On speaking English...

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

I have had so many new visitors that are future expats that I thought it would be a good idea to offer some words of advise to those coming to live in the UK and learning to speak the language...
One thing to keep in mind - Add the word 'Trousers' to your vocabulary to take the place of the word 'pants'. In the UK, 'pants' means 'underpants' and people look at you funny if you ask them if they like your new pants! Last week, I told my trainer that all my pants are too big for me and he seemed a bit confused on why I'd be so forthcoming with such information. Unfortunately, it wasn't until later that I realized what I said! Lavendar
There are a lot of words that take on new meaning when you come to England. You'll soon find out that you don't really speak English - you speak American and you'll soon finding yourself translating in your head before speaking.


Hair - bangs are called fringe & braids are called plaits.
Clothing - tank tops are called vests, vests are called waistcoats, sweaters are jumpers, sweater vests (for men) are called tank tops, suspenders are called braces and guarders are suspenders. Men's underwear are called pants and woman's are called knickers. Confused yet?? The good news is that socks are still socks. A bathing suit is sometimes a swimming costume, and if your invited to a fancy dress party it's not a black tie event - it's actually a costume party (I'm still confused by that one).
Household items - A trash can is a bin, a faucet is a tap, cabinets are cupboards, closets are wardrobes, vacuums are hoovers a couch is a settee (or sofa) and a comforter is a duvet.
Food related items - Cookies are biscuits. Pancakes are not anything like what we have for breakfast, french fires are chips and chips are crisps. Oh, if someone invites you over for tea - they are actually inviting you over for dinner so don't eat before you go - Unless they invite you over for a cup of tea - then you get tea!
I can go on forever! Scared? Don't be! Most people watch American television and lucky for us - they speak American and will get your meaning most of the time. After a while it gets easier and easier and you'll soon find yourself trying to remember the American terms for things when speaking to friends and family back in the states! It's then that you know you've really arrived! Lavendar

Pin It


  1. OHP said...:

    And yes, add me to your list!

  1. Monique said...:

    TOTALLY! I've been here so long now that I can't remember which word is American, British or Australian slang - so confusing!

  1. Andrea said...:

    I remember when I first met my fiance I told him I was going to get my bangs cut and he had no idea what I was talking about and after about 10 minutes we realized fringe and bangs are the same thing! Thanks for the comment Erren, I would love to be added to your list!

  1. NiHao said...:

    You should start your own relocation agency! And don't forget the ever popular "cheers" - as a substitute for "thank you," "yes please," "goodbye," "smashing," and the list goes on...

  1. Tanith said...:

    Don't forget the alternate meanings of fanny! ;)

  1. bizofknowledge said...:

    And don't forget "trainers" instead of sneakers. Definitely don't call them "tennis shoes" no matter what you do! Thanks for the good laugh, its so fun to think about British American dictionary entries.