Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

U.S. VS. U.K. ENGLISH

I’m a cultural Anglophile. If it a cast member of a movie or TV show has a British accent or a book is set in the UK, it must be high culture.

There are a lot of differences between American English vs. British English: some I’ve known for years: e.g., pissed (drunk); flat (apartment), boot (car trunk), bonnet (car hood), lift (elevator). With the help of Chef Google, I have even figured out foods, like saveloy (a spicy sausage) and bubble and squeak (a cabbage dish). I can sometimes manage to decode Cockney rhyming slang (trouble and strife = wife).

But there are two Britishisms which are either new or I’ve only recently become aware of.

One is a strange grammatical usage, saying “I was sat” instead of “I was sitting.” Example: “He was sat in the chair reading a book.” It just sounds “wrong” to me. It wasn’t as if an usher had come in and sat the person in the chair.

The other is more humorous. I became aware of it when a character on a show mentioned buying a pot plant as a gift. My first thought was, “How interesting. They sell marijuana as house plants in London.” Then I realized it wasn’t a pot plant but a potted plant (and not in the sense of drunk).

Anyone have other examples that have puzzled you?

Comments on: "U.S. VS. U.K. ENGLISH" (2)

  1. Well… the “I was sat” I’ve seen mostly used to mean that someone gave them that seat, like someone had name places for the guests, or a reserves seat on a train. But yes, I have heard that from my UK friends.

  2. Heather Downey said:

    Ilene, on Classic FM (the classical musical radio station I listen to via internet) one of the “presenters” (radio host) referred to television as the telly box, which I love.

    They also have a saying, “a whole shed load” which surprised me when I first heard it thinking they were actually swearing on air until I realized it was “shed” and not what we would say in North America.

    Heather

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