As the resident English person in my area, I am holding the fort for the use of British English – even in the face of confusion, and often outright amusement – and still refuse to pronounce aluminium as “al-oo-min-num” and call courgettes and aubergines, zucchinis and eggplants. Here are some more lost in translation moments …
Most recent amusements were all centred around a trip to a grocery store. It all started when I excitedly exclaimed that a bollard I nearly walked into was almost as tall as me … the American fell into fits of giggles as he had no idea what I had just said, and indeed thought I had referred to something very, very different … I am sure you can imagine!
As I was embarrassed I told him to sod off which only made the laughter worse and it all then descended into a very silly shopping trip not becoming of two grown-ups. Adulting was difficult that day, as the American spent most of it mocking my accent and asking if I would like a cup of tay – how he thinks I say tea.
Here is a quick round up of the lost in translation moments …
bollards | as in ‘those bollards are huge’ are not man parts as thought by the America, but the posts to stop vehicles from crashing into the store front
trolley | a shopping trolley to me but a shopping cart to everyone else
sod off | is the equivalent to ‘get lost’ but clearly, not as effective, as the American had no idea what I was saying
bits and bobs | often used by me when I say we need a few random things from the store which is not to be confused with ‘odds and sods’ (see below)
odds and sods | a phrase used by my father to name the box/drawer he used to put that junk nobody knows what it is or where it came from or if it has any use – commonly called the junk drawer here or, more amusingly … the man drawer (very funny clip about that below)
And the final hilarity was more to do with my accent and when I said the tulips in store smelled lovely, the American said it sounded like I was saying two lips. Oh, what fun!
Do you know or use some words or phrases that are lost in translation when you use them? Do you know any more British or American words that just do not make any sense to you or cause some amusement? Leave a comment if you do!