Life in the US: The unexpected language barrier [1]

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I love good British dramas, I really miss the BBC, but I am quite a big fan of American TV shows… Give me a good dose of beautiful teen drama or supernatural goings on and I’m sorted. A quiet evening in with a glass of wine, some Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Gossip Girl (!) and I’ll be quite happy.

I thought that I had my Americanisms down pat – I wasn’t going to struggle with language… Ha!

How wrong I was.

I suspect that some of it is down to accent (on my part), but I didn’t expect to be the cause of quite so many blank looks…

Now, I know that my use of Scottish colloquialisms is going to cause confusion, so I do try to limit my use of words like driech (damp, drizzly and miserable), muckle (big) and glaikit (foolish, vacant)…!

I try to remember to walk on the sidewalk (pavement) and cross at the crosswalk (zebra crossing).

I buy zucchini (courgette), cilantro (coriander) and egg plant (aubergine)!

My son reminds me that he wears his pants (trousers) over his underpants (pants)!?

But, stabilisers got me a blank look the other day!? I should have said training wheels.

Squint only seems to refer to something you do with your eyes, not something being off kilter. It was the 6yo that received the questioning stare for that one!

I had to ask what on earth a rutabaga was – it’s a swede!

Chickpeas are garbanzo beans! Personally I like that one, it gives them a bit of a magic bean vibe…

I cannot bring myself to say diaper, horrible word – they will always be nappies!

I struggle to use stroller rather than buggy, but I’m getting there.

And, I will always be mum – as will every other mom!

17 thoughts on “Life in the US: The unexpected language barrier [1]”

  1. I got odd looks for using the word toilet rather than restroom and obviously the nappy thing since I had a two year old and one year old at the time. You’d have thought I’d grown an extra head or something. Amusing but I was only there for three weeks, I can imagine it getting tiring.
    Garbanzo beans are pretty cool though =)

  2. hahaha, I did giggle at these things. Isn’t it funny how the English language can be so different depending on the country we are in? I often wonder how anybody understands my Northern Ireland colloquialisms – I say driech too.
    My sister lives in New Zealand and they could never understand what she was talking about when she said donkey – with her NI accent it sounded like Dunkie, which to them is a biscuit for dipping in your tea!

    1. Dunkie, love it! I think I speak quite quickly too, which doesn’t help :) I’ve started writing a list of all the words that make me laugh! It’s when the boys come out with them that I have to smile!

  3. So funny isn’t it… We have quite a few Americans at our school, I remember one Mom complaining that the European children say toilet instead of bathroom!! :D

  4. sandinmytoestk

    I can’t believe that about the chickpeas! Biased as I am towards British English, I would struggle in USA too!

  5. I am so glad I found your blog and this very category. I have been lost without it all. Even though we are opposites I am a mom turned mum I can relate to every single encounter and post you have on here. It’s comfort to know someone else understands what it’s like. I struggle with english words daily still after six years. I don’t think it will go away. It’s in us …. I still say zuchini, restroom, diaper, stroller, onesie instead of vest, the list goes on and on. I should conform but I think it’s part of you and I want my kids to know it too. So don’t lose too much of your englishness….. the americans may look at you awkwardly but they love an accent!!!!!! lol I can vouch my husband is british and that accent is why I am in the UK hahahahah

    1. Sara | mumturnedmom

      Even after seven years I’m still finding expressions that aren’t known here! I recently went back to work, and it’s been quite entertaining. They tell me I’m ‘being British’ again when I use a phrase they don’t know :)

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