Lost in Translation..

Given the fact I am not on a language exchange this year, like my friends in Paris and Montpellier, I thought communication would not be too much of an issue. Wrong.

I watched [a healthy amount of] American TV when I was younger and have visited the States enough to feel confident negotiating the – at times questionable – use of American-iZms. What I didn’t account for were the everyday differences that you are perhaps unlikely to encounter when you visit for a holiday or have learnt from your Saved by the Bell education and are only uncovered when moving here.

For example:

– cutlery is an unknown and highly amusing term I use which is actually, correctly, known as ‘silverware’ here.

– Colleague at work: “Just go ahead and insert a period in there.” Me: “A what?!” Apparently (and incorrectly) meaning a full stop.

– Rose (my English friend): I’m going to have a lie-in tomorrow.
Emi (very much American): Rawr!
Rose: What?
Emi: You said having a lion.
[a personal favourite]

– Waiting on-line rather than in the queue or even ‘in line’.

– Use of the phrase ‘what’s up’ has caused a lot of trouble for my English friend who tends to reply with a blank expression. What DO you reply? It’s been explained by an American translator friend of ours that the only real acceptable reply is “Nothing much, how are you?” even if there IS something up as it’s more of a greeting than an actual question. (just FYI)

It’s also to acceptable to shout out in the street things like:
“What’s up vanilla” and “Hey Goldilocks”



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