Endless ways to misunderstand each other and endless ways to bridge the gaps of our differences.
I have a list that I’m constantly adding to. Some have already been mentioned here but these are words and phrases that are used differently, or not at all, in Canada.
British Words and Phrases (in no particular order)
Lorry - truck
Rubbish - garbage
Bin - garbage can
Bin man - garbage truck / collector
Lift - elevator
Wellies - rubber boots or boots
Mince beef - ground beef or hamburger
Pudding - dessert
Hob - stove
Washing up liquid - dish soap
Fairy liquid - dish soap brand
Bit of kit -
To$$er - this word wasn’t allowed. Is it a curse word?? If so, sorry!
Recovery vehicle - tow truck
Trolley - shopping cart
Tomato ketchup - ketchup
Crisps - potato chips or just chips
Chips - fries
Single and double and clotted cream
Soured cream - sour cream
loo - bathroom
Loo roll - toilet paper
Kitchen roll - paper towel
Bits and bobs
trousers - pants
knickers or pants - underwear
sat instead of sitting - I’m sat at the table
If I’m honest, instead of if truth be told
Called instead of named
Ladies instead of ladies room
Mine or yours instead of my place or your place
This is so funny, because I, as a non native speaker, know almost all these different words but with many of them, I wasn’t aware that they are used in different parts of the world.
I read a lot of books and do this exclusively in English in order to stay fluent without having to speak English all the time, but I don’t always pay attention to where the author comes from. I guess when I speak I use a mixture of American, South African, British English with a German accent.
@Kelownagurl , these are just great. Here in the mid-Atlantic region of the US, garbage refers to food waste. Papers and dirty things go in a trash can which is then picked up by a trash truck. I have to recommend one of my absolute favorite short films. It’s Irish and I was lost without the subtitles, but you people from other side of the pond may not need them. Some words, especially one in particular , on @Kelownagurl ’s list reminded me of the film. Here is the YouTube link without subtitles: Oscar-Nominated Short: “Boogaloo and Graham” | The Screening Room - YouTube. See it! It’s about little boys and chickens. It’s also available on Kanopy, the video service some libraries subscribe to, with English subtitles. It’s so adorable, you won’t be disappointed.
are we birthing THS Guide to common lingo?
Trunk - Boot
Hood - Bonnet (I never could understand why a car part was named after a ladies hat)
Muffler - Silencer
Windshield - Windscreen
Gear shift - Gear lever
High Beam - Main Beam
Gas - Petrol
I took my company car into the workshop in Edmonton (Alta Canada) when asked what was wrong …
“My silencer has gone”
“Your WHAT ma’am?”
“My silencer” by now three mechanics had appeared - looking quizzically from one to another
“Sorry ma’am we’re not sure what you mean”
“My car sounds as though Steve McQueen (“Bullitt” showing my age) should be driving it”
Stepped outside into car, revved it up …
“Oh you mean the muffler” (no that’s what you put round your neck when it’s cold)
This caused such amusement that it found it’s way to HO in Montreal … but they probably called it something entirely French.
PS I was a new immigrant into Canada … 3 months new.
I’m not sure about that @Amparo but we’re having some fun and learning more about each other along the way, which is as good as it gets … now there’s a film title in there somewhere.
Thank you for starting something to help better communication …
What a fantastic story!
I always get strange looks and silent pause when I say “I’m going to wash up” and head to the loo. Meaning freshen up or shower vs do the dishes.
“California can be a country on its own”?
Sincerely, from a Californian.
Where are our members from Australia … or “Straya” ??
Being partnered with a half Aussie I’ve been subjected to the abbreviated words and anomalies of the Australia version of the English language for almost ten years.
Two things tripped me up on my first long visit. The first was thinking an “Arvo” was a type of car… as in “we’ll go to the shops in the arvo (afternoon)”, and a seemingly unimaginable faux pas, to suggest making room in a fridge by removing the beer
So for anyone interested in the Aussie slang version of English… this is my favorite video
What have they missed?
Some of those Aussie abbreviations also work in Britain - but certainly not all of them!
Arvo was one I did recognise from watching “Neighbours” in my youth!
Over the years we have picked up bits of language and local phrases from all of the countries that we have visited. The 2 of us mix all of these together and our private language at home would be nonsensical to any outsiders.
My father was Scottish and I use as many of his strange phrases as I possibly can even when with friends. My favourities are "going to get the messages " (shopping) and a “jelly piece” - a jam sandwich (No, I don’t eat Jam sandwiches anymore!!)
From this Aussie (yes, I’ve abbreviated it!), they didn’t throw a snag on the barbie!!
OK… what’s a snag
To add to your confusion on spelling:
doughnut (UK) and donut (US)
Yoghurt (UK) and yogurt (US) - and pronounced differently (the ‘o’)
It is one time where I do think that the US spelling makes more sense. I’m a native English speaker, but I recognize that the spelling can be so confusing at times.
And in Canada, people use both the UK or the US versions.
But as a former teacher, I always insisted that my students use the “correct” Canadian spelling because in “OUR” country we spell those words with OUR not OR. (favourite, labour, humour…).
Love it… But… Bat - used for cricket…… more commonly played over here than softball Or baseball…… don’t even know if softball is played over here… Unless it’s called something else!
Yep, @Kelownagurl For many years now I have used behaviour vs behavior and I cross my 7. I got a lot of slack from my children for years in those early days of UK travel. Now they know to bugger off.
Big lol! What a great thread!
I’ve been known to mutter a bit of Anglo Saxon in the company of my year 7 History class …