Two Countries separated by a Common Language-America and the United Kingdom

I have taken a few of my recent posts to talk about some of the more interesting things about working outside the USA.  Today I will spend a little time giving you another learning opportunity I gained while on these two most recent trips.  The first paragraph will be a short story about some of the things I did while in England  The second will be a “translation” showing how it would be different in “American English.”  No bias or preference is intended, but I think some of the word usages will be of great interest.  Too often we make assumptions based on what we hear others say and do.  This paragraph should be an indication that we sometimes need to put our assumptions aside.

 

“During my recent trip to England I flew directly from the US to London Heathrow and after standing in the queue for almost 2 hours to get through customs I stopped at the loo when I got through.  After making this stop I proceeded to ride on a coach to the Bournemouth area and while on the motorway we saw many lorries    driving in both directions.  There were many service areas on the motorway and occasionally we saw garages at the service areas.  When we arrived at Bournemouth we stayed at a hotel and we saw a gentleman watering plants with a hosepipe.  We had fish and chips for dinner that evening and after dinner we had some crisps   and a fizzy  for a snack before we turned in for the evening.”

Translated version

 

“During my recent trip to England I flew directly from the US to London Heathrow and after standing in line for almost 2 hours to get through customs I stopped at the bathroom when I got through.  After making this stop I proceed to ride a bus to the Bournemouth area and while on the Interstate-type highway we saw many trucks driving in both directions.  There were many exits with service stations on the highway and we occasionally saw gas stations in these service areas.  When we arrived at Bournemouth we stayed in a hotel and we saw a gentleman watering plants with a garden hose.  We had fish and French fries for dinner and after dinner we had some potato chips and a soft drink for a snack before we turned in for the evening.”

For some of you this will be completely understandable while for others there will be word usages you would never have imagined.  The phrase “hose pipe” was of special interest to me since that is a common phrase in the Middle Tennessee area, but it is never used in the Midwest or other parts of the country I know well.

The moral of the story is this; assumptions based on words can be misleading.  Always strive to completely understand the other party so that you will not make an assumption that is unintended.

 

Have you had similar experiences?  What word usage can you share that may have been unintended by others?