Thursday, September 1

Common Language?

While the general assumption may be that because we all live in the western world, life in the UK and the US are similar ... having been living in Ohio for the last two years, I can assure you in many ways it's not!! The cultural adjustment can almost seem greater when you're not expecting it!!

Although we supposedly both speak 'English' ... since living in the US we have found the quote ... 

'Two countries divided by a common language'

... to be very true and amusing, pretty much on a daily basis! It seems no-one can be completely sure who this quote is from when you look it up ... but whoever originally said it was very wise indeed!

Take for instance ...
In England you would ...
'Go to the shop to hire a film and maybe buy some crisps and sweets to eat'
But in America you would ...
'Go to the store to rent a movie and maybe buy some chips and candy to eat'

We find it really funny that making the switch to 'American' English seems to be easier for us than for our American friends to switch to 'English' English ... maybe we watch too much American TV ... but we often get a lot of blank expressions when say things in 'English' English!

Check out how just a few items on a shopping list can differ ...

'English' English     'American' English
plasters     bandages
crisps     chips
chips     fries
nappy     diaper
coriander     cilantro
fizzy drinks     sodas
aubergine     eggplant
courgette     zucchini
wieners     hot dogs
prawns     shrimps
biscuits     cookies
jelly     jello
jam     jelly
porridge   oatmeal

This is just a snapshot of the vast 'translations' we find ourselves doing on a regular basis. What amuses me is that our two little girls are growing up and learning to talk with both versions ... and then in about a years time we'll be off to another culture, language and yet another variety of English!!

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