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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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The Society for the Promotion of British-American Cultural Exchange presents: [20041208|10:14]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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A short American-to-English dictionary

Chips = crisps, e.g. "I'll have a bag of crisps."
Fries = chips, e.g. "Fish and chips are mankind's greatest culinary invention."

Cookie = biscuit, e.g. "Want some tea and biscuits?"

Oatmeal = porridge, e.g. "Porridge for breakfast on a cold morning is divine."

Raisins = sultanas, e.g. "I'm putting sultanas in my porridge."

Eggplant = aubergine, pronounced "OH-ber-zheen." Sort of. Ish. It's hard to write phonetically.

Pants = trousers, e.g. "My trousers are too tight."
Underwear = pants, e.g. "That girl's dress makes it clear she isn't wearing pants."

Sweater = jumper, e.g. "You don't need a coat, just a warm jumper."

Sneakers or tennis shoes = trainers, e.g. "It's raining and my trainers are soaked."

Nylons = tights, e.g. "I snagged my tights. Do you have nail polish?"
Tights = tights. O….kay.

Cents = pence (or "pee"), e.g. "That'll be 50 pee." Now imagine if 50 Cent were from the UK.

ATM = cash point, e.g. "I got mugged at that cash point."

Store = shop, e.g. "I'm going round the shops to buy some trousers."

Drugstore = pharmacy, e.g. "I have a wicked hangover. Where's the pharmacy?" DO NOT say drugstore. People will assume you are looking for something quite different, and may direct you to Brixton.

Band-Aids = plasters, e.g. "I cut myself! Give me a plaster."

Vacation = holiday (or "hols" for short), e.g. "Suzie's on holiday."

On the weekend = at the weekend, e.g. "I'm going to Brighton at the weekend."

To rent = to let

Bathroom/restroom = toilet (or "loo"), e.g. "I need to use the toilet." (Otherwise, prepare yourself for the inevitable, "What, are you going to take a bath/have a rest? Haw!")

Monkey = You know what? Don't call anybody this. It's not considered cute here.

Exit = Way out, e.g. "The building's on fire. Where's the way out?"

Elevator = Lift, e.g. "Take the lift to the fifth floor for haberdashery."

Sidewalk = pavement, e.g. "That fucking bike just drove up on the pavement!"

Gas = petrol, e.g. "I have to stop by the petrol station."

Truck = lorry, e.g. "Mind that lorry." "What lorry?" splat

Drunk = pissed, e.g. "No, I am not sitting on the pavement because I'm pissed. It's comfortable."

Cigarette = fag, e.g. "Got a fag, mate?"

Spliff = spliff (Hooray.)

Asian = Indian, Pakistani (Use "East Asian" for other flavors, e.g. Japanese, Korean.)

Ass = arse, e.g. "What an arsehole." Although I find this one sounds funny in an American accent.

Lots = loads, e.g. "There's loads of these little idiosyncrasies that one LJ post won't cover, but these are the important ones if you don't want to be mocked or seriously misinterpreted."


Soccer = football.

From: enzeru
2004-12-08 10:46 (UTC)
I knew all of those except for "plasters" and "sultanas". Good for a warm-up, though.
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[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2004-12-08 10:57 (UTC)
*laughs uncontrollably*

Oh god that was funny. I need to put that in my memories.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:52 (UTC)
Just in case you ever need reminding that we speak two completely different languages. :-P
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[User Picture]From: seamusd
2004-12-08 13:14 (UTC)

I'm such a friggin' anglophile

I love this, and also knew most of these differences, not to mention several others, like trunk/boot, windshield/windscreen. Interestingly, older signs on Chicago's L system say "Way Out" or just "Out" instead of "Exit." I always think of some stoners giggling, "That's way out, man!"
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:50 (UTC)
There's a massive number of them to learn. Additionally, there's the lexicon of British slang to master. Someone made an on-line dictionary of it, but the language mutates so quickly and there are so many regional variations that a lot of it is already out of date. For instance, a couple of years ago, people would say "That's pants," meaning, "That's rubbish/nonsense." But that's totally passé now.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2004-12-08 16:41 (UTC)
Truck = lorry, e.g. "Mind that lorry." "What lorry?" splat

I misread this. I thought it said:

Truck = lorry, e.g. "Mind that lorry." "What's a lorry?" splat

Damn near fell out of my chair. Didn't help that I was already giggling. :P
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:42 (UTC)
Hey, it works that way, too!

(P. S. I must have laughed for five minutes when that whole 50 Cent = 50 Pee thing occurred to me.)
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2004-12-09 16:11 (UTC)
Near-random: I've been meaning to ask for a while but kept forgetting. Now that I have posting access to readers_list, may I toss the post you made with the 50-words or less fiction summaries there?

Was all the giggling what did it, I bet.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 16:40 (UTC)
Funny, I've been meaning to resurrect that for a while. I have a bunch of new ones. I keep them in a Word doc.

