English: British vs. American

13621798_10201944727135817_173354798_oThis year wasn’t only an English education for my students, it was also an English education for me! British English that is.

Students learning English in Spain are taught British English, so all of the classroom material including workbooks and CDs are full of lessons that sound very prim and proper to an American ear. One of the major differences I heard in the classroom was, “Have you got…?” rather than, “Do you have…?”

With the help of one of my British coworkers and friends, I learned a number of interesting (and some very silly) vocabulary words and phrases throughout the year. Some are similar, but some are entirely different (cough, rubber, cough).

SO, in no particular order, here they are (British on the left, American on the right):

*lorry – truck

*candy floss – cotton candy

*bobble – hair tie

*rubber – eraser 

*break – recess 

*accelerator – gas pedal

*beam lights – brights/bright lights

*indicators – blinkers

*wheel trim – hubcap

*bonnet – hood

*boot – trunk

*trainers – sneakers 

*trousers – pants 

*nappy – diaper

*biscuits – cookies

*crisps – chips

*chips – French fries 

*full stop – period (punctuation)

*ice lolly – popsicle 

*caravanette – RV

*pop in/pop out/nip in/nip out – stop in/stop by/go in

*Insults: muppet, knob, wanker, twat

*Do you fancy? – Would you like to?

This list only scratches the surface of the differences that are out there, but it’s a start! More to learn next year, I have no doubt. 🙂

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