• http://mauricewalshe mauricewalshe

    actually “ize” vs is valid British English – the Oxford English Dictionary does allow ize as a variant spelling.

    Also for some product copy you have to watch American Imperial vs Imperial Imperial units – I came across this in using car makers press releases. MPG in particular will need recalculating. Ps to BHP is almost a 121 mapping but you can convert from Pferdestärke to BHP if you want to be exact (Wolfram Alpha is your friend in this case)

  • adamryp

    In America, a circus is usually a positive thing. However, when you use the word circus to refer to something other than an actual circus, it often means something like “a bunch of idiots running around in strange costumes being stupid”.

  • adamryp

    Here’s a definition for the slang usage:

    Something suggestive of a circus, as in frenetic activity or noisy disorder.

  • http://www.stateofsearch.com Bas van den Beld

    Thats what I understood Adam, but as a European I didn’t mean that, hence my thoughts on the differences in languages :)

  • http://www.blueadvertising.biz Blas Giffuni

    Great post, however I don’t feel that calling Mexican Spanish to serve all LatAm countries is compelling, as a matter of fact Mexican Spanish is way different and often times bad interpreted by other countries like Colombia.

    Also the Coger example I think has a many variations as pop corn which is a really interesting case, pop corn = Palomitas de maíz, maíz pira, cotufas, etc.

  • http://www.vabene.biz,www.lokalesucheblog.de Antonio De Mitri

    Great post, interesting point of view. Yet some further aspects are missing. E.g.:
    – Denglish, i.e. this horrible mixture between German (“Deutsch”) and English, reflecting the German’s obsession to fill every sentence with alleged English technical terms which so often are mere rubbish (e.g.: Public Viewing for soccer matches which are broadcasted on large screens on public squares, or “handy” which means the mobile phone). So this is really a challenge for every English native speaker.
    – Western German German, Eastern German German (yes, they have separated remarkably after 40 years of division), Austrian German, Swiss German. Their vernacular sometimes seems to consist of 3 different languages.

  • Guy F

    “Watch your language” indeed. Solid advice from a “writer” who doesn’t even know the difference between its and it’s.

  • Miles Carter

    As someone from the UK who has also lived in Canada for a year, I have to disagree with this comparison of UK and US English.

    “Did you know that what you call a “bathroom” in the US is mostly called a “loo” or “toilet” in the UK?”

    Just not true. I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone use the word ‘loo’. This is a myth that’s not been true for years – many born pre 1950 will regularly say loo, otherwise, no.

    The UK equivalent of saying “I need to go to the bathroom” is usually something like “I need to pay a visit” or “I need to spend a penny”, or in common parlance, ‘gotta take a slash’. Americans call it a toilet too, just not when talking about needing to use it.

    “or in slang, “plastered” means really, really drunk”

    This is common slang in the UK, meaning exactly the same thing and is definitely not unique to US English – I believe this slang may actually originate from the UK. The UK also has a rich variety of other slang words which mean the same thing.

    “Pissed” would be a better example as this means both angry and drunk in the UK but only angry in the US

    “UK English usually is a bit more “formal” and feels more like a “written” language where US English is more of a “speaking” language”

    This is what I disagree with most strongly. I just don’t know what you can base this idea on. Both UK and US English have a massive scale of formality to informality, and I think that UK has a richer slang/idiom and is frequently used at less formal levels than US English, both in written and spoken language – see the writings of people like Charlie Brooker in the Guardian, for example.

    Like calling the toilet the ‘bathroom’ – this seems laughably formal/prudish to an English person. Along the same lines, in every day conversation ‘toilet paper’ will usually be called ‘bog roll’ in the UK, with ‘bog’ being a much more common slang word for toilet than ‘loo’. I think it’s true that there’s a bigger difference between spoken and written British English though.

    When living in Canada, I found very much that I had to stop contracting words and ‘speak properly’ to be understood, and not because of my accent. North Americans pronounce things more clearly as a rule and don’t run words and sentences together in the same way is common in Britain. Like in much of the north of the UK people would say informally “y’wan’ow’?” “Do you want anything?” which is completely incomprehensible to Americans.

  • http://blossom.nu Jenni B

    ‘in every day conversation ‘toilet paper’ will usually be called ‘bog roll’ in the UK’

    Not really. Many examples you cite are region differences, not nation-wide ones.

  • http://www.stateofsearch.com Bas van den Beld

    Hi all,

    thank you for your responses. I’m sure everyone of you has valid points when it comes to what is right English or not. With your comments you actually under scribe what I’m trying to say: there are differences within the same language. Whether it’s English or other languages which Antonio rightfully points out.

    You can argue about my examples and whether they are right or wrong but that only confirms there are differences you need to sort out. And true, that even goes within one country.

    As for Guy: good to see you are thoroughly reading my articles :)