked me to get some biscuits for the office, when I asked her if I should buy butter as wells she looked at me like I was crazy. I then learned that biscuits meant cookies, funny how different English is in different countries.

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    1. Oh I would have done the same thing! But now I find myself using the British words more often than not! I love my little tins of biscuits ;)

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  6. I think we had the same idea this week Jamie! Just wrote about this topic and an embarrassing little story about when I told a board room full of people that my 'pants were on fire'. Lovely...

    Life+1
    New Post: Favorite Eateries in England

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    1. I just took a look at it.. how funny! I definitely choose my words more carefully now :)

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  7. Absolutely loved this post because I just wrote about all of the Scottish lingo I had to learn while living abroad! :)

    Thanks for linking up with us!

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  8. Thanks Rachel! Or should I say cheers :)

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  9. I just came across this blog. I teach at an international school in Prague. My first year here, right after I had arrived, one of my second graders came to me and asked for a rubber. It took me a bit to realize she was asking for an eraser.

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    1. I am laughing at this scene! Oh I can just imagine my face if a second grader asked me that! Too funny!! I'm so glad you found the blog :)

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