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Forum > Miscellaneous > American English v. British English ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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American English v. British English
I had to learn an entirely new language!
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UNITED KINGDOM
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Date: 11/28/13 1:44 PM

When I joined here back in the Summer, I rapidly had to learn an entirely new language!

For instances: (USA on the left, UK on the right)

Serger. Never heard of it. UK = Overlocker
Notions = Haberdashery
Basting = Tacking
Vest = Waistcoat (in UK, vests are thin underwear)
Pants = Trousers (in UK, pants are underwear.....for men...)
Cuffs = Turnups on trousers, those USA pants
Snaps = Poppers
Steam A Seam = Iron-on hemming tape

I'm not complaining, I think it's funny. I now use them all the time here in UK, as in 'See these snaps on my vest, I got them in notions'. (Whoever I'm talking to does not understand, so I have to backtranslate.)

I'm now a sucker for notions, which is true, and translates in UK into I'm now an enthusiast for haberdashery departments.
michellep74
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Date: 11/28/13 2:34 PM

The word "fanny" has a different meaning in the US than it does in the UK.

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--Michelle

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Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 11/28/13 2:39 PM

Thank you for sharing those!! I find this very interesting myself! My curiosity is now piqued; I'm sure there are more.
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In reply to michellep74

Date: 11/28/13 2:56 PM

Quote: michellep74
The word "fanny" has a different meaning in the US than it does in the UK.

It sure as heckfire does! er....... yes you are correct, it most certainly does.

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Date: 11/28/13 3:06 PM

Quote: ShantiSeamstressing
Thank you for sharing those!! I find this very interesting myself! My curiosity is now piqued; I'm sure there are more.

There are many more, I was trying to confine myself to sewing words.

I used to work with a lot of Americans ( and loved it ). My American boss once said to me 'Do you have a meer in your purse?'

Embarrassed, I said that I didn't understand.

Behind him, his British second in command translated: 'Do you have a mirror in your handbag?'

Light dawned. Oh! Do I have a looking glass in my reticule?

You see, he said Purse. In UK a purse is the container inside your handbag (reticule) into which you put coins. No! in in USA that's a wallet. In UK a wallet is a similar thing into which you put money in notes/paper money. In USA that's a pocketbook. In UK a pocketbook is a little note pad.........

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Date: 11/28/13 3:21 PM

My high school band went to London to compete in a competition. Imagine the surprise and hilarity among American teenagers when the hotel manager announced, "Tomorrow morning someone will come around at 7:00 to knock you all up."

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I've quit fighting my inner demons. We're on the same side now.

It's just fabric; we can out-think it.

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Date: 11/28/13 3:54 PM

Or asked if any of the kids had a rubber?

Just in case he needed to erase something.

------
I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

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Date: 11/28/13 4:20 PM

Lets not forget the ever confusing use of jumper in the US for a pinafore. In UK/Aus (and maybe Canadian) a jumper = US sweater. And skivvy - roll neck long sleeve t-shirt v underwear.

------
Tracy, Canberra

Janome 7700QCP, Janome 4618QC, Husky S25 overlock/coverstitch

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Date: 11/28/13 4:42 PM

I had a canadian house mate who said she couldnt understand the fanny pack snickers and looks when ever she uttered the phrase in the UK. I explained that fanny was slang for something quite different in British English.

Mind you, I had to get used to a few canadian phrases. My favourite is "fill your boots". Another one I learned when I was in Norway is "I am cake" (means I'm shattered). That really puzzled me at the time!

I also love how local government speak differs from what the public use. Just to explain, I work for my local council. Here are a few:

pavement (or as you say in America, sidewalk) = footway
footpath = PROW (public right of way) or trail
social services = social care centre of expertise
local care agencies list = domiciliary care list
starting school = first admissions

I ended up translating regularly, or just skipping with the above altogether and using language the person I am speaking to actually understands.

-- Edited on 11/28/13 5:39 PM --
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Date: 11/28/13 5:41 PM

Or British drivers storing a "rug" (blanket) in their car.

Claudia
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