What you learn about the English language when you live in America
There’s a lot more differences than you think
There are significant differences between people in the UK and those across the pond – the most obvious being the words we use and the way we put them in order.
Here are some of the basics learned by an honorary Angeleno.
You absolutely cannot ‘bum a fag’ off a friend in America
Arguably the most obvious of differences, us British folk use this sentence as a colloquial way to ask an acquaintance if you can please have one of their cigarettes for free. In American, it’s a highly derogatory way to request sex with a homosexual. Not cool, guys.
Terms of endearment are reserved for family members and significant others
Unlike in the United Kingdom, where everyone is your “babe” and “love” and “darling”, NO-ONE is your babe in America unless you’ve seen them naked and you hold hands in public.
It took (the totally unattractive) Kodi Baker several days to figure out that I had not claimed him as my own and was merely being a friendly girl. Kodi is not my babe.
There is no such thing as a casual pint after work
This is true for both America and the UK, but for two very different reasons.
UK: Drinks after work turns into a 3AM stop at the chippy and a subtle sick on the walk home. Every evening.
USA: If you’re drinking every day after work then you have a problem. Go and see a therapist.
Every single thing is simpler in America
Pavement = sidewalk (because you walk on the side of the road)
Bathroom = restroom (because you don’t actually bathe in a public toilet, you rest)
Dual carriageway = freeway (because AMERICA)
Chemist = drug store (because it’s where the drugs live)
Drugs have totally different rhetoric in America
Prescription drugs (specifically anti-psychotics): everyone is on them but no-one likes them.
Headache tablets are expensive. Birth control is expensive. Everything you need to live is expensive. Buuut the grass is always greener, if you catch my drift.
Food comes in an entirely new language
OK so wtf is arugula, zucchini and eggplant? They sound revolting.
Oh, it’s just rocket, courgette and aubergine. That’s easier.
Ice lolly = popsicle
Jacket potato = baked potato
Jam = jelly = jam = conserve = jelly = custard. Who knows?
Health and education mean something totally different
Universal health care is non-existent in the USA, but it’s still hanging in there in the UK.
The right to choose is also still hotly debated. Thanks for controlling our vaginas and reproductive systems, America!
High quality public schooling is almost nil in all major cities, and even the higher end ones demand thousands of dollars in donations from parents every year.
The time is different in America
“What time is it?”
“It’s twenty-five to ten, babe.”
“Sorry – it’s nine thirty-five.”
Seriously, it’s not that hard to understand.
Most people think that Americans don’t like swearing as much as us Brits, but they’re lying. Americans love swearing just as much as we do. The only difference is that they giggle like teenagers after doing it.
Great Britain and regular America are two countries divided by language. Our norms are different, our vegetables are very different, and the way we each view the world are very different. However, our two countries get along and have created homes for all walks of life – so language aside, that’s something to be celebrated.