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10 thingsFour words/phrases I now use in America that I never used before:

Sucks‘ – “That sucks man!”. I have no idea what I used to say before to be derogatory about something, but I’ve adapted the local phrase far too quickly for my liking.

‘Friggin’ – Is now what I say instead of using a certain profanity. “Where can I get a friggin coffee from?” is what you’ll hear me say now, without any hint of embarrassment in my voice.

‘Hey man’ – Is now my standard greeting to all genders. Why? How? Can I not just say “Hello!” like I used to? Apparently not.

‘What is up?’ – As in “Hey man, what – is – up?”. An interesting one this … I say ‘What is up’ in a slow stagnated way to take the piss out of the fact that people round here says ‘Wassup?’ a lot – except now it’s to the point where I find myself saying it naturally instead of in a piss-takey-sort of way. Agh!

Six words/phrases that I still use that Americans have never heard before:

“Are you taking the piss, or what?” – To take the piss is to be sarcastic towards someone, in either a friendly or unfriendly fashion depending on the body language.

“Don’t do that, or I’ll get the hump”. To get the hump is be pissed off.

“Your place is a tip!”– You don’t have the tidiest of houses. In the nicest possible sense that is.

“Ok, I’ll meet you at half five”. C’mon now – it’s only one word different, how hard can that be? Very hard apparently to some people, who go “Huh?” when I say it. Half five (or any other time) equals half past five, or five-thirty to put it as plainly as possible.

“Have you got the brolly? I think it’s going to rain”. Brolly = Umbrella. Again, you would have thought that would be obvious in the context, but not always so …

“I’ll just put the clothes in the tumble dryer”“Dryer?” “Tumble dryer”. “Why is British English overly-complicated?” “Why is American English so simple?”.

And so on …

16 responses to “Lingo”

  1. Some contrary continental types use their language equivalent of half to mean half an hour before the hour: ie: your half five is in fact 4.30.

    I think it’s time for a rousing chorus of Frigging in the Rigging.

  2. geofftech says:

    “Friggin in the Rigging” lyrics, as follows:

    Note: (18) rated link. Don’t flame me if you blush and get all offended.

    Blame Ian instead. 😀

  3. I’ve got an Italian collegue at work, and he has a back-to-front way of saying halves, eg “that’ll take two hours and a half” instead of “two and a half hours”. I find that disproportionately distracting!

    “That sucks” is quite well-used among some of my British friends, strangely mostly among the IT geeks. Not quite sure how you managed to avoid that here…?

    To finish, a Tube story: apparently they’re going to rename “Shepherds Bush” as “Shepherds Bush Market” on the Hammersmith and City Line (to avoid confusion with the Central Line stop of the same name), and open a new “Wood Lane” station on the H&C line.

  4. Kallure says:

    No ya’ll yet?

    I’ve been here seven months and it’s already slipping into my vocabulary.

    That, and ma’am and sir.

  5. Cheryl says:

    “Half five” is about as difficult as “quarter of six” (i.e. quarter to six), which nobody in the UK seems to understand.

  6. jj says:

    forking Englishman.

    this calls to mind a Beeb news story from the other day where they were reporting that now “American” pronunciation is the desireable accent among a growing segment of the UK population. scary. casualness is taking over!

  7. Fimb says:

    #3 – I don’t understand why yesterdays “announcement” on it, as when I went to see the plans for the new shopping centre in April 1999 (I know when it was, as it was the day we applied for our marriage license!) it had that fact already in the plans!!!

    I say half-five. 🙂

  8. Geoff. I followed that link, and now I’m all offended.
    What should I do?

    The reason for the BBC’s interest is probably due to the number of BBC staff who will use the new station, and thus think it the best thing since sliced bread.

  9. What is more frightening is the words which are spelt the same, pronounced the same but which have totally different and potentially awkward alternative meanings.

    Take ‘Boot’ for example. In the UK this refers either to a kind of shoe or to the compartment at the rear of a vehicle where luggage or shopping are kept. In the US, the shoe definition holds true but the vehicle compartment is known as a ‘trunk’ which clearly should mean the extended trumpet of an elephant. But this confusion is nothing. Imagine life in Germany where ‘Boot’ means ‘Boat’. Now how does the elephant feel, eh? Not so keen to put his shopping on his feet now then? Not without the chance of sinking.

    Worse still, the phrase ‘yez a right pillock’ is rather derogatory in a northern English context. Whereas in Serbo-Swahili it is a reflection of the glory of morning sunshine on the face of a loved one.

    ‘Get bent’ isn’t pleasant in English, but in Jordanian Arabic slang it represents ‘three loaves of your finest olive bread’.

    Spoken language is confusing. Best to ignore it and just stick to sign language. Hand flailing never confused no-one no-how. Innit?

  10. geofftech says:

    I do say “y’all”, but I am painfully aware of every time I say it, and often comment on the fact that I’ve just said it. I do NOT say “sir” and “ma’am” yet, no!.

    Oh, any by the way, it’s SNOWING in Charleston this morning.

    S.N.O.W.I.N.G ! There are snow flakes going on out there are it’s 34F/2C !! Where did the summer go?

  11. jj says:

    #10 – don’t worry Geoff. summer will be back. probably before next year, even. heck, it should hit 70 F (21 C) Friday and Saturday.

    today is a record day, you know. this is the earliest ever recorded snowfall in Charleston.

  12. British English isn’t overly-complicated – it’s rich.

    Which is what makes our literature great (well, some of it).

  13. Jon Allen says:

    Jiff. the best word that comes into that category has to be fanny.
    I say no more.

  14. TowerBlockTina says:

    #9 Jiff – is your second name for real? Or is it a non-de-plume. It sounds quite rude to me!

  15. dikko says:

    #3 – that’s a bit of a laugh really; how is “Shepherd’s Bush Market” not meant to be confused with “Shepherd’s Bush”? Perhaps per Ian’s comment, it should be renamed “BBC”.

    Geoff – what about when someone tells you how “pissed” they were? =angry in USA, but =drunk in Australia (angry = “pissed off”)

  16. going underground says:

    Yeah friggin is “dubbed” on a few american films shown on TV…. One example being “Aliens” where the word is used several times…Only when I saw this recently on sky movies and heard the real “F” word did I realise that the terrestial TV film I saw all though years ok was dubbed…..

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