Sunday, January 20, 2008

European vs. American Sayings

My first year of the MBA program, I found a few sayings that didn't quite translate between my international friends and American English. It always made for some humorous conversations. Last night, I went to dinner with two of our regional marketing managers, Christine and Fionna. Christine is based in London and Fionna is based in Singapore. Christine tried to order sparkling water at Chuys (with no success) and that got us talking about phrases that we find funny or just different from what we say here in America.

Some of the results (Mostly different between British English and American English):
Come across - this is what everyone in Europe says when they talk about flying overseas. I first heard it when I went to Sweden - "When did you come across?"
Straight away - the European version of "right away"
Flatmates/Flat - Roommates/Apartment
Fancy - Christine thought it was funny that we didn't say "Would you fancy a drink?" We say "Would you like a drink?"
Water - we had a good laugh hearing Christine and Fionna mimicking the way that Americans say the word "water!" I never realized that it sounded so different and weird to them!

We had a lot more but I won't bore you with them all. What phrases have you all heard that either Europeans say that we don't or that we say and they don't?


Ashley said...

Fun post! :)


"nappy"= diaper

When I first read your title, I thought of the whole water issue. Flat water vs. sparkling, etc. :)

Emily said...

Ohhh we talked about the loo! I forgot about that one. :)

Maggie said...

"Off you go" British people say this to kids, where we say "go in", or "go ahead".
I noticed this in Disney World, British people call "wating in line" being "in the cue". People would ask "are you in the cue?" and it took me 2 days to figure out what they ment.

Ashley N said...

In Budapest (and other cities in Europe) when we would order water they would ask us "gas or no gas" meaning sparkling or not.

Kristen said...

I think it is funny when British add "proper" in front of an adjective. "That movie was proper brilliant."

I have a friend that is who is married to an Australian, and there is SO much fun stuff they say. Everything is "chips". Fries, chips, crackers, they are all chips! Also, they call a spanking, a potch.

Anonymous said...

some more i could add:
1. play the mickey = prank ("he played the mickey on me.")
2. fag = cigarette
3. cupboard = filing cabinet
4. emergency = ambulatory

oh and have you ever encountered them givin' the "finger?" we do it with the middle finger right? they do it the way we do the peace sign, but palms facing your cool...or as they say..."quite interesting, reall-eh" ;) have a lovely day..toodles...


Anonymous said...

just a quick point on maggie's comment - a line of people is a "queue" (pronounced "cue")