Though I have been to England before, it is always an adjustment when relocating. As an American going to London, communication may not be at the top of the worry list; both countries speak English. However, there are certain words/phrases that might blindside someone not originally from the UK. I know I don’t speak for all Americans, and the encounters I’ve had here do not represent every encounter one would have with a local. However, with my recent experiences, here are a couple of things that may cause confusion between two English-speaking people:
- Not hearing someone correctly
- American: What?
- Brit: Sorry? or Hey?
- This one is quite funny to me. There was a fellow intern at my workplace who is from the UK. When she asked me to repeat myself, she’d simply say, “Hey?” and I’d be like “….Hi?” It definitely took some time to recognise that it wasn’t a randomly placed greeting.
- Another interesting tidbit I learned is that saying “what?” comes across as rude, regardless of the tone of voice. I have been trying to convert from “what?” to “sorry?” Will update on my progress.
- Nature calls
- American: Bathroom, restroom, toilet, potty (depending on age of speaker), etc.
- Brit: Loo
- This is a more commonly-known difference, however it still caught me off-guard when my boss asked me to “restock the loo paper.”