Anyway, I'm flattered! Yes, go ahead and post it. It's here.
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2004-12-09 16:49 (UTC)
Rock. I'll do it now. And I knew where it was. ;)
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[User Picture]From: comfortslut
2004-12-08 20:46 (UTC)
I've been loving your missives even though I haven't had much time to comment. I filtered my flist down to, like five people, and I still don't have enough fucking TIME. I'm so glad you're having such a blast in London, and I miss you in a strange abstract sort of way.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:40 (UTC)
I noticed a trend. All my LJ friends who've had babies seem to disappear for the first year or so. I conclude that babies are a massive time-and-energy drain, sort of like miniature black holes. Except more cuddly.

LJ is a strange abstract sort of place. It makes you feel simultaneously closer to and far away from people, because you interact solely with the fruit of their brainmeats, but you don't know anything about their mannerisms or habits or voices.
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[User Picture]From: comfortslut
2004-12-09 18:43 (UTC)
Yeah, but you can sort of guess and that's the fun part. You're totally right about the miniature black hole...oooooh, the DENSITY!
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[User Picture]From: becala
2004-12-08 21:18 (UTC)
Did NOT know the sultanas one. I did learn, while eating dinner with my friend's aunt, that what she kept calling "serviettes" were actually paper napkins. Hmmmmm.

Fun from Ireland:

[Re the smoking ban] "In Ireland, the only place you can have a fag and a pint is a gay bar."

[A very drunk man in Dublin:] *stares at my chest for a long long time* I like your jumper. *moves eyes to crotchal area* ..and your trousers *moves eyes upwards* And your hair's not bad, either. And I like your face, too.

Which is why I randomly scream at people: I like your FACE!!!! Best pickup line ever.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:36 (UTC)
Sultanas are actually different from what we call raisins, due to the drying process and region of production, as I just learned. However, depending on the commonality of import and occurrence of the various types of dried grape, one term will take precedence over the other. Sultanas are more common here than what we call "raisins" in the US, so lots of people call any dried grape a "sultana." Boy, that's confusing.

Fun from Camden Market yesterday:

Friends from out of town visiting. One friend needed to buy a piece of luggage, since the wheel housing had cracked on her duffel bag. The man operating the stall offered a discount to her, telling the other friend [male] that "his daughter was very beautiful." It took us a bit to work out that he was talking about ME. AGH! Everyone in this country thinks I'm about fifteen! Christ!
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[User Picture]From: sparklepbass
2004-12-08 21:47 (UTC)
raisins and sultanas are two different things - both exist. they're very similar and i don't really know what the difference is, although i know that i like raisins but i don't trust sultanas. they look too pale. maybe one's from a white grape and the other a red grape?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:30 (UTC)
Fascinating. Raisins, sultanas and currants all come from slightly different varieties of grapes, but due to the commonality of import/occurrence of them in various countries, the names get all mixed up. Australians call most dried grapes "sultanas," while Americans call them "raisins." The British, I guess, are the only people who make the distinction between them. The difference comes from the drying process (sultanas are bleached), not necessarily from the type of grape. o_O
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[User Picture]From: hunterxtc
2004-12-09 00:33 (UTC)

Is this legit?

Eraser=Rubber? I remember hearing Ted Koppel talking about how he grew up across the pond, and when he came to the US, one day he asked some kid for a rubber after he's made a mistake in some writing. I guess a rubber always helps one to prevent mistakes.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-09 13:22 (UTC)
Due to my lack of interaction with pencil-wielding Luddites, I'm not actually sure. I remember running into a few Australians who used "rubber" instead of "eraser," but that's it.
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[User Picture]From: enn
2004-12-09 16:34 (UTC)

-zjheen ,perhaps

you know, at the week end makes so much more sense than on the weekend. over the weekend i'm not too keen on either. it seems to me that since we are talking about time it should be at, not on, or over{its just that they seem to be so against touching time, if that makes any sense}.
also, i have always been quite partial to queue as opposed to line.
in fact, really, i do prefer the english english more than american.
it seems more sensible, &then, suddenly, it becomes absolutely ridiculous; eg; piccadilly, elephant &castle, &c.
you know what i mean, i am sure..
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-10 12:23 (UTC)
British English allows you to make finer distinctions than American English (e.g. trousers vs. pants, toilet vs. bathroom). Their approach to place names and the pronunciation of said names is fairly bizarre, as is their slang, but in casual conversation, their vocabulary is more sensible, I agree.
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[User Picture]From: tkappleton
2004-12-12 15:46 (UTC)


My co-worker is welsh so we contantly harangue her to translate our sentences into "English". :) Have you discovered what fanny means in English yet? Not good.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2004-12-13 11:41 (UTC)
Oh yes. I forgot about that one - I'll add it to the next list. Fortunately, I was told about it before the first time I ever visited and I always thought that, uh, "hip" packs looked rather silly.
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