Turning American

Slightly different to the classic 80s song called Turning Japanese. But it’s on the same lines – a UK friend said to me yesterday over Skype that I’m sounding more American by writing “np” at the end of a chat.  Two years ago when we were acquired by an US company, I wouldn’t have thought that I would start to use US phrases or get used to the differences in our languages.  Admittedly, it has taken a while for it to happen but it did. Vacation and cell phone seem like everyday words now – phrases like the np, later or I hear you, also seem commonplace.  I understand what 411 means, drink cosmopolitans and now have a knowledge of rye whiskey (for my Manhattans!). Before the Americans came we had a very limited idea of technology and communicating with one another.  If someone was working at home – email or phone was the only way to get in touch with them (actually some didn’t even have internet access at home). Now I have Skype IM, chatrooms, a team ‘Twitter’ so I can see what other members of my team are doing, even though I’m normally the only one in there!

I assume this is mainly happened because a lot of my work colleagues work from home either in the UK or all over the States. Keeping in touch with colleagues via IM and chatrooms is great and without it I would never have know them as well as I do now and what makes them tick or in my case what they drink! Hah, having a good knowledge of cocktails is definitely a bonus for being taking over by a US company. I’m not sure if in the UK we have had any influence over our US colleagues… I’ll have to keep an ear out for that.  The other day I bought a small book called American English/English American, a glossary dating back to 1971 on the differences between the US and the UK. The best ones are pants for trousers which is funny when written by an American “don’t forgot your pants” or druggist for chemist and I thought a druggist was for all the people hanging about outside clubs. Other classics – funny bone (UK)/crazy bone (US); smalls (UK)/underwear (US) (when have we ever called underwear smalls!); teat (baby’s bottle) (UK)/nipple (US). Now as this book was first written in 1971, I’m not sure of its accuracy now, a lot of the English words we don’t use anymore, so I would expect some of the US ones to be wrong as well.  But it does make for a good laugh! Happy Friday!

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3 Responses to “Turning American”


  1. 1 Mike August 14, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Hah, this post was a blast to read and funny too.

    There are definitely some great things about American English (it’s brevity is one). But the color (or is it colour?) of U.K. English is so much more vivid. I’d rather hear someone from the U.K. talking than a loud mouthed American.

  2. 2 Michelle Best August 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks – I actually think “hah” is another word I have picked up. I’ve noticed recently that I have used it a lot on here. Wait until next year I might even pick up an accent!


  1. 1 Turning American - chapter 2 « Mj’s Blog Trackback on January 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm

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