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30 Britishisms used by Americans


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Don't get your knickers in a twist, Camy. I continue to cling to my use of the term 'sidewalk' over your 'pavement' for the pedestrian path separated by a 'curb' (not 'kerb') from the road or street (not 'carriageway').


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And I don't have tyres on my car and my car doesn't have a boot! And the second floor on my house is actually called the second floor! So, there! :icon_tongue:

I think the popularity of "cheeky monkey" (as listed in the article) stems from Craig Ferguson, a Scotsman who hosts a late night talk show on CBS. And, because I read so many books and stories by British authors, I pick up Britishisms without realizing it. I often say I'm "keen" about something or accuse a smart-ass of "cheek." Unlike the comment in the article, I don't think use of "bloody" over here is as much pretentious as it is just a reflection of hearing it more frequently than before. I think kids say it because Ron Weasley says it so much in the Harry Potter movies.

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I don't use any of those words in conversation. It would sound affected to me to do so. I love them, however, love hearing them and seeing them. But I don't use them, and cannot remember ever hearing anyone else use them, either. I mean, would any of us chaps actually say, "Hey, mate, where's the loo?"

Maybe, as you guys seem to hear other Americans use them, I just don't get out enough.


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Don't get your knickers in a twist, Camy. I continue to cling to my use of the term 'sidewalk' over your 'pavement' for the pedestrian path separated by a 'curb' (not 'kerb') from the road or street (not 'carriageway').


Just so you know the real word for the sidewalk, pavement etc., is in Australian (the world reference for these things) called the 'footpath'.

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Australians have had to become multi-English-lingual because of our British heritage legacy and our being subjected to American TV and movies. It's not unusual to hear young people speak in tongues with words and phrases derived from American and British English. Of course it gets a little more complicated when we add our own unique phrases and we are forever punctuating our speech with the vernacular of the vulgar kind.

Despite running into the odd unfamiliar word, we are surprised at the difficulty Americans seem to have in grasping the intuitive meaning of Australian and English phrases. This often leads me to having to claim that I speak three languages; English, Australian and American. I am still studying the sub-dialects of Scotland and South Africa, but can generally fathom my way around the weird accents even if they do make my ears bleed.

I note that many people seem to lack the inquisitive nature that leads to absorbing the variations of words and their usage. This is a pity because it can lead to a rich tapestry of meanings and sounds that can enliven our communication, and our characters in our stories. Care must be taken not to overdo it but it can be fun and entertaining when used appropriately.

If AwesomeDude was an Australian site it might well be called, AwesomeCobber, except that 'dude' has been adopted into the youth culture now for some years.

The big thing about English is that it is so damn accommodating and flexible in so many sub-cultures of any given country.

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Des, is there a distinction between a paved footpath and an unpaved one, explicit in the language itself? C

I don't think so, Cole. We have footpaths that are coated in bitumen, or are concrete slabs laid in situ. Many suburban councils are now ripping up the concrete and/or the bitumen to replace them with brick 'pavers'. It is claimed that the pavers are cheaper to maintain and look nicer. We have very few 'unpaved' paths in the suburbs now. Plain dirt paths running parallel to the roadway are very rare except in the more remote country towns.

Unsealed dirt paths through parks and open land are called 'tracks', but even those are being sealed in high foot-traffic areas.

We might have once observed that a footpath is 'not sealed' (meaning neither concreted or bitumenised), but it was still called 'the footpath'.

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Yeah, the local councils are just lucky that Aussies are less likely to sue than our American dude type mates. It's not unusual to see someone 'go-a-gutser' (fall on the stomach) because they tripped on uneven brick pavers. But there are regulations in place that ensure the bricks are laid within a certain amount of evenness.

(We have regulations for nearly everything.)

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I love Britishisms used only by the Brits. They crop up continually in British writing, things that are simply not said over here. Things like:

Please come through

A penny for them

Changes on the estate

Looking at my arse

In the high street

Putting the kettle on, which of course goes with:

Having a brew

Entering the gate in the hedge

Having a full English breakfast, followed by high tea

Getting things sorted

Having a row

And many more. Those just come to mind as I try to remember. Reading things like this always elevates my mood. I imagine there are Americanism that do the same, but they're common to me. There's an exotic quality in these phrases.


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Interesting article. I've heard all of those used EXCEPT for "Chav" (I've seen it used online, but always assume there's a Brit typing it), "Numpty" (Never heard that one in my life), and "Skint" (Again, never heard of that one until this article). Some of them have been so common that I didn't even know they were British imports (Sussed, Wonky, Pop Over, Queue, Autumn).

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