Becky says things about … being lost in translation

Greetings to you all, most splendid listeners! I have acquired a few more of you since my last post on being cheerful had the glorious fortune to be Freshly Pressed; and, as the majority of you are either from my own humble Englandland or from across the pond in Americaland, I shall say hello in both languages:

English: Good day to you, my old chums! Salutations and hello there!

American: Yo, bud! Waassuuuuuuup??? Hey y’all, how YOU doin’???

translation2

If you excellent Americans have gleaned from the above that we English think you actually talk like that all the time and that you are a nation of  Budweiser-swigging, gangsta-Paula Deen-Joey-from-Friends incarnations, then you are sadly correct.

You see, we in Englandland just can’t grasp your language. Yes we know it’s essentially the same language as ours, but there are such monumental differences, my American pals, such crucial and paramount disparities that we just can’t cope with.  

For example.

You have no idea how a simple greeting from you can throw us English into blind panic.

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We have literally no idea how to answer this question. Do you even mean it as a question? Is it rhetorical?

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If it’s rhetorical, you need to tell us. We are a great nation, but we cannot handle a question so early into a conversation.

This language barrier has also prevented potentially millions of English people from getting jobs in America. Ever wondered why there are so few English people working in your office? This is due to a simple yet crucial difference in the language of architecture: your buildings start on the first floor and move up to the second. Our buildings start on the ground floor and move up to the first. Do you know how many job interviews have been missed, how many hopes and dreams have been slashed, due to this massively important difference?

translation1

But sometimes, America, you’re not just content with moving floors around, you take a word that we can cope with, that we think we understand and you make it mean something else! At school I read the entire To Kill A Mockingbird weeping at the injustice of inequality, rejoicing at the vigour of the human spirit, revelling in the beauty of the writing, and wondering incessantly what the hell Scout was talking about when she mentioned her bangs. 

translation6

Listener, I did not learn what bangs were until about a year ago. For those of my fellow Englishmen who still have no notion: bangs means fringe. As in, the hair that covers our foreheads.

Yes.

I know.

No, I have no idea how they came up with bangs, either.

But bangs is nothing. Nothing, I tell you.

NOTHING compared to the brilliantly astounding lost-in-translation moment that accompanies an American talking about their fanny.

**Pause to allow my English listeners to smirk quietly to themselves.**

translation7

You see, America, we English find the fact that you use the word ‘fanny’ to mean ‘bottom’, unfathomably amusing. I recently told the lovely Lizzy from Big Body Beautiful that I had finally come to like my rather rotund bottom. Lizzy beautifully replied that she was delighted that I was ‘sending pleasing thoughts to my fanny’. This amused me tremendously. 

Oh, America. You wear fanny packs. You sit on your fanny. You want your fanny to be bigger / smaller / thinner / plumper / wider / juicier (enjoying this, England?) – and we English at first gape open-mouthed, and then laugh and laugh and laugh.

Why?

Because here in England, fanny does not mean bottom. Here in England, fanny means

translation8

THAT is why we find a nice American girl saying she’s been working on her fanny to try and tone it up insanely amusing. It is also why I was tormented for years by the aching, unanswerable question of why the hell anyone would invent a fanny pack. 

translation9

And as for the biscuit debacle. Well. How do you think we feel when we see American breakfast menus advertising biscuits and gravy? It throws us into turmoil. A nice, sweet digestive biscuit covered in gravy??? Are they demented??? Our biscuits are your cookies. Would you want your cookies smothered in gravy? Of course you wouldn’t. That is why the concept both startles and repels us. And what about the Great Chips / Fries palaver? We go to America and order steak and chips expecting this:

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

And instead get this:

Courtesy of @alz

Courtesy of @alz

Displeasing.

But perhaps the greatest example of a potentially fatal translation problem comes from a friend who had the following conversation with a policeman (or police officer, if you will) in Manhattan, New York, at around midnight. In the late ’80s.

