Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I finally ended up buying boxes of books on the subject from Amazon, and then another box of Enid Blighton's books. On the subject of translating British into American, I recommend this one. Of course.
Later I learned there were nuances and variations WITHIN the UK as well. The Welsh have some words. Irish have special words. Scots? Never mind Scots. The Aussies and South Africans have their own weird lists. I found out why you are called Poms by those people. I thought "kak" was Afrikaans. (Turns out it's just your "cack".) I know what a stunned mullet is now, but I don't hang around Aussies much anymore.
But soon I realized you couldn't just make a list for me because, except for the obvious, you really didn't know you were using words and phrases that were "special" to an American. Basically, I stopped asking you and started reading. If I came across something I couldn't figure out on my own, I asked you what it meant and when it was supposed to be used. I don't know why. It was just fun.
My list grew and grew. Some words on it now are pretty absurd. Mainly I get words and phrases from you by reading blogs and newspaper posts and their comments. Outraged comments to newspaper posts, mostly political, are a very good source of British specialized profanity too, by the way.
I haven't shared any with you in a long time. This blog has long since branched out from learning only your words to learning about your country, history, habits. I basically live a life of analysis, and you are a never-ending source. "Fodder" I would call it if you weren't reading this right now.
From time to time I try to make a post on this blog which is germane to the reason it was started. This is one of those posts. Here are some new ones added to my list within the past week or so, along with some old friends.
keep (in a store (shop), instead of "stock")
directed/redirected (mail: addressed/forwarded)
bottle (courage, gumption)
go off the boil
cuddy (this is probably Scotish. A kind of horse)
turn up (not "turnip") :)
ends in tears
bung (not a keg plug)
silencers (not used for guns)
tarting it up
Old friends: Candy floss, film wrap, pillar box, pants, dog's bollocks, carriageway, roundabout, tube. If you know all these, then you are either a long-time reader or... one of THEM. :) :)