Friday, 6 November 2015

Yankee-Brit Confusion

Well, despite me living here for twenty five years I'm still having language problems.

The other morning I was doing my usual chivvying-of-the-12 year old, when he realized with some horror, that he'd forgotten to charge his I-pad (which they use in school). Some teachers are OK about this and allow them to plug it in during class, and others (probably quite rightly) get slightly annoyed as the charging interferes with the work the student is supposed to be doing.

So the conversation went like this -

Me - What's your first lesson?
Him - Always charge your I-Pad if it's at 70% or less.
Me - I know, but what's your first lesson?
Him - I just told you.

Light bulb.

Me - Oh, I mean, what's your first class?

I know they say "class" so I'm not sure why "lesson" popped out, and I think I was more surprised that he misunderstood me. Sigh.

Reminds me of the time the older son had to write a story about his holiday traditions, so I helped him write a long piece about our annual trips to England. He brought it home the next day to do over again - because the teacher had used "holiday" in the American sense (naturally) meaning Christmas and New Year. Sigh.

Learning all the time!


  1. You should definitely make a book of these, as someone has suggested - they are pure gold x

  2. There are just so many nuances aren't there...even though I don't live there any more I write for an American publication, and my colleagues are always ribbing me for writing things they don't understand. The other day they thought it was hilarious that I referred to "lettuces". Which, apparently, they never say in the US - it's always lettuce singular. They thought it was really quaint - like maths versus maths.

  3. Trust me, I am living it from the other side. I just posted about our embarrassing experience learning what the British word 'naturist' means.

  4. The English language is a wonderful thing — and almost too flexible for its own (or its users) good!


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