Behold.

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True story, Listener. True story.

So, my lovely American buddies, the next time an English person chortles manically when you say you’ve got an itchy fanny, or gapes bemusedly when you say you need to straighten your bangs, or whispers ‘Sss’ when you say ‘Do the Math’ (it’s Maths, America, Maths), you know why. We’re not being rude, we’re just confused.

172 Comments

Filed under Adventures of Stickman, Life eh?, Mishaps, People, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

172 responses to “Becky says things about … being lost in translation

  1. Another awesome post… I’m from England and I always cringe when I hear the word ‘fanny’ being used on American TV programmes.

  2. It’s one of my favourite (or should I say favorite) subjects – I wrote about it a while back. When we lived in the States I got in a real mess talking about dirty bums, and asking if anyone had a rubber they could lend me. I ended up shaking my head whilst my French hubby said “I thought you spoke English?”. My answer was that yes, I speak English. But in the US, they speak American. :-)

  3. Just to give you the heads up, if you do want fries in America, you must call them “freedom fries” because we’re kind of awesome like that with our raging xenophobia.

    But I do have to say, I do not understand why you Brits spell things like theater as theatre or center as centre. This makes me feel dumbtre.

  4. Freshly Pressed and I missed it because I was on a mental hiatus? I hate myself now. I really learned a great deal here, Becks, so thanks for that! Can u say Becks? That’s American for Becky I think. Rotund bottom and fanny vagina thoughts will make this day fly by!!

  5. What do you mean OUR language?! You invented it! We just commandeered and bastardized it.

    For the record, my boss’s boss is a Brit. Married to a Jamaican, no less!

    In addition to a hair style and the sound a firearm makes, bangs means something else. Are you aware? We’ve corrupted it well beyond your original intent.

    Until just this moment, I did not know about fanny. God, that’s funny! When I talk to my boss’s boss, I’m going to try to incorporate it into every facet of our conversation.

    Color does NOT have a “u” in it. Just sayin’.

    Becky, I really love your blog. You write gooder than anyone.

    • dominicgalley

      Becky you are quite simply A LEGEND! Thank you for making me smile

    • PLEASE try to incorporate ‘fanny’ into every conversation, it would make the day go so much quicker ;)
      And colour DOES have a ‘u’ in it. Just sayinG :)
      What else does ‘bangs’ mean???
      Thanks for your lovely comment dude (nice little Americanism there, to show that I’m up to speed with your isms ;) )

  6. Kay

    *still smirking* I have American friends and so many of these make me laugh!

  7. amb

    You and Stickman were Freshly Pressed !!! Woot !!! *happy dance*. This post cracked me up. Oh, and Becky, may I say, my Canadian heart so appreciates all of your lovely British spellings. They’re my favourite!

  8. Freshly Pressed again? You are awesome….although I feel Stickman deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

    Incidentally, I am from the State of New York, and Texans think we all talk like that too. In my entire life I have never uttered the word yo in conversation.

    • What???? But I thought EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN, NO MATTER WHAT STATE THEY ARE FROM, say ‘YO’ ALL THE TIME?????? I am so disappointed that I shall never visit your country again.
      Come to think of it – I have been to New York, New England, California, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, and didn’t hear ANYONE say ‘Yo’.

      I need to go to Texas.

  9. Actually our English is closer to the Elizabethan…maybe the Brits have just progressed more. I made the mistake of once telling a Brit friend “I’m so pissed right now.” As you can imagine, she was a bit worried that I was drunk at work. In actuality, I was just angry.

  10. As a budweiser-mouthed American, I have to say that your version of the language (or, the proper version as Jeremy Clarkson keeps saying) actually grows on some of us rather rapidly. After merely watching a few shows on BBCA for a few months, I honestly and accidentally called french fries ‘chips’ in the presence of my wife. She not only laughed at me for a very long time, but has dubbed me an anglophile based on this simple little slip. As I heard someone once put it, we are using the same words to speak different languages. Keep up the great work. Your commentary has quickly become a favorite.

