Episode 225

American English x British English

 

Hey guys! Welcome to our ENGLISH BITES – This is Erika Belmonte speaking and in case you need the transcription of this English Bite, go to www.englishbites.com.br and look for the episode number 225.

 

Brazilian Portuguese or Portuguese from Portugal: which one is better? There’s no answer for this question just like there isn’t one for the title in question.

History says that the first American colonies were in fact formed by the English (of course there were native Indians in America, but of course again they were colonized and their culture was lost in time) so the origin of the language is British.

Going back to the comparison I made in the beginning of this lesson, their history is just like ours: Brazil was colonized by the European from Portugal and so we originated our language based on theirs, with some difference of words and expressions.

It all comes down to this: American English is nothing more than British English’ cousin. Yes! But how about the difference there is between those two languages? I receive so many requests to explain this so in this lesson we will study some words and expressions where the difference between AMERICAN ENGLISH and BRITISH ENGLISH could get you confused or even in trouble.

#1- TUBE/UNDERGROUND vs SUBWAY

You heard it right. In the US it’s very easy to commute through the cities by subway, what in England is called the tube/the underground. It is a little weird because the word ‘tube’ sounds like a long cylinder of metal but, if you stop to think… It makes sense kkk The same to underground, I mean… It’s self explanatory kkkk

#2 – LIFT vs ELEVATOR

This may be tricky if you make a mistake because in the US a lift is when you need to go somewhere and you ask a friend to take you. For example:

I missed the bus to work, could you please give me a lift? If you don’t I’ll be late for sure!

The thing is that in the UK a lift is also how they call the elevator. Then, again, if you stop to think about it, it makes sense. The elevator takes you up, so it lifts you (it also brings you down, but that’s not relevant to the explanation right now kkk)

 

#3 – COLOUR vs COLOR / FAVORITE vs FAVOURITE…

This is more of a written difference than spoken, since they are both pronounced the same.

Just so you know (in case you never realized) color is American and colour is British, same goes for favorite and favourite and some other cases

#4 – FIRST FLOOR(US)/ GROUND FLOOR (UK)

        SECOND FLOOR(US)/ FIRST FLOOR(UK)

        WHAT????????

Yeah, I never get used to this one. Ground floor (BrE) is used to indicate the first floor of a building. I don’t know about the reasoning in this one ‘cause I get really confused but, isn’t ground floor the one ON the ground? If you are ‘elevated’ you are not on the ground anymore. Go figure!

#5 – COOKIE/BISCUIT

Bolacha ou Biscoito? Kkkk In AmE the small sweet cake they sell deliciously at Mr. Cheeney is called cookie. In BrE it’s biscuit (read /ˈbɪskɪt/)

#6 – APARTMENT/ FLAT

In Brazil there’s a difference of services between a flat and an apartment. I mean, a flat is a place where you can live or spend some time like a hotel room with room services included, that’s why it is more expensive than an apartment.

Between AmE and BrE the only difference is the name, since both mean exactly the same thing.

#7 – TV (television)/ TELLY

This one is quite simple and also kind of cute in BrE LOL

 

#8 – RESTROOM/ LOO

To me that’s the weirdest.

First keep in mind the difference between bathroom (the place where you bathe yourself/take a shower) and restroom (where you do anything but shower). That being done, notice that the equivalent to restroom in BrE is loo.

But why do they call it like that? I don’t know. Some people say it is because of a French expression they used when people flung their potty waste out of the window: “Gardez l’eau” (gar-day low) which means “watch out for the water”. Some say it is because the European used to call the restroom “Room 100” I guess we’ll never know the real origin of the term.

 

Also remember that the British English is spoken in a different accent, “Harry Potter” (Harry Pottah) for example (say it in BrE accent), remember? Kkkk

Not only the language is different between these two countries, they say British people are more polite than the Americans but you’ll have to travel and see if it’s true by yourself kkk

 

So, that’s it for today guys. I really hope you have enjoyed today’s episode. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support and for listening to this English bite. Take care of yourselves and I’ll see you on the next one. Bye

 

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