Transitions aren't easy. Sometimes I wish I could leap forward in time, skip the whole bumpy road of transition and go right to the change. Here in England, it has been a slow journey of learning new spellings, new words, and sometimes even a new language. I enjoy most of it (maybe it's in the blood), but there are words/pronunciations that still feel weird and foreign. Some are even downright uncomfortable. Here are just a few:
1) Pants - this word hits the top of my list. Pants mean underwear here, pants my whole life in the US meant trousers. Granted, I never describe someone's trousers as 'pants' anymore, and even laugh when American visitor friend does. BUT I just can't use the word to describe my undergarments (nor can I use the word knickers). Doesn't work for me.
2) Pecan - The Brits sound a little Alabama backwoodsy when they pronounce this word. I say 'peh - cahn'. My friends say 'pee can'. A PEE CAN folks? Maybe because they don't have many pecans here (I do miss the pecan pie sometimes), they just pronounce it differently.
3) Fillet - The Brits sound so smooth in many of their pronunciations, and considering they live right across the water from France you would think they would pronounce it 'fil - leh' like Americans do. But no, they say 'fill - it' with a big, hard 't' on the end. Even in a small town USA McDonalds they say 'fil - leh' 'o fish. Huh?
4) Trump - Having children I learned fast that this word means 'fart'. Makes sense especially when your 8-year-old rips one out and it sounds like a trumpet, followed of course by hysterical laughter. I used to say 'trump' to sound a little intelligent, such as 'and I trumped his argument with my wise comeback', or I used it in card games. Now I just sounded like I farted. Hmmm.
5) Swimming baths/swimming costume - This is a swimming pool and swimsuit. But when I hear someone say they are going to a swimming bath with their swimming costume, I mentally picture spiderman fighting crime in a bath tub, or something like that. I just can't get used to it.
6) Aluminium - Pronounced 'al-u-min-ee-um' There is an extra 'i' in the Brit way of using this word. I forget all the time, it just doesn't roll off the tongue. So I now say foil, or tin foil - saves the effort of trying to remember.
7) Oregano/Basil - As a decent cook (but I am a horrid baker), I love my fresh herbs. I can't force myself to pronounce these the Brit way: 'or-ee-gone -oh' and 'bah-zill' . OK, may I can do 'bah-zil', but 'or-ee-gone-oh'? Nope.
And last, but certainly not least . . .
8) Rubber - When I first heard this from my kids, I almost went into panic mode, 'Look mummy, I got a new rubber!'. What are they giving four-year-olds at school??? But no, they call pencil erasers 'rubbers'. Seriously. I have to keep from smirking every time one of my kids ask for 'a rubber' when they are doing their homework.
So there you go - - another cultural confession of an American in the UK.
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