Separated by a common language

Until some American friends read “Amnesia” chapter 1 it never occurred to me that I had written anything that needed to be deciphered. I was wrong. Here are their comments after reading, on Englishisms they didn’t get, and I’m sure there are more:

* roundabout – “we do have these in the US, but they are pretty rare. No idea how they work”
* B & Q – “what’s this? Is it like a hardware store?”
* ranks of trees – “no explanation needed, probably, but I loved that and we don’t say that here!”
* windscreen – “is that the front window of a car? we call that a windshield”
* brown jumper – “a jumper is a little girl’s dress. I hope the hero wasn’t wearing one of those”
* trainers – “a wild guess: sneakers?”
* sgion dubh – “WTF?”
* the Queen/snail thing – “I could go look up a photo of your money, I suppose…”
* Sam Kidd – “should I know who that is even if I’m not from the UK? sounds familiar…”
* Meriva – “we have no Merivas over here or did you just make up a name for a car?”
* AA – “Auto Association? We have Triple A over here – American Automobile Association”
* Grynigg Farm/Red Kite Feeding Centre – “huh?”
* road fund license – “I’m thinking that may be the equivalent to our registration stickers that have to be kept current”
* Maltesers/honeycomb – “figured out it was a type of candy that you can stick your tongue through as you’re eating it”
* boot – “we call the back of a car the trunk but I do know you say boot because of all your sales you go to”

Blimey. Now, I don’t want to dilute the essential English nature of the story, but it should be easy enough to make some cosmetic changes that are acceptable both sides of the Atlantic without doing that. Using ‘sweater’ instead of ‘jumper’ for example, or ‘lights’ in place of ’roundabouts’. They’ll just have to do what I did for ‘sgion dubh’ though – get off their bums* and look it up.



About wombat37

A Yorkshireman in the green hills of Lancashire, UK Not a real wombat, obviously, or typing would become an issue. I do have short legs and a hairy nose, however. Oh, & a distinctive smell.

Posted on October 10, 2012, in America, Amnesia, Language, Writings. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Did no one mention “sod all”?


  2. Surely that should be a C in “road fund licence”? Never heard anyone call it that though, as opposed to the usual term “road tax”. Also what about “accelerator” = “gas pedal”?


  3. Yes, Harry, it should be a 'C' – I just C&P'd their spelling into the blog. And the tax is the money you pay, while the licence is the bit of paper you display in your windscreen.

    I think 'sod all' has more or less crossed the Atlantic since Buffy.


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