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Tuesday, 23 February 2010
American v. British English
This subject provides a rich vein of humour/humor and interest. There are hundreds of words that are totally different depending on whch side of the Atlantic you live and a lot of words that have different meanings.
As Winston Churchill said, referring to the USA and the UK: "We are one nation divided by a common language". I recognise/recognize that Canandian, Australian and Indian English all have their own identities.
When I chose this topic in my former blog (click here) it was one of the more popular posts so this is really 'part two'.
In case any reader is unaware here are some examples:
USA word/s UK word/s
Two weeks Fortnight
Liquor store Off licence
Desk clerk Receptionist
Public school State school
French fries Chips
Realtor Estate Agent
Dull (of a blade) Blunt
This list could be hundreds of words long and we haven't even scratched the surface.
Some expressions have completely different meanings in the other country.
In the UK "My word, you do look queer" although rather old-fashioned means that you look ill.
A friend went to the USA and told a co-worker who was looking sad to "keep your pecker up".
In England this means 'to remain cheerful'. Apparently it means something else in the States!
All of the above doesn't even cover the grammatical differences there are. If you have any good examples of English variations in any country please let me know - it's an endlessly fascinating topic.