Life in the US: The unexpected language barrier [3]

The other day, while waiting to pick up the 7yo from school I made a comment about the wee girls hair.

I described it as unruly (which it is!).

This caused one of the moms to exclaim that she wished she had an accent so that she could get away with saying interesting words like that.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say!

It did make me realise though, that even after a year, my accent is still a talking point. And, while my sons’ accents get slowly more American, I suspect that mine, at times, gets more Scottish. In a stubborn kind of a way.

Having said that, there are now a remarkable number of American words sneaking into our everyday language. Largely as a result of the boys changing and adapting vocabulary, they (of course) now use the words that their teachers and friends use.

Sweets have become candy. Biscuits are cookies (and if you’re looking for a crunchy biscuit rather than a chewy cookie, you want a crispy cookie…).

One’s bum is definitely now one’s butt. We absolutely do not go to the loo or the toilet, we use the bathroom or the restroom!

We play in the back yard and we do yard work.

We don’t have rubbish anymore, we have trash and it doesn’t go in the bin – it goes in the trash!

Pop fastenings are snaps. Petrol is gas, despite being a liquid… (and yes, I know it’s short for gasoline!). Trainers are sneakers.

Our buggy is now a stroller. And I put the stroller in the trunk not the boot to go to the store, not the shop!

Lego has gained an ‘s’ and become Legos. Maths has lost it’s ‘s’ and become Math.

When arranging to meet, It is no longer quarter to four, it’s quarter of four.

I continue to receive quizzical looks on a regular basis. Most recently I referred to the wee girl’s cot and was asked if I meant crib. I still cannot say diaper, and this causes no end of confusion – why am I taking the wee girl to the bathroom for a nap?!

But, I’m still mum. Unless the 7yo wants to wind me up :)

I’ve linked this post up to #PoCoLo from Verily, Victoria Vocalises.

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24 thoughts on “Life in the US: The unexpected language barrier [3]”

  1. I too have discovered how many simple every day words are different here in the US from UK. I also find myself telling my kids the ‘English’ translation for words in the books they bring home to read.

  2. our new phrases are creeping in too but we have kept hold of garden, petrol, nappy, rubbish, bin and trainers so maybe we are doing pretty well. I couldn’t even think of the American word for wheelie bin when I had to contact the waste people to get it replaced. I’m definitely never becoming Mom but I accept Mama from my youngest.

  3. I am so very British that I find Americanisms over here really hard – but I think they are understandable over there. When in Rome and all that! Still can’t get over their spelling though. I had a Speak n Spell my parents brought me back from the States and I remember having arguments with it over the spelling of colour!! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo :) x

  4. When staying in another country, it’s inevitable that you’ll pick up it’s lingo. But it’s hard to give up an accent that you grew up with. Next time someone mentions your accent, take it as a compliment!

  5. Emma from over at LIFE AS IT IS

    Sara, I love this. I lived in the States for a long time and I still use a lot of americanisms. It’s rather nice too when I do, as it reminds me of such fond memories. Enjoy being special!

  6. Love this post, as I know how many strange looks we get each time we have visited the states. Last time we came, we had a list of new words for the boy then 5 and he thinks its mad, especially the chips, fries debate!

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