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Articles Tagged 'language'


Help! Siri Can’t Understand My British Accent

So, I finally caved and bought an iPhone. What can I tell you, I had a coupon for a free case. After unpacking it with the kind of care and attention that’s normally reserved for de-swaddling a sweaty newborn, I caress the glass and accidentally press or swipe something that launches Siri. “Ooh, it’s a […]


10 Words and Phrases That Cause Confusion Between Brits and Americans

There are many opportunities for linguistic confusion between Brits and Americans—slang, Southern slang and pronunciations can all cause blank looks, but there’s a whole category of words poised to confuse, of which we’re often not aware. Chat up In the U.K., this verb means “to hit on” or “talk flirtatiously” with someone. In the U.S. […]

A big full stop

Punctuation Day: Why Do Brits Call a Period a Full Stop?

Should you feel the need, today (September 24) is the perfect day to get out there and correct all of those silly grammatical errors you see everywhere you go. There’s the grocer that puts an apostrophe in with his potatoes, the Facebook snark who uses speech-marks for emphasis so it looks like they’re unsure about […]

France Notre Dame Lighting

10 Place Names Brits and Americans Pronounce Differently

The world is a big place. So big, in fact, that two of its most influential nations—separated as ever by a common language—cannot agree on the pronunciation of many of its place names. Sure, we understand that Americans might not initially be able to pronounce “Leicestershire” or that Brits (writing from experience) will make a […]


5 Words Anglophiles Should Really Use More Often

Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press are currently surveying the way the English language is changing as it leaves the mouths of British people, for the Spoken British National Corpus 2014. It’s a way of keeping track on the sort of words that have recently become more prominent in everyday conversation—iPhone, tweeting, twerk—and those which […]

Lady in an elevator

Five Tiny U.S. Phrases With Opposite Meanings In The U.K.

Two nations sharing a common language will always come up with regional variations in how they choose to express themselves, but some expressions appear to be trying to cause trouble, albeit in a really innocuous way. Why else would simple words doggedly take opposite meanings, depending on where they are used? Why else would you […]

Mint, a Herb with a capital H.

Five Phrases, Five Tiny Differences

Given that the idea of a uniform spelling for any word you’d care to name has only been in existence for a fraction of the time that written language has, you’d think people would make less fuss about tiny regional variations in spelling. Especially when those regions are separated by a huge ocean. Nevertheless, some […]


10 Common British Expressions That Baffle Americans

We may technically speak the same language, but use one of our multitude of bizarre idioms in conversation with a person born and raised in the U.S. and you’ll be met with a, “Huh?” or a, “Sorry, could you repeat that?” These are some British phrases guaranteed to make Americans Google what you just said. […]


10 Common American Expressions That Baffle Brits

You’ve likely heard these bewildering utterances leave the mouths of your American acquaintances, but that doesn’t make them any less perplexing. (Note: many Americans are equally baffled by some of the atrocities below.) “I feel like…” If an American wants to soften an uncomfortably forthright statement, they might front-load it with this fluffy, passive-aggressive pronouncement. […]

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