    • a) Jeremy Clarkson is what you would call a douchebag, and what we would call a knob;
      b) The chips / fries thing is the single most difficult thing that Americans and English people have to deal with when visiting each other’s respective countries;
      c) Thank you for your lovely comment :)

  11. Your vagina pack drawing just about killed me. I’m with Exile, I will now make it my mission to use the word fanny all day every day.

  12. Twindaddy

    Congrats on being Pressed? Also, you’re American is a bit rusty.

  13. I worked with someone who was English and she mentioned how “homely” my house was. I was astonished at her cruel comment. Took a while to sort out, but finally realized that what you Brits mean by by “homely” is what we call “homey”. The real issue is that homely, in the US, means ugly. As Winston Churchill said, the US & England are 2 countries separated by the same language.

  14. I just laugh so hard reading this and i´m not from either country! This was very informative, thank you! Really, Really good!

  15. Becky-baby!!

    Hahahahahahahaha! LOVE this post! As you promised, it is a doozey. Wait, don’t tell me! I just used a British word that means um… well, shagging in a coat closet (or something equally naughty). Hahahahahaha!!!

    Thank you so much for the pingback to my little Bloggy-Wog, honey. You da bomb! OMG, someone stop me before I sin again! But, in all seriousness, you are completely adorbs and I love your writing, your humor, your sticks. and of course, YOU!

    Me and my fanny will shut up now. :) hahahahaa!

  16. Little does the rest of the English speaking world know, most Americans are born with a tiny benign gangsta shaped tumor in the left hemisphere of the brain (on the CT scans, it´s doing a pose very similar to Mr. Stickman´s). This is what causes us to say things like, “Wassup, home skillet! Let´s get some FRENCH FRIES up in this bitch, yo!”

    On behalf of English speakers on this side of the pond, I´d like to say I´m sorry that we confuse you. I´m sure if I were to visit your beautiful country, I would be equally confused. Feel free to laugh at any hilarious mistakes I may make if I end up going there. =)

    • Oh God, I wish my American was as good as yours ;) I would LOVE to be able to get away with saying ‘up in this bitch, yo!’ after every time I said I wanted something. ‘Let’s get me some motherf*kkin milk up in this bitch tea, yo!’
      No.
      It just doesn’t sound right. ;)

  17. Very funny post my dear! I’d be curious to hear what you and Stickman would have to say about Canadians…food for thought :-)

  18. No matter how many times I read about the differences between British and American English, it’s always amusing! Thanks for the funny! Although I have to say, I had a similar moment of panic as the first example when I moved to the UK and someone asked my “You all right?” Um…!!! Yes? Do I look ill?! Why do you ask??? Well I am feeling a little run down…
    Also I didn’t know about fanny so thanks, (not that I ever use that word, since I’m under age 55) I’ll be extra sure not to use it around my British friends.

    • Hahaaha I suppose we do say ‘You alright,’ which, if anything, is more of a confusing greeting that ‘What’s up?’ because it does imply an element of concern…!
      And if you DO use ‘fanny’ in front of your British friends, be prepared for the smirks :)

  19. Lol, I can never hear the words ‘fanny’ or ‘fag’ without laughing, after reading this. :lol:

  20. TK

    As an American, I laughed all the way through this. I remember bangs coming up when I studied abroad in Ireland. While I have no idea who came up with the idea that the hair hanging over your forehead should be called bangs, the word fringe makes no sense to me either.

    But fanny? Who even uses that word anymore? I think I need to bring it back.

    • May

      Fringe like the, well, fringey bit on the bottom of a blanket for example? Or is that a British use of the word too? It’s the edge of your hair, maybe? I actually don’t know!

      • Yeah, that’s a fringe too. I actually think I’m starting to prefer ‘bangs’.
        Thanks for reading :)

      • TK

        When I think of fringe, I think of the pieces of leather hanging off of a biking jacket.

