World English

From NMLWiki
Revision as of 10:03, 23 March 2009 by Amsler (talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

English is a global language but its vocabulary, spelling, and grammar varies around the world. This page is a first effort at tallying up the differences between English vocabulary as it is known throughout the English-speaking world. The most frequently known differences for people in the United States of America are between British and American English: Two countries divided by a common language. However, there are additional differences less well known to speakers of American English between American English and Australian English, Caribbean English, Canadian English, Indian (Asia) English, Irish English, New Zealand English, Scottish English, South African English, etc. Hopefully, with time we can get through them all to portray the astounding variety of ways a common language is used everywhere.

American-British English

There are many curious lists of differences that can be prepared. There are American words and phrases not known outside the United States and British words and phrases not known inside the United States. There are reciprocal pairs of words or phrases where American English will use one expression whereas British English will use another, but both share the same meaning. A particularly fascinating subset of these are the words and phrases which are known in both the U.K. and the U.S., but which have distinctly different meanings in each nation, English language "false friends".

Here are some American/British differences taken from the Collins English Dictionary:

  • absorbent cotton (American) = cotton wool (British)
  • aerial ladder (American) = turntable ladder (British)
  • American Revolution (American) = War of American Independence (British)
  • benefit association (American) = friendly society (British)
  • broad jump (American) = long jump (British)
  • calling card (American) = visiting card (British)
  • candy store (American) = sweet shop (British)
  • city planning (American) = town planning (British)
  • collect (American) = cash on delivery (British)
  • confectioners' sugar (American) = icing sugar (British)
  • court tennis (American) = real tennis (British)
  • crisscross (American) = noughts and crosses (British)
  • divided highway (American) = dual carriageway (British)
  • druggist (American) = pharmacist (British)
  • face card (American) = court card (British)
  • fiscal year (American) = financial year (British)
  • hike out (American) = sit out (British)
  • hog cholera (American) = swine fever (British)
  • jumper (American) = pinafore dress (British)
  • junkman (American) = rag-and-bone man (British)
  • license plate (American) = numberplate (British)
  • median strip (American) = central reserve (British)
  • motion picture (American) = film (British)
  • movie camera (American) = cine camera (British)
  • movie film (American) = cine film (British)
  • pantsuit (American) = trouser suit (British)
  • parking lot (American) = car park (British)
  • patrol wagon (American) = Black Maria (British)
  • plurality (American) = relative majority (British)
  • potato chip (American) = crisp (British)
  • PT boat (American) = MTB (British)
  • push-up (American) = press-up (British)
  • row house (American) = terraced house (British)
  • rummage sale (American) = jumble sale (British)
  • second floor (American) = first floor (British)
  • stock car (American) = cattle truck (British)
  • stock company (American) = repertory company (British)
  • sunburst pleats (American) = sunray pleats (British)
  • tick-tack-toe (American) = noughts and crosses (British)
  • trucking (American) = market gardening (British)
  • veterinarian (American) = veterinary surgeon (British)
  • workday (American) = working day (British)