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Thursday, April 11, 2013

British and American terms for the British Oxford dictionary site.

I found the page below today on the British Oxford dictionary site which I thought was quite interesting. It is a list of British and equivalent American terms. What I find interesting are the American terms I now use instead of the British, such as eggplant. I wouldn’t even know what a aubergine is. I wonder how many Australians would know what to get if you asked them to pick up an aubergine at the supermarket. Yet on the other hand I’ve never given in to saying aluminum, even though my science teacher in high school used the word all the time.

There are also many cases in which the two varieties of English use different terms to describe the same thing. Here’s a list of various British words and expressions together with their American equivalents.... Read More

One time when I was providing computer support to a young client I remarked, “haven’t you noticed your computer is set to American English”. She asked, “why?” “The spelling is color and not colour”, I remarked. She said, “that is how I spell the word”. I asked, “how come?” She said, “I just do, why?” I said, “I find that strange as it is the American spelling”. She said, “my teacher in secondary school was American, which probably explains why I spell it that way”. Whilst I would never use spelling color, I heard recently the use of color as a spelling is more prevalent in Victoria than other states. I wonder why that would be?

One word which stood out is the British use ‘boiler suit’, the Americans use ‘coveralls’, whereas I would use ‘overalls’. As for ‘bumbag’ the American expression is just not appropriate here. Somehow I don’t think ‘I’m a diamante cowboy’ wouldn’t have been quite as popular as ‘I’m a rhinestone cowboy’. I had no idea the terms were synonymous. Don’t even think about asking an American to meet you on the ‘first floor’ as you’ll end up on different floors. The list certainly makes for a few chuckles.

How many words on the list have become standard use for you?

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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