Oh My Word! (Well, not anymore)

The other day I was talking to my family on Skype and I encountered a horrifying moment….I mean, more horrifying than having to speak to my family.

Am I right?  Huh?  Anyone?

Nope….not even a little bit

Ahem….moving on….

So anyway, we were chatting away and I had a moment where I nearly said ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’. This was the first time my English brain didn’t automatically filter out the American version of a word. Usually I can separate all my Americanisms when I speak to friends and family back home, but this was the first time I slipped.

My heart sank.

Two years ago when I was about to move to the US, a lot of my friends mocked me, saying I would have an American accent within a year.

WRONG!

Although I did admit that I would no doubt take on American versions of words because, well, I wanted to be understood.

Use English words; get this look

This got me thinking about all the words and phrases I have actively adopted to be better understood in this land of burgers, guns, and self righteous entitlement. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that I’ve started using to blend in seamlessly with my surroundings.

Let’s start with the inspiration for this post:

Parking Lot – This has replaced Car Park and, frankly, I don’t care.  Both work.

Trunk, Hood and Fenders – These have replaced Boot, Bonnet and Wings respectively. To be honest, I miss the English versions of these words but if I were to use them here, most people would think I am talking about some weirdly dressed bird (aviary, not ovary)

Gas – This has replaced Petrol.  I stubbornly resisted this one for ages; plumping instead to use the word ‘fuel’ as some sort of workaround.  This was initially because Petrol is liquid and Gas is, well, gas…and that’s just stupid.  Then it occurred to me that, in the same way that Petrol is short for Petroleum, Gas is actually short for Gasoline and I’m actually stupid (short for Stupid Twat). However, ‘Gas’ is also used to describe farting which is incredibly confusing when someone announces they have gas.  That never happened with ‘Petrol’.  Not once.

Just saying.

Anyway, moving away from cars; let’s move to clothing…

Pants – This has replaced Trousers and is still as funny to me today as it was the first time I heard it being used on TV when I was a child.  I realise it’s short for ‘Pantaloons’, but that doesn’t make it any less funny, because the word ‘Pantaloons’ is simply farcical!

Pants has always been, and will always be, underwear…or English slang for ‘worthless’, ‘crap’ or just ‘a little bit wank’.

Mind you, if I say Trousers I AM understood in America, but then I’m mocked for being all hoity toity like I’m drinking tea and eating crumpets.  After all, isn’t that what all us Brits do all the time apparently? (rolls eyes)

Sneakers – This has replaced Trainers.  I hate this adjustment because not once, EVER, have I sneaked[1] anywhere in my sneakers…but I have trained in my trainers.  Still, I need to be understood, so sneakers it is.

He he he….’Pants’.  It still gets me.

Sweater – This has replaced Jumper.  To be fair, this isn’t a big deal.  Like a reverse example I gave for sneakers, I have sweated in a sweater but I’ve never jumped in a jumper…unless it has a high nylon content and I’ve touched something metal.

There are other clothing differences like ‘Suspenders’ which is the US word for the braces that hold up your ‘pants’ (snigger), whereas that word exclusively refers to ‘stockings and suspender belt’ in the UK and braces are those things used to straighten your teeth, but I haven’t adopted any of that shit because…seriously, who’s having conversations about suspenders, or braces, or pants.

He he, ‘Pants’.

Aaaaaaaanyway, here are some other words and phrases in no particular category…

Z – This has replaced Z.  Yes, I’m talking about the American way of pronouncing it as ‘Zee’ instead of ‘Zed’.  I do that now.  Deal with it.

At least now the alphabet song rhymes at the end.

Soda – This has replaced Soft Drink.  To be honest, I love this one!  If I were to say ‘soft drink’ I would be understood but I just love using the word ‘soda’.  That said, I won’t use it around my English friends as I don’t want to be accused of becoming a yank!

Limeys eh? Pff!

Elevator – This has replaced Lift…and my brain processes this one slightly different to the others.  This one I have to consciously think about because my brain still desperately wants to use the word ‘lift’.  In fact, I thanked someone for “holding the lift” for me yesterday. They smiled, but they also gave me that look.

Erm…..what?

Napkin – This has replaced Serviette.  The first time I ever visited America, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant and I noticed my place at the table didn’t have a serviette, so I asked the waitress (sorry, ‘server’) for one. She looked puzzled for a moment and said “Yes, that’s me”. It was my turn to look at her puzzled before asking her again, “Have you got a serviette?”.

