Tag Archives: British English

Learning More British

3 Jul

I finished my posts for Egypt, and rather than jump immediately to another ridiculously fabulous locale, I thought we could talk a bit* more about talking.

Pimms and Pipers at QBP

Me with Pimm’s and Pipers at the Queen’s Birthday Party. Yum!

You may have read my earlier post on Learning British.  If not, you should.  I am in the continual process of trying to figure out what on earth my English friends are saying.  It is not so much the accent that is the problem (though a drunken brogue can be really tough to follow), it’s that the words just don’t make sense.  Here are some basic miscommunications that occur with school age children:

Food [English vs. British]
Cupcake = Cakes
Cookie = Biscuit
French fries = Chips
Chips = Crisps
Jello = Jelly
Jelly = Jam
Dessert = Pudding
Pudding = Custard

Clothes [English vs. British]
Undershirt = Vest
Vest = Gilet, Waistcoat (depends on type) or Body Warmer
Outfit = Costume or Kit (i.e. snow costume or p.e. kit)
Costume = Fancy Dress
Sweater = Jumper
Jumper = Pinafore

And some adult miscommunications:
Workplace [English vs. British]
Squabble = Niggle
Task = Remit
Reference (as for a job) = Referee
Referee (as in soccer) = Referee (as in football)

Saving the best for last [English vs. British]
Fanny = slang for Vagina
This is my absolute favorite discovery.  Understandably, they think “fanny packs” are hysterical.  Please, go right now, find a Brit and say “fanny”, in context of course. “My fanny looks big in these pants” “I slapped his little fanny.”

I should note that this inability to understand English is not a one way street.  Dylan’s British friend Joe recently said to Dylan, “Are you speaking American? Please don’t.  I can’t speak it.”  I also stand by my earlier remarks that even the words we share sound better in British, particularly the insults. Rather than saying “stupid” or “dumb”, Dylan says, “he is not very clever,” which sounds very clever indeed.

*Saying “a bit” is very British. You should be impressed by my fluency.

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