Separated by a common language British/American
COX NEWS SERVICE
May 25, 2005
LONDON - When an American actress - a Texan no less - was picked
to portray beloved English heroine Bridget Jones, Brits everywhere were aghast.
But when they heard Renee Zellweger's mostly plausible British
accent on the big screen, most agreed she could have been plucked from any
Other Americans, though, aren't as adept as Zellweger at speaking
English like the English.
That's one reason why British Airways has created an online
"English to English" dictionary as part of a major ad campaign designed to help
millions of Americans fit in this summer when they visit London for the first
After all, no one wants visitors going all "barmy" - or crazy -
and causing a "hoo ha" - or commotion - when they're feeling all "peckish" - or
hungry - and have no idea how to order a "nosh-up" - or feast.
"Nearly 1.5 billion people on the planet speak some version of
English, but the version of English used in the UK does take a bit of getting
used to," said Robin Hayes, an executive vice president at British Airways.
The dictionary (available at www.ba.com/know) features more than
80 British words and translations with a new word added every day.
The campaign, unveiled earlier this month in New York, is
expected to spread to other major markets across the United States in the coming
Although the campaign is designed to be a "cheeky" bit of fun,
understanding linguistic differences can give travelers a serious boost.
For example, it's most helpful to know that, in England, the
first floor is actually one level up in a building. What Americans would call
the first floor is referred to as the ground floor here.
● British: ace, as in "The party last night was ace."
● British: knackered, as in "Work has me completely knackered."
● British: dosh, as in "Pick up some dosh and meet us at the
● British: dog and bone, as in "Blimey, here's a dog and bone."
● British: chin-wag, as in "Fancy a coffee and a bit of a
American: to talk.
● British: naff, as in "Your style is naff."
SOURCE: British Airways