There was another pause.

“That’s me”, she repeated.

Er, what?

So I picked up my girlfriend’s serviette and held it up. “A serviette, do you have another one of these?” (shaking it passive aggressively in her face)

“Oh!”, she said, “You mean a napkin!  I thought you said ‘Have you got our server yet!'”

I’m pretty sure that sentence is grammatically incorrect, but nevertheless…now I use the word ‘napkin’.  It’s a little change that means I get to wipe my mouth when I get food everywhere.

I’m a messy eater.

Nom nom nom!

Vacation – This has replaced Holiday.  I knew this change was coming; it was inevitable. In America, the word ‘holiday’ refers to a national holiday like the 4th of July (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Thanksgiving (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Martin Luther King day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!) and Labor day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!).

If you’re going away for a trip, then you need to use the word ‘vacation’ otherwise you simply aren’t understood….no matter how much context there is!

“My wife and I are going on holiday to Hawaii”

Whaaaa…?

Cellphone or Cell – This has replaced Mobile Phone, or Mobile. Now, this one is more of an issue with phonetics rather than not being understood. You see, Americans DO use the term ‘Mobile Phone’, but they pronounce ‘Mobile’ like it rhymes with ‘Noble’, and I REFUSE to pronounce it in the stupid way they say it.

Yes, I said it’s stupid. That’s because I have friends here who argue this with me and I like to get the final say.

Ha!

So now I say Cell, or Cellphone.

Get it?

Line – This has replaced Queue. When you’re waiting for your call to be answered by a call centre (center) and “your call is important to us”, you’re in a queue. When your printer has a lot of print jobs to process, it’s in a queue. When you’re stood at the post office behind everyone else, you’re in a line.

Wait, what?

I’ve tried addressing this with my American chums and, apparently, it’s because you are literally in a line. I suppose that makes sense as you’re also in a line when you’re dancing the conga at someone’s wedding. But on that occasion you’re not waiting to be served; you’re awkwardly holding the waist of some stranger in front of you as you shuffle along, kicking out your legs and clocking a child or two in the face.

Laundry – This has replaced Washing.  Now THIS is something I can get behind. I love using the word laundry as it specifically describes the act of washing one’s clothes

He he, ‘Pants’.

It makes no sense that we call it ‘washing’ in the UK, especially when it’s done at a Laundrette (or Laundromat in the US).  A clue is in the name LAUNDRette.

Groceries or Grocery Store – This has replaced Food Shop and Supermarket respectively.  Like ‘Laundry’, I love this change in my verbiage.  I’ve always disliked the fact that when someone in the UK says, “I’m going shopping”, it’s not clear if they’re buying food or a gimp swing.

This is usually remedied by the phrase, “I’m going to do a shop” which is exclusively supermarkety.

Now, moving away from English verbiage that has been replaced with their American counterparts, and onto phrases that have I have adopted and use regularly, much to my shame.

A.F. – This is an acronym (because America LOVES acronyms!) that literally means ‘As Fuck’.  For example, “It is hot A.F. today”, or, as I’ve heard some people say but I can’t bring myself to say it yet but i’m sure I will at some point in the future, “Bomb A.F.”.

This loosely translates to “My word, that was amazing”.

Hot Minute – This means “In a long time” or, as we Brits like to say, “In donkeys’ years”. Some drop the word hot and say “Yo dawg, I haven’t seen you in a minute”, but not me.  If the minute isn’t hot, it’s not worth mentioning…apparently.

Hot Mess – it’s the same as ‘Mess’, but hotter and used to describe someone rather than somewhere.  Allow me to elaborate….

If your bedroom is untidy, it’s not a hot mess…it’s just a mess.  However, if you’re drunk with vomit down your shirt, your trousers (he he, pants) around your ankles, pissing on your shoes whilst singing abusive songs at the clergy, you’re a hot mess.  In fact, you’re the hottest of messes….and you really shouldn’t be in church right now.

All Day, ErrDay – This literally translates to “All Day, Every Day‘, but is a little more ghetto and a lot fucking lazier.  That said, ever since Carl the sausage said it in Sausage Party, I’ve been loving this phrase and I use it….

….you guessed it….

….sometimes.

[1] Or ‘snuck’ as the Americans like to say.  It’s funny how ‘leaked’ isn’t ‘luck’, ‘peaked’ isn’t ‘puck’ and ‘freaked’ isn’t ‘fruck’….but hey, who am I to judge?

