Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter with Brits: My weekend homestay

I spent my long Easter weekend in the Brazilian countryside with a group of Brits (and a Mexican but she is married to a Brit and thus guilty by association).

It was an extremely fun weekend but also educational. I had heard, while growing up, that they speak English in England but I am here to tell you that they don't.

It seems that they speak a sister language.  Think of it as pig-latin but without the rhyme and reason.  It really was mind blowing. I had moments where I wished I had brought a handy English to British English dictionary. Lucky for me, these Brits could translate into an English that I understood. Phew, crisis adverted!

It's amazing these lovely people manage to communicate with the rest of the world in this "English." I for one was quite embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of it. I mean I do speak ghetto Portuguese and horribly bad Spangish. I thought I was one of those gifted in the art of communication.

Just to clear some things up, I would like to show what my wonderful British friends consider English.  Here is a small list with English followed by the British version of English.

  • Line: Queue
  • Eggplant: Aubergine
  • 2 week stay: A fortnight (I'd like to know the history of this bad boy)
  • Cupcake: Fairy cake (??)
  • Busy: Engaged (don't know why anyone would ever find a British person pretentious) 
  • Pacifier: Dummy
  • Trash: Bin
  • License plate: Number plate
  • Strainer: colander (Pronounced: Call Un Der)
Just to keep things straight between the two countries, I have started studying British English. I figure if Angelina Jolie can do it, I can ace it.

Well I'm off to snog my husband and drink a lager.

Look at me, I'm international already! 

For those interested, here is a handy online dictionary: http://www.travelfurther.net/dictionaries/index.htm


  1. Never say "british english". They call it english, pure and simple. What americans speak are "americanisms". :)

    I am married to a defender of the Queen's english, but I do not take sides. I think some words are better in british english, while others make more sense in american english. So, being brazilian, I have the privilege as using both. For example, I never say "eggplant", but "fairy cake" is kind of silly. :)

    p.s.: Same thing happens in portuguese. I sometimes cannot understand my friends from Portugal (and vice versa) and often resort to speaking english with each other. :)

  2. I knew that!!!! Some 30+ years ago when I learned English I went to a school called Cultura Inglesa e Americana. Yes, I forgot the british words, the only thing I remember is that to sound british I had to pretend I had a hot potato in my mouth... :D

    Oh, btw, thank goodness for subtitles... couldn't watch a british movie without it.

  3. I knew I wasn't alone in this!

    Lolla, I called it British English to tease the Brits. I am very aware of "American English" ;))

  4. I grew up calling it a colander :), but I also call their "language" British English.

  5. Every word you described as British we use in Australia as well! :)

    xx Ejla

  6. Trousers = pants
    Pants = underpants

    But here's the weirdest: they sell the maple syrup in the ice cream aisle, along with the hot fudge...

  7. Well now we Americans are just out numbered!

  8. OMG, that's just wrong! Maple Syrup should be with cereals and pancake mix!

  9. don't even start on what a fanny is!

    Just to clear it up and make reference easier how about we go with English and American, I think this is easier for all.

    P.S. Could you please start pronouncing Aluminium correctly, that one really grates every time I hear it, that also goes for Iraq (not eye-raq).

    Thank You.

  10. I will give you Aluminium if you give me mask. It is not Moshk. It's mask!

  11. The one that really had me wondering what disease the person had was the first time I heard someone say that they were wearing "trainers" (as in type of shoes). Later on I went to discover they were sneakers. But really, they train you to do what exactly??

  12. ...and don't forget:

    diaper = nappy
    stroller = push chair
    elevator = lift

    I know of a few others, but it's late, and my mind is fried!

  13. ...just remembered another one:

    sweater = jumper

  14. The model in the photos looks familiar to me are they a Victoria Secret models?

  15. I'll defend colander as a possible regional Americanism as well. I grew up calling it that as well (both parents from New York and Boston).

  16. I LOVE british accent....in fact if u know any cute single british guy let me know...: )

  17. I'd love to but you are anonymous. How will I ever find you? ;)