Other Post English Spoken Here...American Understood.


MI.Net Member
Mar 20, 2004
So, I'm told, read a shoppe sign in London.

With all us Yanks coming into these forums during the last couple months, we've already experienced a few differences in our "common" language, and I'll be quick to add that those differences have been dealt with most graciously by all of us which is as it should be.

So, since we all have the best possible attitude about this, I thought I would open a thread for us to discuss the differences in "our" common language, and any other cultural differences that are separated by the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the things that I like about UK English (I don't know how else to differentiate here) is spelling...the reversal of the letters "e" and "r" in some words, such as THEATER and THEATRE. I think that's classy. What are some other er/re words?

I also like the adding of "u" following "o" in many words, such as COLOUR, ARMOUR, and LABOUR.

We also have differences in terminology (I think). You UK folks help me out here.

In America a hand-held battery operated illuminating device is a FLASHLIGHT.

In the US, when I leave my car's headlights on all night the battery goes DEAD. It's a DEAD battery.

When I do periodic maintenance on my car, I open the HOOD and check the oil, water, and other fluids. I clean the WINDSHIELD, and make sure I have GAS in the tank.

Two people communicate with each other using hand-held radios called WALKIE TALKIES.

Lastly, I gotta ask a question I've wondered about for decades...

What, exactly, is a crumpet?

I welcome any questions anyone has about this side of the pond.
for Shoppe Read shop, no one i mean no one writes Shoppe any more, that way of spelling went out in the middle ages.

In Britain a hand-held battery operated illuminating device is a TORCH.

In the UK, when I leave my car's headlights on all night the battery goes FLAT. It's a FLAT battery.

When I do periodic maintenance on my car, I open the BONNET and check the oil, water, and other fluids. I clean the WINDSCREEN, and make sure I have PETROL in the tank, and a spare tyre in the BOOT.

we drive on roads and walk on pavement.

Two people communicate with each other using hand-held radios called TWO WAY RADIO.

Lastly, I gotta ask a question I've wondered about for decades...

What, exactly, is a crumpet? a round bread product flat on one side, lots of holes on the other eaten toasted with lots of butter.

My turn,

Do not be offended if someone in Britain offers you a FAG, you smoke it.

We use a Mobile phone, not a Cell phone.

we do not sit on our FANNY's. it's a physical imposable for a WOMAN to do

Lastly, I gotta ask a question I've wondered about for decades...

Why do McDonald's sell English Muffins, I had never heard of a Muffin until i eat at McDonald's in Anaheim California.

P.S. Core blimey love, :roll: we do not all talk like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. :roll:
Interesting.If your batteries go flat...what do you call what happens to your tyres(tires)when they get a hole in 'em?Do they go dead?

Do y'all have cupcakes?The muffins I'm framiliar with are made in the same kind of pan used to make cupcakes except,instead of cake mix,a grain meal is used.I am also mystified about "English Muffins".Not only do they not resemble any muffin I've ever seen,but now they turn out not to be English.

For a good ole Southern boy,being refered to as "Yank" takes some gettin used to.We had a bit a trouble with them critters awhile back.
I concur with Droneys diagnosis of our dialect however I would also add that Crumpet could also be 1/ sex e.g "Im gonna get some crumpet" 2/ a nice girl e.g "Wow look at that bit of crumpet".

Yes we do have some differences I mean you say Tomayto and I say Tomarto, you say Potayto and I say Potarto. Hee Hee :mrgreen:

Hey Doc I understand your point about the word "Yanks" however us brits are sometimes called "Limeys", now I have never worked on a sail ship and needed to suck limes to prevent scurvy. :mrgreen:

Ps a flat tyre is also a flat tyre :roll:
where does the word "Yank" come from, we hear of Yankee raiders, Yankee stadium, Yankee doodle dandy and even a yank at the court of King Arthur,

but call an American a "Yank" to his face and you get an ear full. :?
The word "Yankee" originally was a Dutch dialectic term for cheese. It was later a disparaging term for Hollanders in general or Dutch freebooters in particular. When the Dutch occupied New York City they applied the term to people from Connecticutt. The name stuck and gradually came to mean anyone from New England.

Well, now...I've learned something! :D

Always wondered where the term "Limey" came from. Thanks, Webbie!

Droney...you mean you people don't walk around wearing bowlers and carrying closed umbrellas and saying, "Cheerio", "Pip-Pip", and "I say, old man!"?? What a let-down! I'm disappointed! ;)

English muffins are not English? I'm not surprised to hear it. I've been told that Danish pastries are not Danish, and that spaghetti is not Italian. Go figure! :?

Didn't realize we "Yanks" were sensitive to that term. It's never bothered me any. I've always thought that term was what you Brits called us "rebels" during the Revolution. I could be wrong.

We don't use the spelling "shoppe" in every-day use, but you sometimes see it in a business name. We have a "Coffee Shoppe" here locally where I go regularly. The waitress is a bit of crumpet. :mrgreen:

What is a "quid"? a "farthing"? I think farthing has something to do with money, as I've always heard it as "not worth a farthing".