Oh, wait….

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Fuck the what? 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something, so I thought I’d write a nice, long observation on a hilarious life event. 

Nah. 

Instead here’s a photo of something that literally stopped me in my tracks. 

 Seriously? 

Apparently cyclists can only read words in the order they are presented. 

Finest its at idiocy is this. 

A queer insult.

Sometimes the difference in culture between the UK and the USA rears its ugly, and usually amusing, head. Today was one of those times.

At work we have some internal instant messaging software which is great for employees to communicate when they:

A) Can’t call.

B) Won’t call.

C) Have the social skills of a gibbon with its scrotum in a jar of fire ants.

As my department is like a central hub for any questions or issues from our call centre, we get a lot of instant messages to help out with all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

Here is a conversation I literally just had:

Fran: Hi, I need some help

Me: Hey Fran, it’s Daniel, your favorite Brit 😉

Fran: Hey Daniel! How’s it going?

Me: Pretty good. Busy! So what’s up?

(For security reasons, this part of the conversation is omitted as it’s work related.  Needless to say, I fixed the problem like a boss!)

Me: Done!

Fran: Great! Thanks.

Me: No problem 😉

Fran: Have a great day!

Me: You have a great day too 🙂

Fran: Poof

Now, she meant to imply that she magically and dramatically vanished from the conversation in a puff of smoke, like a genie….or Batman.

To me she ended that conversation with ‘Faggot‘.

I laughed like a drain for at least a minute, solidly.

It was one of the funniest insults I’ve received since living in America, particularly because it was unintentional and from a person who wouldn’t even say boo to a goose (with or without their nuts in a jar of fire ants).

poof

This is also the word we use for an ‘Ottoman’. England is a weird place.

 

This book is a crock of shit.

As I’ve said countless times, there are words here in America that don’t mean the same things as they do back in England.

For example, the word ‘Fanny‘ means ‘Bum‘ here in America, whereas in England it means ‘Vagina‘.

Say “Fanny Pack” in front of ANY Brit and watch them grin, ear to ear. To me, a packed fanny is something completely different, and usually the result of a good night.

And going off that, the word ‘Bum‘ in America means a homeless person, whereas in England we use the word ‘Tramp‘, which means ‘Slut‘ in the U.S.

It all gets a bit confusing,

Anyway, I saw this in a supermarket yesterday:

dumpmealsbook

Isn’t this what we all do, eventually?

Once I’d stopped laughing and shaking enough to take this photo, I wondered if maybe the word ‘Dump‘ isn’t used as an alternative to ‘Poo‘, both as a verb and a noun.

Nope.

The word ‘Dump‘ means the same in America as it does in England, so I can only assume – considering the full title – that this is a book of recipes than can be ‘dumped’ into a slow cooker (crock pot) and left to cook…with ‘5 Ingredients or Less!’

Either that, or it’s a book of recipes that make you shit yourself.

It’s a crap shoot.

10 things I’ve learned about Americans that I didn’t know before.

I love top ten lists.

I think I’ve read every single one of them online, from the top ten destinations in the world or the top ten things to do in video-games to the top ten ways to kill and dispose of a body.

Pff, like I didn’t already know that.

And the other day I realised I haven’t ever composed my own.  It wasn’t due to an oversight; I simply didn’t have any topic that warranted a top ten list.  I suppose I could’ve done the top ten nicest arses in the gym…but that is a) usually my wife’s, or b) pointed out to me by my wife which means it’s technically her top ten and not mine.

So I thought long and hard (smirk) about it and I discovered I did have something that warranted a top ten list.  This is something that encapsulates a lot of ideas I’ve had recently and pulls them together into one post.

You see, before I moved to the USA, I knew there were certain eccentricities, weird behaviours and foibles the Americans had, like the inability to keep quiet, the lack of portion control or the fact they are easily offended by every single thing ever.

Seriously, you call someone a cunt once…..

But there have been a whole shit-ton of things I didn’t know about until I was actually amongst them. And by ‘shit-ton’, I mean ten.

So here are ten things I’ve learned about Americans that I was blissfully unaware of before I lived here.

 

1 – They’re crackers about soup

I’m being literal here, they can’t comprehend that soup can be eaten without first shoving in fistfuls of crumbled up crackers.  In the UK we have a famous brand of crackers called Jacobs and we put all sorts of things on them like cheese, hams (deli meats), spreads and various types of pâté, but I’ve never ever heard of anyone anywhere…ever…crumbling them up and putting them in their minestrone.