        There should be some research put into this. Why do the words fringe and bangs mean the hair on your forehead. Maybe a lot of people in American bang their forehead on things…. therefore, bangs?

  21. So…why would any subject of Her (or formerly His) Majesty name a girl-child FANNY?
    My one venture to UK had me in a panic when, at a restaurant, I needed another “napkin.” I didn’t recall the word the Brits used so I ended up pantomiming to the waiter a square, muttering shyly, “I need that square piece of cloth that goes on your lap…” which sounded as bad to my ears as if I’d used the word napkin to a Brit.
    Other confusing moments: Referring to a man’s braces. I stared intently at his teeth for a while before figuring out they meant suspenders.
    How the heck is a sweater a jumper? Braces makes some sense, but a jumper? Still don’t get that one.
    “Oregano” is not a native of the great State of Oregon. I kept correcting a friend, “Oregonian is how you say it.” From the way the Brits pronounce the “HHHerb,” (don’t know why we drop the “h” and you don’t) I was very confused for a long while (and never mind pronunciation of “aluminium”).
    What’s really confusing, WHILST (the word is “while”) we say “french fries,” we still order “fish and chips,” and no one bats an eye at the difference.
    I have a niece who’s lived in Australia the past 25 yrs and says she can never, won’t ever, get used to the word “rubber.” She was a teacher for awhile and said that having a small child come up to her insisting that he needed another rubber was nearly her undoing.
    But, if there is one thing I know not to ever, ever do as an American, is make a cup or a pot of tea for an Englishman. I won’t boil the water correctly, I won’t steep the tea for the correct amount of time, I will put the milk in at the wrong moment, or the sugar, and obviously, I will not have anything near what might be referred to as “tea” in my pantry (cupboard? larder?)

    • Ohhhh when you put it like THAT, it’s a wonder we’ve ever managed to communicate to each other! ;)
      You’re right about the tea thing – kind of (we’re not the experts we claim to be), and the pronunciation of ‘aluminium’ is the one thing that I believe would ever make our countries go to war with each other. Oh, that, and the abomination of your biscuits and gravy. ;)

      • However, I think that you have made some excellent diplomatic in-roads through this post, such as making sure if we do serve biscuits and gravy to a Brit, we are to make sure it’s renamed cookies and cream. Therefore, if it were in my power, I’d award Becky Says Things and Her Excellent Stick Man the WordPress Nobel Peace Prize for keeping everyone out of a potentially family squabble (row? kerfuffle?) that poor Canada would have to necessarily circumvent. And then where would be be?

  22. Oh Fantastic, brought me back to the days of studying overseas in Germany and having the good fortune of not being too comforted or comforting in having fellow English speakers from Britain. I learned two additional languages then, German and English.

  23. Melanie

    I spent two summers studying in England. I learned very quickly that I did not speak English, as I had been led to believe all my life, but that I spoke American. My favorite was the bathroom, restroom, toilet, water closet conundrum. It wasn’t until I was near ready to return to the US that I was finally in the habit of asking for the toilet over the restroom. It felt crass, and I liked it.

    • We will NEVER get used to saying ‘restroom’. If anything, one does not ‘rest’ when one is in that particular room; in fact, sometimes it can be very stresseful ;)

      • Melanie

        ‘Restroom’ is silly. You’re right, there’s rarely any rest happening. I enjoyed it being culturally acceptable to ask for the ‘toilet’ or the ‘loo’. I personally love calling it a ‘loo’, if that’s how you spell it. It makes me want to drink tea and stick out my pinky finger, because I’m American and that’s what we do when pretending to be British.

  24. Darrel Kirby

    Having discovered you thanks to Freshly Pressed I am glad I hit the follow button: excellent blog, very funny.
    Many years ago, on my first trip to the US, I was in a Denny’s or somewhere similar and a small girl was running around being a little unruly. Imagine my surprise and horror when her large, scary-looking mother bellowed across the restaurant “get back here or I am going to smack your fanny so hard!”
    I nearly choked on my chips/ french fries. Which I didn’t have with pancakes and maple syrup (what is that about?!)

    • AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ohhhhhhh the perils of language!!! You could have called Social Services or the police, and then when it was all explained, you would have had to utter the immortal phrase ‘I’m so sorry, I’m English’ :)
      Thanks for following :)

      • By the way – I was at first disgusted by the pancake / bacon / maple syrup thing, and initially shunned it… Until one hungry morning in a diner in New York, when ‘Barbs’ (pronounced ‘Bwwwwarbs’) the waitress urged that I try it. I’m afraid I was hooked. Immediately.

  25. Imagine my sister shopping for souveniers in England and trying to find cute, colorful “suspenders” for her nephew back in the States. Thank goodness she didn’t mention who she planned to buy them for, because, well, apparently … american “suspenders” are called “braces” in England. She was confused when directed to the lingerie department. :o)

  26. And we also name our children “Randy” :)

  27. Another winner! I especially like stick-woman reaching into her nether regions for her purse :) I’m a Yank in Ireland, so I actually know three versions of English! I’m not sure what it is in England, but never EVER ask an Irish person of the opposite sex if they want a ride. The laughter didn’t die down for a loooong time. The worst thing was I’d already trained my (male) dog to jump into the car when I said ‘do you want to go for a ride?’ Asking my pet if he wants a lift just doesn’t work as well…

    I’m surprised you didn’t cover ‘pants’ while you were on such a good roll! I still fumble on that one, most Irish use it the way Americans do, but I work with a lot of English people, too. Yikes.

    • Ohhh god I’m so enjoying these snippets from other languages!! Want a ride. Brilliant.
      I totally forgot about the pants thing. That completely annoys us. If trousers are pants, what are pants???

      • Underwear! Or jocks/panties, depending on which gender they were designed for. I really hate the word panties, though. Just do. I call them undies for both genders, unless they only have a string up the back in which case they are anal floss. Men have so many more options – boxers, tighty-whities, banana hammocks… right, I know WAY too much about what used to be simply called ‘unmentionables’…

  28. Funny post! I loved it! And all the comments about other awkwardly translated bits. (Isn’t “bits” also an example of risque slang in England?)

  29. And Indian English is a radically different English altogether. We include terms from both American and British English as well as colloquial terms in Hindi – so you can understand the utter confusion and humourous misunderstandings that occur when we talk. Also, in our schools we’re taught British English, but courtesy all Hollywood movies and songs, we end up speaking in American English. It’s quite funny, really.

  30. kat

    Reblogged this on Me: Finding the Missing Pieces and commented:
    hilarious

  31. I am so glad you were Freshly Pressed (that sounds hideously like I watched you get squashed) because then I discovered your blog and now I can laugh till I cry – which is what happens when I read it – whenever I feel the need to. This post took me back to my uni days as we had the EXACT same language issues with the American students…esp the “what’s up?”. To which the dutiful Australians always responded – “Nothing, I’m fine…..why, do I look upset?” I had an entirely pointless discussion with my US flattie about the fact that he reckoned Australian’s said certain things that sounded all the same….BOWL, BALL, BULL and we, scandalised by this claim, threw it right back! LOL Love your writing.

  32. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the word “fanny” who wasn’t 80 years old or wasn’t using it sarcastically, but America is a big country. Who knows what those people in the south are up to.

    Also, just so you know, biscuit is a euphemism for bottom. Also, it can mean gun. “She smuggled a biscuit into prison in her biscuit.” Yeah, English is confusing.

    • BISCUIT MEANS BOTTOMS???? Oh my god I had no idea. So when in England we say ‘Someone pinched my biscuit’, meaning ‘Someone heinous dickhead has thieved my last shortbread’, we actually mean we’ve been groped.
      Language, eh?