In WW2 the American GIs called the Germans "Krauts"...I assume that comes from sauerkraut. What about the Brit term for a German soldier..."Jerry"? And the German term for a Brit soldier..."Tommy"?

And I would guess from your post that the BOOT of a car is what we call the TRUNK?
a quid = money 1 british pound sterling.
a farthing = money 960 to the quid this is old money we stopped using the farthing in 1959?

Lesson old english money
starting with the lowest
a farthing = 1/4 of a penny
a half penny = 1/2 of a penny
a penny

then we use multiples
3 Penny's = threepenny bit
6 Penny's = sixpence (a tanner)
12 Penny's = a shilling (sometimes called a BOB)
24 Penny's = Two Shillings (two bob)
30 Penny's = Half a crown (or 2 and six ie: two shillings and sixpence)
120 Penny's = 10 shillings (or a ten bob note)
240 Penny's= 1 pound (a quid)

simple see.

Then in the 70's we scraped the lot and went decimalised

.05 of a penny
1 penny
2.5 pence
5 pence
10 pence
20 pence
50 pence
100 pence a pound (quid)

derogatory names
for a german during WWII
Kraut from sauerkraut ( pickled cabbage )
Box head from the old WWI steel helmet the one with two lug's on the side
with the armour plate hanging From the lugs, from a distance it looked like the german was wearing a box on his head.
Jerry i thing this comes from the 20Lt fuel/water cans (jerry cans)
Hun from the race of people that populated the germanic plains.

Tommy from the poem Tommy Atkins by Rudyard Kipling

(i don't condone using these derogatory terms i have posted them as an
example of how the enemy is de humanised during conflicts)
Well, now. That British monetary system is truly a hat full. I swear.
For a while, I would be poking a handful of money at merchants and praying that they take the right amount! :?

Up until 1965 US paper money was backed by precious metals...either gold or silver. They were silver certificates or gold certificates (pre-1934).
Then they took that away, and even took the silver out of our coins.
The result was what we called Lyndon Johnson's "play money".

Back in the 19th century the US had some unusual denominations of coins. We had half-cent, a two-cent, a three-cent, and a twenty-cent coins.
The nickel 5-cent coin came into use in 1866, replacing the half-dime (eighteenth century spelling was "half-disme").

I, too, do not know why derogatory names are created for enemy soldiers. I hate to think it, but I guess de-humanizing human beings makes it easier to kill them.
"Kraut" is obviously derogatory, as is "towel head", and "camel jockey" referring to middle-easterners.
I never thought of "Tommy" and "Jerry" as being derogatory, probably because here in the States those are common first names.
But...hey, I wasn't there, so I don't know what context they were used in.

Did the German soldiers in WW1 and WW2 have a name for American GIs? Only one I've ever heard of is "Amis". French, I think.

A farthing equals one fourth of a penny. 960 farthings to a pound. Well, if the farthing was a coin, then you could be listing 40 degrees to starboard and still have not much money in your pocket, eh? :mrgreen:
Hi steve if you want to see what "old english money looks like" Click here

Up until 1965 US paper money was backed by precious metals...either gold or silver

thats how we started our currency based on the fact that one pound of silver weighed 240 Penny's

and most of our paper money is not currency at all, but promissory notes, on our paper money is written "i promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of (value of note £5, £10, £20 or £50)".

Thanks much for the hyperlink to the English coins! I was a coin collector when I was in my early teens, so that web page was MOST interesting!

Your comments on current British paper money was interesting, because when US paper money was backed by silver (or gold) the notes said almost exactly the same thing..."will pay to the bearer on demand".

The US one dollar note stated that the US Government "will pay to the bearer on demand ONE SILVER DOLLAR". And we could, in fact, walk in to any US Federal Reserve building and demand payment (and receive) one silver dollar.

I noted that most of the coins bore the image of King George VI.
So, here comes more questions! LOL! I just like learning new things about your country!

King George VI was the father of Queen Elizabeth II (current queen)...is that right? And his wife was the Queen Mum who recently passed on? And his brother was Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to marry the American woman? I can't remember her name. And their father was KIng George V who was the reigning monarch during WW1? And all the monarchs I have mentioned thus far are known as the House of Windsor"? And the House of Windsor began with which monarch?

The longest reigning monarch thus far is Queen Victoria? Is Queen Elizabeth close to this record at all? Queen Elizabeth has a sister...Margaret? The throne went to Elizabeth because she is the oldest?

