September 21, 2012
One great thing about living in another country, is that when you say something that sounds wrong, or isn’t pronounced right, you can just say “Well that’s how we say it in the US” and no one knows any different. 🙂

Bathroom vs Wash closet

Here in England, if you ask someone where the “bathroom” is, and you will probably get funny looks. Bathroom, to British people means “room with a bath in it.” I still refer to it as bathroom though, because to me “Wash closet” sounds like a strange little room, one that I would never go into. Of course, you could ask for the “Loo” or the “Toilet” but those sound strange as well. Since “toilet” here refers to the bathroom, not necessarily the actual toilet itself, be prepared for the problem of mental images when someone says they were “In the toilet” always picture someone literally in the toilet….perhaps putting their foot in there or something.

Sidewalks vs pavement

I still say sidewalk because well, pavement to me means “Any paved surface.” If someone asks “Did you ride your bike on the pavement?” They mean “did you bike on the sidewalk?” I say yes to that, because I ride my bike on both the road and the pavement. That way, when someone asks, I dont have to remember which is which.

Am I standing on the sidewalk or pavement?

Big words! Rendezvous, Crèche, Fête vs Normal Words

All of these big words only exist to annoy me. I don’t know what they mean, or why they exist. I’ve survived perfectly well for the past 24 years without ever having to use a single one of them. When you ask someone from England WHY those words exist, they just blame the French. Typical. Of course, that’s something the US has in common with England, is blaming the French for everything. We ascribe french fries and french toast to them, while the British credit their vocabulary, silly traditions, dips in the economy, and…. pretty much anything else they don’t want to take credit for.

Tea vs Tea

This one is confusing!
“Tea can mean literally tea, or it can mean ‘dinner’ depending on situation, to differentiate between if someone is referring to the drink or food, all you have to do…is simply read their mind. 😀 I always assume drink, and that’s usually a safe guess. Because your average British person must drink something like an average of 14.8 cups of tea throughout the day, but they usually only have one dinner. So, statistically speaking chances are it will be the drink they are referring to. To play it safe tho, say “yes please, no sugar” that way if it IS dinner they are referring to, they can give you even stranger look than they did when you asked earlier where the “bath-room” was.

Rows of tea in the shop

Herbs and ‘erbs

This one annoys me. As a kid, even up until very, very recently I had always said Herb instead of ‘erb. It made sense to me, and I had somehow learned it as “Herb” and it had been stuck in my mind as that ever since…only fairly recently when I had somehow managed to untrain my brain and say ‘erb; the correct American pronunciation. Once over here in England though, I soon realized that everyone said “Herb” “HEY” I said, “That’s not fair! How come you can say Herb and I cant!” Well, now I can, so now I have to retrain myself…all over again.

Biscuit vs. Cookies

One time I made biscuits, I asked David to try one to see what he thought. He took a bite, and made a funny face. “Well,” he said honestly “They aren’t really sweet at all”
“Well, NO they’re not supposed to be. I said, They ARE biscuits after all.”
“Oh…ok” said David.Later I remembered that “biscuit” means “cookie” here. No wonder David was confused why I made cookies without any sugar! Sugar free biscuits anyone? They go great with tea! Dinner and otherwise.

Cookies of biscuits? JD wants the ones with sugar!

Brilliant!

Everything here is brilliant. Everyone says brilliant many times during the course of a conversation. If you don’t know what to say, or if you didn’t understand something that was just said, just say “brilliant”

Doughnut

Someone who is NOT brilliant. “Everything was brilliant until that doughnut showed up”

Fortnight

The first time I heard someone say this, I thought that they were being silly and pretending to talk in Old English. But fortnight is really still used here, and apparently means “two weeks.
“Person: “Would you like to come over for tea in a fortnight?”
Me: “Ummmm, maybe? I’m not really sure…what that means, but sure”

Pence vs Penny

Sometimes I will mix up “pence and penny” I will say something like “How much pence is needed to buy this?” Which probably sounds like someone saying “How much pennies do I need to buy this?” Pence is the plural for penny here, not ‘cents’ there’s no cents here, no ‘sense here’ either…excuse the pun, I had to throw it in since we’re talking about England, where puns first originated. Of course, there are two pence coins here too, just to confuse things a bit.

A Brew

Mom will be pleased to hear, that when we were at someone’s house and they offered us a “brew” we promptly turned them down.
“Oh no” We thought… we didn’t want any…um…home brewed alcohol.
“What!” They said “You dont drink… coffee?”
“OH coffee, sure we will have some coffee!”
“Make a brew” here does not refer to home-brewing some sort of alcohol, it just means… coffee. When in England, never turn down a “brew”

2 thoughts on “Random is the same in any language

  1. RoSy says:

    Brilliant!
    I enjoyed this post – Both fun & educational 😉
    I must have some British blood in me. I do tea & I say Brilliant a lot! LOL

    1. Capn Manda says:

      Brilliant!

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