Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

It’s all English to me…

It was recently pointed out to me that I speak wrong. I mean, I speak right if I lived in the UK, but not correct for north America.

Apparently when an American has an injury and needs rehabilitation, he goes for physical therapy. Here, up in Canada we call it Physiotherapy, or just physio. I have no clue what they call it in England.

Suspenders – we called them braces growing up. Suspenders were never to be mentioned – in the UK it means a garter belt… and Pants are what you wear under your trousers.

Now, there is a lot of slang phraseology that just doesn’t translate – when you’re a Londoner and you ask some one to “give us a butchers at that” – you are asking for a look at something, but using cockney rhyming slang. Butcher’s hook rhymes with look.

While over for Friday night dinner at an old chum’s house (he went to Hasmo with my brother) we cracked up over a tray of gaily decorated cupcakes. I asked him, “Lawrence”, I said, “what did we call these growing up”….he racked his brain, and said he didn’t know. I reminded him. Fairy cakes. Much laughter ensued. Yep, muffins and cupcakes, we called fairy cakes.

In England a solicitor is someone involved in the legal profession with a limited ability to address court, here its someone who is trying to get money out of you for their cause (hmm, doesn’t sound too different to me), and a barrister is a solicitor that can address higher courts. Here attorney and lawyer suffice.

Of course there’s also the car terms – bonnet is the hood of a car, and the trunk we call the boot. Gas is petrol, and what you call a motorhome, we call a caravan. A truck is a lorry to us, and the highway is the motorway. You drive with your turn signals on – I use my indicator. You talk about tires, we spell them tyres. If you need to fix something you guys use a wrench. I only know what a spanner looks like.

We go to the chemist to pick up our medicine. Having an argument with someone, we call having a row. (rhymes with OW!) or sometimes I have heard it called an argy bargy. You go to the movies, we go to the cinema. When you call me on the phone and my line is busy, if you were British you would know the line was engaged.

We take the lift up to our flat, you take the elevator to your apartment, where the chips that I would prepare to eat you would call French fries, while your chips I call crisps. If you want fish sticks in England you have to ask for Fish fingers. I bet you didn’t know fish had fingers!! A US zucchini is a British courgette. If you want to have dessert once your main course is over, in UK its called pudding even if its fruit. Sometimes it is called “afters” too. A sandwich is slangly referred to as a butty or a sarnie.

My favourite British vocab is when you call each other names. A berk, a prat, a tosser – there are no equivalents in North America, in my humble opinion. Then there is eejit, git, pillock, plonker, wally….

I could go on and on – if you want more, just ask……

I am off for a fry up, and then I’m gonna put me feet up and have a nice brew.

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RED means what?

Please tell me why when the idiot runs a red light and almost knocks me over, she gives me the finger? How is it my fault that she doesn’t know the basics of driving? Wait a second, red light means stop ONLY if you are not having a phone convo with your bezzie mate and puffing on a coffin nail at the same time. If you are doing those things the highway code doesn’t apply to you! I guess I didn’t get that freaking memo.

PEOPLE – use ear pieces, blueteeth (tooths?), and keep your eyes on the road. It just takes a second of missed concentration for a lifetime of grief. I was lucky today – as a pedestrian and a driver I try to stay aware of my surroundings however I am moving. If I had been on my phone too, or distracted, I dread to think what could have happened. Thank you G-d for keeping me safe.