  33. Love it! I remember telling an English friend about beach wedding I was bridesmaid in and I said, “It was very relaxed, we all wore thongs,” meaning flip-flops, she was thinking, “what the hell kind of wedding was this?,” thinking I meant G-strings!
    It can get confusing!

  34. Love it! the first time I heard an American say fanny & bangs I lost my tiny mind. Hahahaha fanny! o_o
    Now what about us Aussies?

    • Fannies and bangs. They’re such a strange race ;)
      My favourite thing ever said in an Australian accent is ‘YOU’RE JUST A GUTLESS WONDER’ from Strictly Ballroom :)
      Thanks for reading!

  35. I love this. So near and dear to my heart. I traveled in a tour group around Ireland and N. Ireland with Aussies, Brits, and Canadians (we were a pale bunch) and I was the only American. The top 2 discussion topics were the weird names Americans have for things (thongs the shoes vs thongs the underwear etc) and what a moron the US President was (George W Bush). I consider it to be one of the best and most hilarious travel discussions of my life.

  36. Liz

    Brilliant! Firstly, many congrats on the SECOND Freshly Pressed! (though it could be third, fourth, fifth for all I know :-D ) Well deserved, British blogger friend. (though I realize it’s very American for me to call you “friend” when we hardly know each other outside of a handful of blog comments)

    You make good points here. I have a British friend (just wrote her up online and also oh-so-coincidentally dealt with a few British/American cooking translations: http://wp.me/p2dvv9-1nu ) who I don’t always understand. The same words are spoken so differently. It almost is another language: Sneakers=trainers etc. Hadn’t know the fanny one–that’s awesome. Always hated fanny packs.

    She’s also sent me fun British food: rolled fondant, HP sauce, jammie dodgers, jaffa cakes (loved those). And my birthday present is always a Dairy Diary, which has recipes :-D So despite our cultural and linguistic differences, I salute you, Becky and Stick, for translating your brilliant humor to the blogging masses. You are both all kinds of awesome.

    • OH MY GOD MY MUM HAS GOT THE DAIRY DIARY EVERY YEAR SINCE I WAS BORN!!!! I used to get genuinely excited about flicking through the weekly recipes AND learning about washing labels and names of plants and flowers :)
      Jaffa cakes are AMAZING – an English staple – as are jammie dodgers (I would KILL for a jammie dodger right now). Next time, get her to send you Party Rings, Cadbury’s chocolate fingers, Iced Gems, and MARMITE!!!
      I got genuinely excited talking about biscuits then ;)
      Thanks as always, Liz x

      • Liz

        I love the Dairy Diary for exactly those reasons–all sorts of inane, but strangely fascinating bits of information a person WILL NEVER NEED. She also sent me the official Dairy Diary cookbook one year. Marmite you say? Really? OK then. Will let you know how it turns out. Party Rings–I’m in. Those chocolate fingers sound familiar–may have had those. Have been very impressed with the Cadbury chocolate. Way better than American Cadbury.

        Hope you’ve been able to come down after all the biscuit excitement.

  37. I just laughed till I puked. Thank you very much.

  38. Ok what’s up is not rhetorical. It means ” what up?” What is going on? How are you? What’s new ? <-all those things. And yes a answer is required: nada ( nothing) or "I feel like shit yen vortex is giving me cabin fever" or I need a vacation ( holiday)
    Or I'm tired ( we all work too much & don't Play enough) so next time am American asks " so what's up B?"
    Your covered ( skip the urinary tract infection part) love your blog

  39. remszi

    I think I strained my abdominal muscles at the fanny pack scene.

  40. remszi

    For laughing, that is. :)

  41. Pingback: Becky says things about … being lost in translation | remindyourmind

  42. Hey. What’s up?

    Small talk, Becky, or phatic communication. It is roughly equivalent to “how do you do?” or even “hello”. Why do I sound like a crusty old professor saying that? Because, m’dear, it took me forever to understand, even as an American, that most people are not interested in my welfare, or my health– they are making small talk. So “hey,” “howdy,” “good day”… these all work. If I’m asked “how’s it going?” I might quip, “It’s going,” or “Fair to partly cloudy,” because you know how small talk about the weather goes.

