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Sunday, October 21, 2012
English: UK vs US vs Me
After my last
rant post about American English, Maine Character found me this awesome BritSpeak quiz, and it made me realise something interesting: Australian English falls somewhere between US and UK. I understand the UK words, but I don't use about half of them.
So let's go through a test:
French fries vs chips.
Confusingly, we use both. If I go to McDonalds I will order fries, because that's what the product is called. However, if I go to the takeaway place down the road I will order fish and chips, because that's what the product is called there. Same product, different context. So these things:
Chips. And these things:
These are also chips. Not crisps, like they're called in the UK. I guess we Aussies have just learned to deal with the crazy ambiguity.
Closet vs Wardrobe. Um...can I just throw cupboard in the mix to confuse things?
Dessert vs pudding. Dessert. Because pudding sounds like something the Famous Five would be given to eat at boarding school. Something with custard. They would think if was spiffing.
Sneakers vs trainers. Sneakers, although we use both words here. I just prefer to sneak than to train.
Vacation vs holiday. Holiday.
Money vs dosh. Money. That's a win for US English.
Spatula vs fish slice. Another win for US English. If I want to slice a fish, I presume I would use some sort of knife. Also, I'm pretty sure that a spatula has more uses beyond fish-related cutting.
Eraser vs rubber. Rubber. And no, rubber is not a funny euphemism for condom if you're not fourteen.
Mayhem vs Bedlam. Bedlam, all the way, but that may be the history nerd in me coming out. I love the idea that a notorious asylum lives on in the language.
Crib vs cot. Cot.
So I think that works out to about half US and half UK English in my Aussie vernacular. But there are some words in me that are uniquely Australian. Where blue is not just a colour, it's a fight. Unless it's a redhead, in which case it's a colour again. Or, if it's true blue, it's fair dinkum. Clear as mud?
Did you check out the BritSpeak test? How did you go?