Our Ever-Increasing Vocabulary

Before we left for England, many of my friends from South Alabama told me that I would now have to learn to speak English.  Well, part of learning any language is learning the vocabulary.  Here are some of the ways my vocabulary is increasing:

Savoury–noun–something yummy.  For example, Meg was invited to a Halloween Party at the Community Centre.  Everyone was asked to bring an item for the food pantry and something savoury to share.
Biscuit–noun–no, this is not what your grandmama made and then you covered it with sausage gravy.  A biscuit it simply a cookie.
Toilet–noun–some of my English friends laugh at the way Americans try to find euphemism for this necessity–which is another euphemism, by the way.  We have many of them: bathroom, washroom, lavatory, powder room, little girl’s room. I am sure you can think of more.
In England, it is perfectly acceptable to say Toilet.  However, I do find they have their synonyms too.  For example: Loo “I’m going to pop in the loo.” and Water Closet, or WC.
Chips–noun–this is not a bag of Ruffles (see below).  Americans know these as French Fries.
Crisps–noun–this is what Americans know as chips (see above).
Footpath–noun–that paved or concrete area that runs alongside the road.  Maybe you’ve heard it called a sidewalk in the US?
Subway–noun– When we first arrived in London we decided to take a quick look around.  We were looking for the Tube to take us back to our hotel.  We saw a sign that said “Subway.”  So we headed that way.  As we walked down the stairs, through the tunnel and back up the stairs, we found ourselves simply on the other side of the street.  We learned that a subway is an underground street crossing.  The train that goes underground is, well, the Underground.
Cooker–noun–Don’t confuse this with the person who does the cooking.  This is what Americans would call the Stove/Oven. Makes sense to me.
What words have you discovered when you learned American/British English?
This way to the WC.
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3 responses to “Our Ever-Increasing Vocabulary

  1. I’m sure you have negotiated a “round-about”, since you’ve been there, or you’ve learned which end of a car is the “boot” and which is the “bonnet”.

  2. Lorry, verge (shoulder of the road), central reservation (median of the expressway which they call the motorway), crikey (British dadgum). squash (an orange drink like Tang), solicitor (attorney), indicate (activate your turn signal). conTROVersy (CONtroversy), manDAtory (MANdatory), aluMInium (what they make their drink cans from WHAT FUN!

  3. Oh dear, you think you only need to learn English. This is the North East of England, the language you really need to learn to impress the locals is Geordie.

    Toilet = Netty. “just gannin to the netty”

    When a child falls and get covered in mud, you may hear them described as “arl clarty” or the plaintive cry of a parent “stop playing in the clarts”

    To impress your friends in a pub declare “Broons arl roond” This involves you buying Newcastle Brown Ale for everyone within earshot, so be careful, it could result in a large bill.

    Claggy. The stickiness you may feel when drinks have been spilt on a table that remains unwiped. “Ow, mate. This table’s arl claggy”

    Marra. Friend. Not to be confused with marrow.

    Haway. Come on.

    Hadaway. I really don’t believe what you just said. Less polite circles may use “Hadaway & shite” to emphasise their disbelief.

    Getaway. Similar to hadaway, usually used in the context of “Eeeeeeeee Getaway” to express incredularity.

    Why aye man! Positive agreement or YES.

    What fettle the day? Good morning / afternoon / evening. Can be substituted for how’s your day going / been.

    If you have 11 mins to spare, I think you may find this http://youtu.be/4y-rE80E5NY entertaining.

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