Now I think about it, I haven’t seen pâté since I’ve been here.  Probably because there’s no sugar or caffeine in it.

crackers

They’re crackers about crackers…

Anyway, I’ve asked a few Americans why they put crackers in their soup and I get the same blank look and awkward shrug I always get when I ask them why they do what they do.

They simply have no idea.

It’s just what they do apparently.  Some say it’s due to the crunch, but that has to be utter bollocks because the crunch dissolves in piping hot soup in less time than it takes for a redneck to finger his sister.

Note – I just asked a work colleague (and fellow blogger) if that last sentence could be considered more offensive than funny.

He asked me “Do you find it funny?”

I do.

He then asked, “Is it more funny to you than offensive?

It is.

“Then post it”.

I did.

He then followed up with “Did you know that ‘incest’ is the most searched word on PornHub?”

I didn’t.

So sister-fingering stays.

Worryingly, I wouldn’t have even questioned this a year ago.  I would have just written what I found funny and hoped you lovely readers out there would just ‘get it’ (the humour, not the finger).

My god, am I becoming more American?  Am I worried you’re going to be offended?  Am I going to appear on this list?

Nah.

 

2 – They don’t do rounds in a bar

I realise I’ve already covered this one in a previous post, but it really did catch me by surprise.  Interestingly, one of my friends who reads my blog has actually started to go into rounds with me when we go out drinking (shout out to A.G!).

busy-bar

I still find it bizarre that everyone buys their own drink and then complains that it takes forever to get served.

 

3 – Energy drinks!

This is another one I’ve already bleated on about, but seriously…what is going on here America?  You guys drink more of this shit in a day than is available anywhere else in the world over the course of an entire year!  It’s got to the point now where fridges in gas stations across the land are awash with hundreds of different brands, flavours, sizes and strengths.  It seems to be the answer to everything here.

Need a pick-me-up? Have a Red Bull.

Hungover?  Have a Monster.

Heart not beating fast enough?  Down a Rockstar (but not in a groupie kind of way).

11806581

Some people imbibe these Taurine infused, over caffeinated silos of flavoured sugar water with the regularity and ferocity of chain smoking vapers, but more twitchy.

 

4 – TMA (Too Many Acronyms)

I already knew about things like the FBI, the CIA, the DMV or the KKK…and there are the obvious ones like FYI, WTF, OMG, ETC…

But I had no idea how much Americans love to acronym everyday shit….every day.

E.g. (see what I did there?)

TMI (Too Much Information – something I was hearing a LOT. I wonder why.)

BRB (Be Right Back – although why people don’t just say “Be Right Back”; it takes the same amount of time to say….and in the time it took to explain that to me, they could’ve been right back)

CPA (Certified Public Accountant – How the fuck (or HTF) was I supposed to know that?)

FSA (Flexible Savings Account, and NOT the Financial Services Authority!)

FMLA (The Family and Medical Leave Act – It’s a thing out here related to being off sick from work, or something.  Personally I thought it was something to do with a vagina)

TFTI (Thanks For The Invite – This is really a thing.  I’ve heard it used in conversations.  I tend to reply with ‘NP’ which doesn’t go down too well)

PSA (Public Service Announcement. It’s not a service if I don’t know what it means)

CPS (Child Protection Services – something children actually use to threaten parents with; those precious little fucking snowflakes)

OAB (Over Active Bladder, and not Old Aged Bastard as I first thought….although they are closely linked)

HOA (Home Owner’s Association – A governing body that tells you what you can or can’t do with your home, maintains the upkeep of the lawns and parks that you never visit and charges you a fee for that.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?)

HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle – This is a lane on the Freeway (motorway) for cars with more than one person. That’s right, in America, TWO passengers is considered high occupancy)

SOP (Standard Operating Procedures – and NOT something you use in the shower)

EO (Early Out – This is when you leave early from work…because simply saying you’re leaving early is too much, apparently)

QBR (Quarterly Business Report – It makes sense now that I’ve written it, but try being in a conversation when it’s being used every other word and you can’t understand why they keep talking about a UK football club).

It’s a little OTT, TBH.

FFS.

picard-acronym

 

5 – Their jokes are just awful.

