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British-English - A Translation for the American
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As a Briton in the USA I have at times been in the unusual position of defending the American version of English. Hearing other Brits tell their American friends they "don't speak proper English" I have had to step in and say, that's not true. There is no right or wrong where the two versions are concerned. When the British first arrived in the new world they used the same version of the English language spoken by the relatives they'd left behind in England. But, as time passed, the language continued to evolve both in the Colonies and back in Old Blighty. They developed differently. And, as our two versions of the language contine to change, so much becomes outdated or forgotten. What a shame to lose such a wealth of words and phrases.

Some of the following might be useful to Americans visiting the United Kingdom - one wants to make a good impression, doesn't one! For example, while vacationing in East Anglia one should know that the "Norfolk Broads" are NOT the local ladies. If you hear someone described as "legless" he has not been lopped off at the knees. And - this could be an important one - if you're out and about and need to use the bathroom, that is the last thing you should ask for; you would do better to ask for directions to the toilets, or the wc, or the loo, or even where you can "spend a penny." Some terms can seem contradictory, such as "tart" and "tart up". And unless you want to "come a cropper" you'd be wise to listen to the local speech before you try out your linguistic skills, as the meaning of some words and phrases can differ from region to region. The American novice might find some words and phrases shocking to his sensibilities, when they are not intended to offend; one example is "keep your pecker up." And if you want to know what that means, read on ....

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Links For Brits and Anglophiles

BBC Online - BBC TV shows, Radio, News, Eastenders, Top of the Pops, etc.

The British Monarchy - Official Web Site of the Royal Family

BBC America

Granada Television

We're Not Afraid

Brit Quiz

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Questions or Comments? Email me