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When I set up the first page on the subject of language differences I had no idea just how much interest it would evoke. This has resulted in me receiving a great many contributions on the subject but, this in itself, has given me somewhat of a problem.

I have been trying to think of a way to present all that information in an entertaining and yet easy to use format, however, to date, I have not been able to crack the problem. It is far too complex a subject just to create lists and it has also become apparent that there are wide ranging opinions.

In view of all this I have decided to publish visitors' responses on pages in the hope that others will find them of interest.

Hailey Shirakawa comments:-

I currently live in Maine but have lived in Louisiana, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada and California. Every state has a different way of calling one thing and they have absolutely no idea if I say something in the way we say it in New England (like a bubblah. Had no idea till I described it and they said oh you mean water fountain....).

So to me, I use both British and American (mainly New Englander American) English. We had a huge debate if crumpets are biscuits at work. Of course I said absolutely no. And I won the survey. Ha! But they call jam jelly while jelly to me is jello to them. So....yeah it will be fun! Yay! I call door yard (in Maine) which is a driveway in Massachusetts. But I call it highway and breakdown lane (MA) but it’s freeway and shoulder in the west coast. It’s so much fun to me.

So thank you. I’m gonna introduce to my co-workers what clotted cream is and crumpets are. I can’t wait to tell them about spotted dick pudding.

Dave has written -

A Lift in the USA is the thing in a service station/garage (car repair place) that is hydraulic and "lifts" the car in the air to work under.

Garage is a car/truck repair place that does not sell petrol/gasoline.

I have never heard a flagpole called a flagstaff in the US, I'm on the west coast its always a flagpole.

A spanner is also a wrench just an open end type in the US, a box end is called a wrench or box end wrench.

Its a shoelace here in the US too, never heard it called a shoe string.

Class in the US (referring to school) is a hour long in one subject. also called a period. "gym class" "English class" etc.

Parcel in the US is a letter or pouch envelope. Package is a box being sent.

Lavatory is used in the US for institutions, schools, etc. Restroom is used in general public places, and bathroom is used in homes.

Flat in the US is a small one story apartment also called a studio apartment. Apartments are larger and consist of one story or more, two story apt. are also a town house/home.

Trousers is used in the US and is normally a suit pant or old persons pants, pretty much what the other person said.

Minced beef is much finer ground than hamburger in the US.


USA, "Madam", is a formal generic variation of Mrs. (Mistress), used to address a married woman, or a woman who is no longer available for marriage. "Madam" is contracted to Ma'am, in which the apostrophe stands for the missing letter, "d". The use of Ma'am, or Madam, or Madame pertaining to the owner or manager of a house of ill repute finds its origin in the fact that the, "Madame", was not for hire. The specific formal usage of, "Ma'am", pertains only to a married female whose name
is not known.

Otherwise, "Mrs." (Misses) <surname>, is used. In the USA, "Miss", is a formal and proper salutation for an unmarried virgin seeking a husband.

In The USA, an informal, business, or intentionally ambiguous female salutation, primarily used among middle class feminists, is, "Ms." (Miz), a mixture of, "Misses" and "Miss", meaning either Mrs. or Miss. The lower classes, and upper class either use Miss or Mrs., but the middle class has adopted Ms., especially in business relationships involving feminists, lesbians, female judges, female lawyers, or female doctors.

The vast majority of US citizens, both male and female, prefer the traditional salutations, Miss and Mrs..

In the USA, the word, "boot", means a sort of rugged or stylish, calf height or higher footwear, especially with a raised heel. In UK, the word boot refers to the USA meaning, but in UK the rear storage compartment of an automobile is called the, "boot" also. The lid, or top hinged part is called a, "boot lid".

In Wisconsin, USA, a public drinking fountain is called a, "bubbler". Across the Wisconsin border, in Illinois, USA, it is called a, "drinking fountain". If a Wisconsinite travels 10 miles into Illinois, and asks for the location a bubbler, the people have no idea what he's talking about.

Among middle class Caucasian USA, "shoot the breeze", means "to make light conversation", especially to consume excess time. The lower class uses, "jaw", referring to the movement of the lower jaw when speaking. Examples are, "We were just shooting the breeze." and "I was jawing with them truckers." (semi haulers).

Among African American inner city ghetto dwellers, the term, "you straight?", or "we straight?", means, "Do you feel your were treated equitably?" or "Is everything between us equitable?", especially as a courtesy gesture from a drug dealer to a client.

Also among African Americans, "horn", is a term used to define a device to hold "crack" (free base) cocaine for smoking. If a suburban dweller abuses crack cocaine, and seeks the drug in an urban African American community, and the person doesn't know what a horn is, the drug dealers know they can dispense small quantities for a given price, and the suburbanite won't know he's being cheated.

Lower class USA slang for inflicting a wound with a firearm is, "Cap his ass", originating in the name of toys from the 1970s, made to resemble a real firearm, that used tiny packets of gun powder to make a sound like a real firearm, albeit a much softer sound. In the United States, between 1940 and 1960, grade school aged boys frequently carried firearms with them to school, because public schools offered classes to hone skill in the use of firearms. There were no recorded firearm related injuries attributable to this practice, but to foreigners to the USA, the concept of 12 year old boys being encouraged to bring rifles to school is unusual.

"Ripped off", in USA slang means, "cheated" in some way. But it does not refer to "infidelity" between lovers or spouses, which is called, "cheating" also. "He cheated on me!", means he had intimate relations with another girl during a time he was supposed to be my exclusive lover, which is implicit in Western style marriage.

"Beat up", is USA slang for being on the receiving end of battery, or assault without use of weapons. "He got beat up!"







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