One of my favorite things about traveling and learning language is seeing and learning the culture with it. I have had the privilege of traveling to some different places around the world as well as learning some neat things with the language. So coming from America, speaking english
and then traveling to the United Kingdom was, I suppose a rather small thought for me. With a quick glance, the only difference visible was that the people in the United Kingdom drive on the left side of the road. But upon touching down in the airport and asking for directions, words of our common language started becoming more foreign. This would only intensify as my time there grew.
During my time in england
, being located a couple hours north from the middle of england
and about an hour south of the Scottish border, one of the first words I picked up on as foreign was ‘a cuppa.’ I am now thankful that someone on the airplane told me about it just a few hours earlier or I would have been left completely clueless. I put it together in my head as slang for ’a cup of tea.’ But the word tea has indeed it’s different meanings too. When I was told that tea was around 6 in the evening, and just ending an early afternoon drinking tea and eating biscuits, or known to me as cookies, I began to wonder how much the england
ers loved to drink their tea. When 6 o’clock rolled around and we ate lasagna, I was confused that there was no tea. Dinner, sometimes said as supper, is tea in england
. At the end, we were asked if we wanted any pudding. They looked at me strange when I asked what kind of pudding they were serving; vanilla or chocolate, or maybe tapioca. But instead, pudding was indeed their word for dessert whereas in America, it is a type of dessert. Might I mention that this all happened on the first day. But through laughs and learning, the experience of gaining yet another aspect of english
served to be a great time.
There are several words in British english
that an American would be confused by and visa versa. For example, a mackintosh means a raincoat in British english
and a flat is an apartment. The list goes on. A spanner is a wrench and a wing is a fender.
My time in england
was spent in the north though I met some people from Scotland, ireland
and other part of england
too. Each part of the country, just like in the united states
a variety of slang and accent, some easier than others. The entire language is full of dialect wherever it is spoken. The people in the southern united states
sometimes speak with such a deep dialect that people from the north cannot understand them. As I was in england
I met a man from Yorkshire. His english
was deep and had a deeper twist on it. english
regardless the country is full of differences. It would be interesting to hear someone from Yorkshire and someone from Louisiana
hold a thick accented conversation. They might not understand each other at all.
George Bernard Shaw had it right when he said that the united states
are “two countries divided by a common language.” The way words are spoken, the vocabulary and accents are all only a small part of what makes the difference between the two countries language. And if one was to look deeper, they would find that the differences not only lie in the vocabulary, but with grammar, writing and units and measuring too. However, neither British english
nor American english
is better than the
other, but unique and enjoyable in their own ways. For most people, realizing ahead of time that english
is sometimes a foreign language regardless of it being their mother tongue, the misunderstandings will be small and most of the time forgotten. english
is a wonderful language wherever it is spoken.
1. My own personal experience.