US/UK English translations

So I’m thinking about putting up a proper webpage tracking some of the differences between US and UK English. Maybe a modified dict or something could be the appropriate solution. Until then, here’s a list (I’ll try to remember to update this article when I have new ideas):

  • Advert -> Commercial (Advertisement is not used for TV)
  • Aeroplane -> Airplane (obvious example there)
  • Bin -> Trash Can (more well known example there)
  • Cafetière -> French Press
  • Dressing Gown -> Bath Robe (don’t ever say Dressing Gown)
  • Gherkin -> Pickle (pickled cucumber, more generic than Gherkin too)
  • Glandular Fever -> Mono (full name (infectious) mononucleosis)
  • Hire Car -> Rental Car
  • Jumper -> Sweater (more well known example there)
  • Post -> Mail (more well known example there)
  • Spanner -> Wrench (don’t ever say “throw a spanner in the works”)
  • Trainers -> Running Shoes (or maybe Sneakers)
  • Trousers -> Pants (more well known example there)
  • Washing -> Laundry (though they’d guess)

Of course, I’m not addressing the pronounciation differences. There are obvious examples from popular culture such as Tomato/Tomarto, but then there are more subtle differences in words like vase (no “varse”), adver*tize*ment, and so on. Some of these are well known, others not. And then, of course, there’s a need to adjust general grammar rules for a US audience, too.

I generally modify my pronounciation, as well as my grammar and spelling, in business/consumer settings in order to avoid confusement/random giggling at what I’m saying. Though with friends, I often don’t bother to change how I say something (because it’s more amusing that way around) – but probably still consider it.


5 Responses to “US/UK English translations”

  1. British English FTW.

  2. Chris says:

    How about ‘fag’. It can get confusing if you ask an American if you can bum a fag off him.

  3. greg says:

    Surprisingly something like this already exists,

    Regional and international language differences are quite interesting to read about. Though I still think as inventers of the English language we should be able to modify it and change it as we wish :)

  4. Jon Masters says:

    Well, quite. Though for words with possibly “offensive” translations, I’m leaving that until I’ve got a longer list, so they don’t stand out so much :-)

  5. Joe says:

    smoking a fag takes on a whole new meaning, too.

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