As an American, England has a special meaning for me: my parent country that gave America life. Yet even though we speak the same language and come from the same background, we are so very different.

English Language

You’d think everyone that speaks English would be able to communicate, right? Wrong! Surprisingly, I find myself having a hard time understanding a lot of the British English language. “I was walking down the street wearing a jumper and trainers when I saw a lorry go past.” Translation: “I was walking down the street wearing a sweater and sneakers when I saw a truck go past.”

First, British English adds the letter “u” into a lot of its words also: colour, neighbour, behaviour, harbour. Second, British English changes “er” endings to “re” endings: centre, theatre, metre. Third, the difference between “se” and “ce” endings: defense/defence, offense/offence, pretense/pretence. Fourth, “ise” vs. “ize” (and “isation” vs. “ization” making English very confusing: organize/organise, realization/realisation. Finally, there are a few other differences between British English words and American English words: check vs. cheque, airplane vs. aeroplane, mom vs. mum, while vs. whilst. There are many more differences, but these are the most recognizable. While they don’t change the meaning or make the language impossible to understand, the different words do make you look twice.

What does make the language difficult to understand are using different words, or using the same word for different meanings:

American English          British English

                                       Truck                            Lorry

                               Fries                             Chips

                                       Stove                             Cooker

                                     Cookie                           Biscuit

                               Apartment                    Flat

                                Garbage                         Rubbish

                                    Trash Can                     Bin

                                     Sweater                         Jumper

                                     Sneakers                       Trainers

                               Eraser                             Rubber

                                     Elevator                         Lift

                                     Soccer                             Football

                             Restroom/Bathroom         Toilet

                                            Pants                              Trousers

                                   Cigarettes                      Fags

                                     Gasoline                        Petrol

                                                          2nd Floor                     1st Floor

                                  Cell Phone                   Mobile

                                       Underwear                  Knickers

Thanks to Estrella Explores for the idea on differences in language!



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