Hope you don't mind the questions. And you others besides Droney please join in the discussion if you want.
House of Normandy
1066-1087 William I
1087-1100 William II
1100-1135 Henry I
1135-1154 Stephen

House of Plantagenet
1154-1189 Henry II
1189-1199 Richard I
1199-1216 John
1216-1272 Henry III
1272-1307 Edward I
1307-1327 Edward II
1327-1377 Edward III
1377-1399 Richard II

House of Lancaster
1399-1413 Henry IV
1413-1422 Henry V
1422-1461 Henry VI

House of York
1461-1483 Edward IV
1483 Edward V
1483-1485 Richard III

House of Tudor
1485-1509 Henry VII
1509-1547 Henry VIII
1547-1553 Edward VI
1553-1558 Mary I
1558-1603 Elizabeth I

House of Stuart
1603-1625 James I
1625-1649 Charles I
1649-1653 Commonwealth/protectorate
1653-1658 Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell
1658-1659 Protectorate of Richard Cromwell

House of Stuart restored
1660-1685 Charles II
1685-1688 James II
1689-1694 William and Mary (jointly)

House of Orange
1694-1702 William III (sole ruler)
1702-1714 Anne

House of Hanover
1714-1727 George I
1727-1760 George II
1760-1820 George III
1820-1830 George IV
1830-1837 William IV
1837-1901 Victoria *

House of Saxe-Coburg
1901-1910 Edward VII

House of Windsor
1910-1936 George V (a Saxe-Coburg until 1917) Note see below
1936 Edward VIII (abdicated and married Mrs. Wallace Simpson)
1936-1952 George VI
1952- Elizabeth II *

*Queen Victoria = 64 years
*Queen Elizabeth = 51 Years

the name Saxe-Coburg was changed because we were at war with Germany and the name Saxe-Coburg is German so to seem patriotic the name was changed to Windsor (after the great park at Windsor).

Hope this helps Steve.

Hope you don't mind the questions.
No Not at all
"Queen Elizabeth has a sister...Margaret? The throne went to Elizabeth because she is the oldest? "

Margaret died on 9 February 2002 and Elizabeth was the eldest! The American woman's name was Wallis Simpson :lol:
Great info! Thanks!

Looks like the Queen has about 13 years to go to equal Victoria's reign. That will make her...what...about 91 years old?


Looks like good old George III was the second longest reign...60 years.

A couple more questions about money, please...

British pound and British pound (sterling). Two kinds of pounds? Does "sterling" refer to sterling silver?

The symbol used to indicate pounds...I dont have that symbol on my keyboard. Does it have a particular meaning? It looks kind of like a fancy "L".

The "dollar sign" for US money was derived from the image on the Spanish Milled Dollar or "Pillar" dollar. The reverse design has two pillars with ribbons entwined around them which is where the dollar sign came from. Its designated value was 8 Reales.
It circulated widely in the colonies up until as late as 1850. It was often cut into 8 wedges, called "bits" (like cutting a pie), each wedge having a value of about 12.5 cents.
Like your nickname for a shilling is "bob", our slang term for a US quarter dollar is "two bits", for a half dollar "four bits".

Here is an image of a Spanish Milled Dollar:

the words British pound and British pound (sterling). aer the same thing and just shortend to pound.

£.s.p. = Libra Solidus Denarius is Latin for Pounds, Shillings, Pence. (because Rome ruled a great part of england)

for more info Click me

History of the word Dollar Click me
Rigger, I understand that one particular English expression which always causes problems, having no equivalent in the U.S. is 'fortnight', to us in the U.K., this means two weeks (fourteen nights, the usual length of a U.K. annual holiday).
Just to confuse you further, in the U.K., we still (for now), have a unit of weight called a pound, shown lbs., 2240 to a ton. Maybe this is why what you were looking at mentioned £ Sterling, the monetary unit.
When we Brits set out to confuse, we don't do it by halves!!!!
;) ;) :D :D
When we Brits set out to confuse, we don't do it by halves

And if Brussels has anything to do with it, we won't be doing things by 0.5 either. :D

Most Americans of my generation (age 58) or older are familiar with a FORTNIGHT, and I remember encountering that expression fairly often in my reading as a youth. I remember it as one of my spelling words in elementary school. It was approximately of the same commonality as the term SCORE (twenty years).

Re POUND... most Americans (again MY age group) associate British weight (i.e. human body weight) with the term STONE, however our US ton is 2,000 pounds and our US LONG TON is 2,240 pounds.

It would not surprise me, however, to learn that today's generation of young Americans are not familiar with either term.
I ran into one young lady recently...a high school graduate...working in a Burger King...that thought that Vietnam was "right below Mexico".
She was also unable to count my change back to me from my purchase.

Sheeesh!!! :roll: :roll: :roll:


What's with Brussels?
What's with Brussels?

Head of the European Parliament.

There trying to do what Hitler failed to do.

IE: conquer Europe. :x :evil: :x
More American monetary slang

Buck - dollar
Five dollar bill - fin
Ten dollar bill - sawbuck
100 dollar bill - C-note
1000 dollars - a grand or a "G"

Although I never hear anybody say "fin" or "sawbuck" anymore. It seemed more common when I was a kid back in the 40's. A really young kid that is. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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