Americans can’t tell jokes.  I mean, they can TELL a joke, but the jokes aren’t funny.  Back home we have things called Christmas Crackers which two people pull apart and they make a loud ‘snap’ noise (the crackers, not the people).

cracker-pits

These dogs are about to snap (groan)

Inside these noisy little bastards is a crap little toy, a flimsy tissue paper crown and a joke; a tame, vanilla joke intended to not cause offence in any way.  It’s simple humour to appeal to adults and kids alike.

That’s the sort of jokes I get told here.  Things like, “Where do you take a sick bee?  To a waspital”. Seriously, it’s like that.

I once tested the water with a Jimmy Carr classic; “What do you get if you put a baby in a blender?  An erection.”

The water was cold.  Very, very cold.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been told some genuinely funny jokes in the US, and my new and awesome American friends are some of the funniest people I know, but overall I’ve noticed an innocence in the joke telling here.

This from a country that brought us Family Guy.

Weird.

 

6 – They subscribe to foreign stereotypes.

I knew America had a warped view or the world – if Epcot is anything to go by – but they REALLY believe the stereotypes of the world.

For example, they genuinely believe that the English (or ‘British’ as they call us, which I’ve given up trying to explain) drink high tea every day from small porcelain cups and saucers with our pinkies firmly sticking out.  They also believe that we accompany this tea with either scones or crumpets.

They also find it hard to believe that English muffins aren’t English, French toast isn’t French, and German chocolate cake isn’t German. The irony here is the fact they call Belgian waffles, ‘waffles’….and those genuinely ARE Belgian.

stereotyped-world

When you tell them this, they look at you with the tilted head of a puppy and simply don’t believe you.

Minds, blown.

 

7 – They are the centre of the world, literally.

I was shown this.

usa-centre-map

America, the centre of the world

And apparently, so are children.

Yes, that’s right, schools are apparently teaching this version of the map of the world.  I asked my wife about this and her face dropped before then bursting into laughter saying it was true and she had forgotten that schools actually teach this!

As much as I try and keep my blog light and funny, it does sadden me that so many people I’ve met here are truly clueless about anything outside the US borders.  One woman my wife worked with thought Europe was a country and didn’t know Britain was an island.  I’ve even spoken to people who didn’t know there was a difference between Austria and Australia.

I’m not going to say anymore about this because I’m sure this will be the basis of a future post.

 

8 – Can’t recycle.

I know there is a huge drive to recycle in America nowadays – and so many people are doing it – but that’s not what I’ve experienced. It warms my heart that my employer has recycling bins everywhere, on every floor, and I love opening those bins up and seeing paper, soda cans and…food?  Yes, that’s right, America seems to believe that food is recyclable.

Technically it is, but that’s called ‘poo’.

It’s not only food I’ve seen; there’s been tissues, plastic wrapping, broken mugs and body parts.

Oh, wait, no…never mind.  I haven’t caught anyone putting the wrong things into the recycling bins so that’s not happened yet.  Give it time.

recycle-rage

And it doesn’t stop with recycling.  The USA is unbelievably wasteful.  There are so many products that have a one time use and then are thrown away (in the wrong bin).  People will use a paper/plastic plate to spread cream cheese on their bagel (because, apparently, if it isn’t cream cheese, smoked salmon or some shit called ‘schmear’, it doesn’t belong on a bagel) and then throw away the plate and knife. I’ve been asked to eat off paper plates at home because it ‘saves on washing up’, but it doesn’t save the world (which, as we all know, spans from Maine to California)

The other day I was waiting at a red light behind a car and the driver opened her door and threw out all her rubbish onto the road.  And then, without a care in the world, closed the door and didn’t look back.  If she had, she would’ve seen me giving her the finger…and not in a redneck/sister kind of way.

 

9 – Entitlement

Again, I’ve already talked about how entitled people are here, but I had no idea to what extent.  Jesus, some people here believe the world owes them a favour.  I’ve encountered people like this in my life before, but not on the scale I have in America.

Here’s an example that caused this to make my top ten list….

I heard a tale of a customer who had been sent a gift by a company for being a great customer.  They sent her a beautiful, hand carved, solid wood shoe rack.  The customer had mentioned in passing that she really wanted one, so they decided to treat her.

She received the gift and then, instead of being grateful, called in to complain it didn’t fit in the part of the room she wanted it to and was forced (yes, ‘forced’) to donate it.  She then demanded discounts on all future purchases for the stress and grief caused by receiving a gift she couldn’t use.