    Well. How do you think we feel when we see American breakfast menus advertising biscuits and gravy? It throws us into turmoil. A nice, sweet digestive biscuit covered in gravy??? Are they demented???

    Has not anyone told you that our version of the biscuit is more comparable to a savory scone? Savory, m’dear, not sweet.

    that we English think you actually talk like that all the time… then you are sadly correct.

    The truly amusing part comes if you dive into the subject of linguistics. Don’t let the telly fool you. Residents of the United States have a number of accents– and quite a few of them are dead English ones. Ebonics and Gullah influence — “ghetto/rap/hip-hop speak” and the like– that is another matter entirely. That goes deep into the cultural influences imparted by West Africans brought here by slavery, and the construct of black culture in the U.S. (versus African-American).

    Pardon for the doctoral dissertation– I have played a British MMORPG called Runescape for over 10 years and I get complaints about American English vs. British English ALL. THE. TIME. If my British friends get too cheeky about their dislike of Noah Webster’s “streamlining” and American English generally, I say, “Hey, the Rolling Stones just called. They said you aren’t taking the Mick anywhere, not with me, you, or anyone else.”

    • Wow, thanks for that! I have learnt so much! (Particularly about biscuits – that’s very important information, thank you.)
      I absolutely love the American ‘language’ and accents! It’s fascinating how much diversity there is, although you are an enormous country so it’s hardly surprising I suppose.
      Thanks for reading :)

  43. You, my dear lady, are hilarious. I’ll tell you though, we here in America, or my fiance and I at least, enjoy the language differences. The Welsh greeting “what’s crackin'” is completely amusing to me. What is being cracked exactly? God, languages are awesome fun. Especially when it comes to regional dialects of the same base language.

  44. Oh gosh this is spot on! I get exactly what you mean with being confused about American English haha. Loving your posts, you’re amazing! xx

  45. Congratulations on being freshly pressed, again!

    In all fairness to my country, we did fight a revolution which allowed us to do destroy your language any way we see fit. Your post is a testimony to the brilliant job we’ve done! And yet, we refuse to convert to the metric system. We’re an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my fanny out to find some biscuits and gravy while saying ‘Yo, what’s up?’. ;-)

  46. Oh, man! Tears in my eyes. Trying not to wake my baby in my arms as I laugh hysterically! Thanks for a fantastic read!

  47. This is one of the funniest post I’ve read. I can so relate since I’m from Canada and have some English and Australian friends with their “Funny accents”. And when we were in England, we could not find any “Metro” until we found out you call it the “Tube”. Here in Quebec, we also find a lot of French (from France) expressions quite funny when they get here. Congrats on the Freshly pressed!

  48. Pingback: Becky says things about … being lost in translation | Community, Collaboration, Reflection: Teaching

  49. Even worse, Americans sometimes use Fanny as a woman’s name, usually short for Frances. Unbelievable.

  50. Reblogged this on choosedharma's Blog and commented:
    I look forward to every blog Becky writes!

  51. Firstly, congrats on the Freshly Pressed accolades – you deserve it.

    Secondly, no no NO. It is not fair to have at us (North Americans, Canadians are North Americans) for ‘What’s up?’ when England has ‘You alright?’ This question instilled in me the same if not greater panic for the first two months of my time here in jolly England. It is the harder question to answer, especially after three hours sleep and a lot of drink with English people who drink a lot more. ‘You alright?’ automatically implies that you look/smell/act anything but!

  52. As a South African we are taught British, so this post was insanely hilarious. I seriously can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. That picture of stickman getting his fanny pack has destroyed me forever!
    Becky, you’re the best!

