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edmartin101's avatar

What would you say are the differences in language usage between British and American English?

Asked by edmartin101 (776points) June 6th, 2008

I have met several guys from Britain and to be honest with you, I have a hard time understanding them when they speak. One word I have noticed Britons use different than in the US is “bored”, as in I am bored. To a Briton I’m bored it means I’m frustrated to an American. But there are so many differences you’ll be astonished

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17 Answers

jcs007's avatar

British is cooler. And funnier. Every single British person that I’ve ever met has been a cool and funny.

gailcalled's avatar

…...finish the sentence, please. I am curious.

Boot, brollie, lift, biscuit, and starters, for starters. (And afters, too.)

jlm11f's avatar

lift !!!!!!!!!!! i love it. i speak british english…in america. some people enjoy it and some enjoy making fun of it. i don’t care either way. I don’t think they are THAT different though. For me, the biggest difference was spelling (honour (british) vs. honor, colour vs. color etc) and the british vocabulary is bigger. Americans (average american i.e) get confused if you use too many words for the same thing. They follow the KISS principle to the tee. For example, don’t call a novel that you read “fascinating” when you can just as easily call it “cool”.

seVen's avatar

I don’t know what that aboot, it’s aboot same with Canadians saying aboot and not about. :)

jonno's avatar

Well, if you want a technical list of differences, Wikipedia has a whole series of massive articles about it.

Can I just ask, edmartin, when you say you had a hard time understanding UK people, was it because of the words they used or because you were unfamiliar with the accent (or both)? I’m sure you wouldn’t have problems reading comments by a person from the UK, although you may find the wording a bit different to how you, as an American, would put things.

ezraglenn's avatar

@Gail, how could you forget Lorry?!

dingus108's avatar

hmmmmm… I think that there are yes, many many more words in the British vocabulary. British English, mind you, was invented much much earlier than American English…. :-P I love doing the British accent even though I am an American! So I’d love to hear some great British slang!! LOL

edmartin101's avatar

@jonno Most of the time it has been because they have a different accent I’m not used to and of course they use different words than the ones we use, don’t they? Yeah it may sound more fun to listen to a Briton speak, but the fun stops when you have a biz deal you’re going through and is a heck of a hard time getting what they are saying. Once I encounter a British guy who asked me where to buy drinking water: he said wazzer for water. It took me quite a while what he meant, Now living in Singapore I am getting more familiar with their usage though

Tennis5tar's avatar

And this is when it would be good to have an audio chat function on fluther!
Minging, rough, bob, bobby, quid, bonnet, rank, bollocks is always a nice one… it’s hard to think of words that Americans may not be familiar with when you use them all the time.
Whenever I’ve been in the US, peopele seem to love the accent. Maybe it’s because we weren’t in a very touristy place and the novelty hadn’t worn of yet. Hah!

gailcalled's avatar

Whinging, Knacker’s yard,...

tupara's avatar

It is particularly important to remember that British ‘fanny’ is different from American ‘fanny’.

Tennis5tar's avatar

@tupara: Yes, that one can take me aback on occasion.

edmartin101's avatar

@tupara what’s the difference?

Tennis5tar's avatar

@edmartin: In America it’s a butt and in Britain it’s a slang term for female genitals.

jonno's avatar

Yes, that’s why we all snigger at the phrase “fanny pack”. Not because they are so unfashionable, but because the term can take on a totally different meaning.

We call them “bum bags”, same meaning I guess.

edmartin101's avatar

@Tennis5tar I definitely must be careful when talking with my fellow Brit friends, ha!!

whiteroseman's avatar

One is original and the other is a dumbed-down version with letters missing from words (perhaps the pre-cursor for text speak?).

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