In England we would keep the shoe rack, even if it was an inconvenience.

No, really, it’s fine.  Honestly, it’s fine.  No, it’s lovely, I promise.  It’s fine.  I don’t want to be a bother.  Seriously, it’s fine.  Thank you. Sorry. Sorry. Thank you.  I’m sorry.

hold-door

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to do this…

 

10 – Subtitles for accents!

If you watch any TV show or documentary in America where they’re talking to someone with an accent…there are subtitles.  Now, for clarity, I’m not talking about people speaking a different language than English.  No, these people are actually speaking English but with an accent.

I’m not talking about complicated accents like Glaswegian (because no-one understands those guys, not even the Scottish), but instead Italian, French, Spanish, German, Alabama etc…

I couldn’t believe it.

Is America so unable to understand an accent that’s not home grown?  Mind you, I’ve been misunderstood more times than a redneck fingers his…..oh, wait, I’ve done that joke.

I said, I-‘V-E   B-E-E-N  M-I-S-U-N-D-E-R-S-T-O-O-D  M-O-R-E  T-I-M-E-S  T-H-A-N  A  R-E-D-N…oh, never mind.

bowtie-anger

The power of AI

Today’s post isn’t about a particular incident or experience that has happened to me recently.  Instead I want to comment on something that causes my eye to twitch.

twitchy eye

In order to do this, I need to highlight the power of the letter ‘i’.  Let’s do a little test.

Below will be a variety of words which change with the addition of the letter ‘i’, in both the meaning and pronunciation.  I want to focus on the latter.

If you’re feeling participative, or not in an awkward place like the toilet, mid coitus or at a funeral, then say these following words out loud.

Mad – Maid

Pal – Pail

Brad – Braid

Pad – Paid

Lad – Laid

Crag – Craig

Now, if you’re English, the ‘i’ infused words will have changed; the ‘ai’ now rhyming with Pay, Say or Day.  This would’ve been consistent across all these words.

If you’re American, you pronounced the last one as ‘Creg’.

Yes, ‘Creg’.

I have never understood why this is the case.  Like the words ‘herb’, ‘basel’ and ‘pasta’, the name ‘Craig’ is one of the words that America has difficulty pronouncing correctly, despite not being related to Italian cooking.

Prior to moving to America, the name Craig hadn’t been one I’d encountered much in my life.  I knew one at school and, other than him, the only other Craig I know of is the singer Craig David.

That’s it.

But in the USA, the name Craig (Creg) comes up a lot, not because I’ve met a lot of Craigs, but due to a small known website called Craigslist (Cregslist).  This means I get to hear ‘Creg’ on a lot of occasions.

Lucky me.

This is exacerbated by the fact that a major street in Las Vegas is also called Craig.  I cross that bastard every day.

So, by this logic, the name Meg should actually be spelt ‘Maig’ but it isn’t.  Yet, the name Megan is pronounced ‘Maigan’.

Twaits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, I’m very aware that the word ‘Sad’ becomes ‘Said’….but let’s not talk about it, OK?

Are we speaking the same language?

OK, I’ve been in the USA for 7 weeks now and, as you can imagine, I’ve experienced quite a few differences between here and the UK.

I could talk at length about the lethal plug sockets that occasionally terrify you by sending out little sparks when you plug something into them, but I actually want to focus on something we all know is there, but I haven’t touched on it yet.

I’m talking about the differences in English and American-English.

usa uk language

This is causing me a little distress as I now work in an office where everyone spells the American way, or – as we English call it – the wrong way.  It’s exacerbated by the fact that every computer I use keeps telling me my spelling is wrong.  In fact, as I type this on my US bought laptop, I have a few red squiggly lines under perfectly spelt words like….well….’spelt’!

But it doesn’t stop there.

I have to live with the fact that they insist on dropping the ‘u’ from many words like ‘colour’, ‘flavour’ and ‘neighbour’ and then have the audacity (or is it ‘adacity’ America? Hmm?  Is it?  IS IT?) to tell me that the English actually inserted these rogue letters unnecessarily.

Apparently the ENGLISH made these amendments to the ENGLISH language that means it isn’t actually proper ENGLISH.

I beg your fucking pardon, mate??

Sorry, sorry, I got all English there!

Sorry.

I suppose I can’t be too dismissive of their version of our beloved language.  It’s a valid language after all, and it’s not like they’ve dropped the letter ‘o’ or anything.

American counts.