  53. Yep – but you forgot the whole ‘pants’ debacle as well. Learned pretty quick not to say, ‘My pants are wet,’ while living in London. And with the rain… you can imagine how many times… haha!

  54. Reblogged this on Kristin Bergene : Writer and commented:
    Too funny! Love this lovely woman :)

  55. From a country that says “eat your tea?” TEA IS LIQUID! LIQUID! Maths??? No, it’s MATH :) And what’s with public schools BEING private????

    I think the slang for ‘fag’ is interesting b/c it’s actually a bundle of sticks, typically used for burning people at the stake (not steak…nor with chips).

    I love your stickman – but tell him I’ve never said “WAZZZ UP?” or drank Piss – I mean Budweiser…

  56. Reblogged this on The Mercenary Researcher and commented:
    I think I love Becky and her stickman.

  57. Wait, how did I miss one of your posts, and ONE THAT WAS FRESHLY PRESSED??? I obviously suck, and not in a good way.

    I encountered all matter of language difficulties when I lived in London back in the 90s. I learned that my standard greeting of “Hey howzit goin'” would only baffle my English friends and that I should stick with a simple “Hello.” I learned that, when I said I needed to “fluff out my fanny” after sitting for a prolonged period of time, that my male friends looked at me with a combination of shock, awe, lust, fascination, and repulsion.

    And your drawing of the fanny pack had me laughing my fanny off. (See what I did there?)

    • Ohhh my god. ‘Fluff out my fanny’?? YOU ACTUALLY SAID THAT WHILST IN ENGLAND????? I love that. I mean, I really love that.
      The concept of someone laughing their fanny off is utterly repulsive and I am already contemplating how I can translate that image into the medium of Microsoft Paint….

      • I’m looking forward to seeing how you render this in MS Paint. And yep, true story. I said I was going to fluff out my fanny. As you can imagine, I was the focus of some extreme attention for a few seconds there.

  58. I have English and Irish friends (some Canadian too), so my speech is now just a mess of three versions of english mashed unceremoniously together.

  59. unfetteredbs

    fantastic

  60. I’m from America. My husband is from England. He has been aghast when I said I was going to get my bangs trimmed and has never explained why. He just says it means something different in England and I probably shouldn’t say that when we’re there. I say fanny. A lot. He has snickered, but he has never. ever. ever. told me that it means VAGINA there! OMG. I’ll never think of fannies the same again. And whether fanny means rumpus or bumpus no one should wear a fannypack. Not ever.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I LOVE that he’s never told you! He’s been secretly chuckling at your for years! That’s what marriage is all about ;)
      I agree about the fannypacks – here they’re called bumbags, and no one should ever wear one. There’s no need to keep your valuables quite so close to your crotch area.

  61. Mrs. P

    Bravo…awesome post!

  62. yes, that’s right, and in Uk If you need a “Jumper”, you don’t need something used to jump but you need a Pullover :)

  63. Brilliant!! Great laugh, thank you, and well written….I myself am struggling with something similar on the opposite side of the world…Australians…they too do not speak English so well.

  64. Oh my god, you are a hoot Becky….”I could Murder a Fag”……puzzled, worried stickman cop gets it at last. Hehehe. Stickman reaching to his nether regions (<bet they don't know what that means) to get the fanny pack- just keeps coming back to me. Will be laughing in my sleep. More liquor please?

  65. Pingback: Becky says things about … being lost in translation | Cinique'

  66. Oh my God! My stomach is hurting….gurl, you had me rollin’ – Your quite funny, I must admit. I could hang wiff you. Well written, wildly entertaining, and quite dangerous for someone that doesn’t do sit-ups. Tone it down, before someone catches a stomach cramp. Good work.

  67. This is hilarious!! I’m so glad you were freshly pressed on a day I actually looked so I was able to find your blog.

    ….that would sound rather strange out of context.

  68. This was a great post…..thanks for the laugh! Stickman forever! (Gangsta pose…OMG).

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