A Few Thoughts from Aunt Doris: The Same ... But Different

This is another post in an occasional series from my dear nonagenarian Aunt Doris.

A couple of ripe to-mah-toes.

When I came to this country I said to myself, “At least I don’t have to learn another language!”

Well, yes and no.

Just like there are difference between American and English hand gestures, our languages are slightly different too. There’s the matter of pronunciation.

I say “tomahto,” but you say “tomato.” No.

And unlike Americans, the English always sound out the letter “t.” So while we say “butter” and “Harry Potter,” most Americans say something along the lines of  “budder” and “Harry Podder”!

To this day when I say “squirrel” my grandsons stare at me and laugh because I pronounce every letter in the word.

Doris

Aunt Doris

The English spell words differently too.  Since coming to America, I now spell “tire” with an “i” instead of a “y.”

I’ve also learned to drop the letter “u” in lots of words like “color” and “neighborhood.”

English expressions are different too. My American daughter-in-law, Chris, loves to use the English idiom “half a mo,” which means “just a minute” — and she does it with a good English accent too!

There are other English expressions. Any one who is overdressed is said to be “done up like a dog’s dinner.” When somebody makes me mad, I like calling people “pompous twits” instead of “dummies.” Also, when something is rubbish I’ll get a few looks by saying “codswallop!”

I’ve often thought of writing an English-American dictionary. I already have a Cockney-English dictionary, but that’s another story!

One advantage I do have is whenever I “happen” to swear, people usually just smile and say, “Oh, the way you say that is so cute!”

Cheerio for now,

Aunt Doris

Photo Credit: Buck

4 comments to A Few Thoughts from Aunt Doris: The Same … But Different

  • Yes, I’ve noticed my fellow American’s tendency to slide t’s into d’s, which can be confusing if distinguishing between the latter and a ladder.

    When I studied German in college (actually university, but for some reason we always say college), I found out the Germans do the opposite: slide d’s into t’s at the end of a word, so “hund” (dog) is pronounced closer to “hunt”.

    Then there’s the whole issue of word usage, such as (from US to British):

    Underwear -> Pants
    Pants -> Trousers
    Soccer -> Football
    Bus -> Coach
    Tractor-trailer -> Articulated lorry
    Bandaid -> Sticky plaster

    One thing I’ve never figured out: How do you ask for an Ace bandage in Britain? This assumes there are Ace bandages in Britain…. :)

    “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.” –Oscar Wilde

  • tracee

    You are the best!!!

  • shuckens, you don’t need to go outside of the U.S.A. to know this. you can go to different sections of this nation and you have to basically relearn a whole new language or way of communication.

  • TX CatsMeow

    My favorite English spelling is Jewellery. It just seems fancier with more letters than Jewelry. I love the Aunt Doris pieces!

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