Another thing that’s causing me issues is the way they’ve changed words that end in ‘ise’ so they now end in ‘ize’; words like ‘summarise’ now becomes ‘summarize’ and ‘apologise’ becomes ‘apologize’.  It annoys me further that my fucking (sorry, ‘fcking’) laptop is putting red squiggly lines under the English versions of these words as i’m typing this.

Speaking of my laptop, I’ve noticed that American keyboards switch the ‘@’ symbol and the quotemarks (“”).  That hasn’t caused me to fuck up emails at all.  Not once.

Also, I don’t have a ‘£ ‘sign on my keyboard anymore.  I have to hold down the ‘Alt’ key and type 0163; not at all annoying when emailing the UK about monetary matters.

Anyway, I’ve had the conversation about the whole ‘ise’ versus ‘ize’ with my colleagues at work and they insist it’s because the end of the word sounds like it should end with a ‘z’ and not an ‘s’.  They look all smug and pleased with themselves right up until I ask them to spell ‘rise’.

It’s fun watching them try to come up with an answer like a man trying to quickly explain to a vet why he has half a ferret sticking out of his arse.

Sorry, ‘ass’.

Also, if they use the letter ‘ize’ to emphasise (sorry, ’emphasize’) the sound at the end of the word, how come they haven’t changed the word ‘surprise’?

Then there’s the classic one I always hear from both the Yanks and the Brits, the contentious word that is ‘Aluminium’.

Now, this isn’t an idiotic pronunciation of the same word akin to the Americans’ butchering of the word ‘herb’ by removing the ‘h’ and pronouncing it ‘erb’; this is actually the removal of the letter ‘i’ in the word so it’s effectively a different word.  Let me put them one above each other so you can see the difference.

A L U M I N I U M

A L U M I N U M

This one I can deal with.  I’m OK with it.  It’s spelt differently and will therefore be pronounced differently.

I even accept that the word ‘theatre’ is spelt ‘theater’ here, although I recently found out that a building that puts on plays is still a ‘theatre’ and a place that shows movies on the big screen is a ‘theater’.

Actually, fuck it, I take it back; the whole ‘theatre/theater’ thing is a load of bollocks.

But going back to what I was saying; I can also accept that Courgettes are Zucchinis, Aubergines are Eggplants, Coriander is Cilantro and Swede is Rutabaga.

Yes, Rutabaga.  That’s a real word; no red squiggly lines or anything on that one.

I’m also fine with a bonnet being a hood, a boot being a trunk, a wing being a fender and chips being fries whilst crisps are chips.

Confused yet?

Biscuits are cookies, taps are faucets, trainers are sneakers and mobile phones are cell phones.

It’s a fucking minefield I can tell you.

What I can’t accept is Pasta being pronounced ‘Paster’ and Basil being pronounced ‘Bayzel’.  Basil is also a man’s name and you get it right when it’s a man’s name and not a ‘erb.

These are the exact same words we use in England, so get it right America.  How hard can it be?  You also spell ‘Parmesan’ correctly, but then pronounce it (almost) the Italian way with a ‘g’ in it; ‘Parmigian’.

Bonkers.

Also, it’s ‘Autumn’, not ‘Fall’.  Where did this change come from?  Did someone point at the falling leaves, grunt the word “Fall” and it stuck?

We don’t call Summer, ‘Suntime’ or Winter, ‘Cold ‘n’ Wet’, so stop it.

Now.

And don’t get me started on ‘fanny’ and ‘growler’.  In American a fanny is your bum, and a growler is a type of large beer bottle.

In England, both words mean ‘vagina’.

Visits to micro-breweries have been interesting!

growler

But after all is said and done, I can’t chastise (spelt with an ‘ise’; no squiggly line) the Americans for their language.  I knew most of this before I moved here.

Except ‘rutabaga’.  No-one expected ‘rutabaga’.

I had seen enough US TV shows and movies to have an understanding of the differences in English and American-English.  It’s actually the differences in the language and the bizarre quirks that makes it all so interesting.

Sooner or later I may need to bite the bullet and start using American-English in my blog.  I haven’t decided yet if i’m going to, so let me know if you think I should or shouldn’t.

I’ve even started calling the last letter in the alphabet ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed’ as we do in England.  This wasn’t through choice though, this was a necessity.  If you say ‘zed’ here, it’s either not going to be understood, or someone will think you’re referring to their redneck uncle who married his sister.

Which come as no surprize.

pants