Which is the best British vs. US English? 1.

A couple of weeks ago, I was researching for the British English (Br) vs. American English (US) Tuesday Teaser post and found a comprehensive list of differences. You could run along, copy & paste the list and print out 11 sheets of A4 paper (think about the trees!!!!!) or you could read my ‘Fun on Friday‘ series about what I learnt.

We have to start with the word ‘titbit‘ (Br) for obvious reasons. At the very beginning in Nov 2015 somebody asked whether I had misspelt the name of my blog, i.e. shouldn’t it really be ‘tidbits‘ (like the US spelling).

I got defensive, threw a wobbly and wrote back “of course, I bloody hadn’t“(I didn’t really!!! I just thought it makes the story that little more dramatic). Thankfully this is one difference, which I already knew about.

Here, now, are 5 things that I’ve learnt and /or think you may find useful in Alphabetical order:

  1. Imagine if you will a fantastic goal scored during a live game, we Brits talk about an “action replay“ when the televising channels replay the goal again a few seconds later. The Americans of the other hand use “instant replay“– actually makes more sense. 0-1 US English.
  2. You know when you read the “problem pages“ of magazines, we call them the “agony aunt“, compared with US “advice columnist“ – more apt but “agony aunt” I think has more panache. 1-1
  3. “Bank holiday (BH)“ (Br) vs. “legal holiday“ (US), originally Brits called it a BH because the banks closed – logical, and it stuck. However, LH also makes perfect sense, so a draw 2-2!
  4. In Britain, we talk about the “(the) black economy“, whereas the Americans use “(the) underground economy“. Here the US seems more logical, giving the impression of a ‘secretive‘ economy.  2-3 US English. However, what about this, “black“ also gives the notion of something bad/negative/naughty? I wonder if there is a connection to the German ”Schwarzarbeit” or in other words ‘moonlighting/work on the side/illicit employment or work’?
  5. Finally, 2-4 to US English with the word “eggplant“ aka “aubergine“ (Br). Just love the word. I guess Americans must have large chickens.

What about a few spelling issues:

Aeroplane = airplane

Aluminium = aluminum

Anticlockwise = counterclockwise

Titbitonians, the US English won the first round (2-4) of “Which is the best British vs. US English?” Hope you enjoyed this first chapter and it cleared up a few tidbits, sorry titbits.

Keep a look out for the next chapter of “Which is the best British vs. US English 2?”

Have a great weekend.

comprehensive (umfassend), to misspell (falsch schreiben), to throw a wobbly (ausrasten), bloody (verdammt),  agony aunt / advice columnist (Kummerkastentante), apt (passend), panache (elan), draw (hier: Punktgleichheit), whereas (wahrend), to give the impression (den Eindruck machen), however (jedoch), notion (Gedanke)

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