Blog do Hala

Pelo Mundo Afora

Finally a post in English (or sort of…)

with one comment

Some of my friends in the UK, US and Italy are asking me to post parts of my blog in English, so they can follow it too! I never thought I would have such International success on this blog about experience of living abroad. So, I will do my best!

Disclaimer: Portuguese used to be my native language, then I learned English in Brazil (Basic School English: Hi. My Name is Bob. How are you? type-of-stuff), then I moved to the US, where I found out what I had learned was not usable English. Then I tried to learn English in the US, but I had to learn Spanish at the same time for business reasons. And soon after that I got to go to Italy, and then had to learn Italian. When I was starting to improve my Italian, I moved to the UK, where neither the English I learned in Brazil nor the US would be of any help. So, before you read these posts, let me apologise  in advance for my grammar mistakes. I can say now that I’m very good in making mistakes in 4 different languages! Hope you enjoy it!

Well, talking about languages and the difference between the English spoken in the US (I don’t use America for the US, because America is the Continent and not the country, but don’t get me started on that one) and the English spoken in the UK. I thought I was the only one having problems. But after 2 weeks living in the country, I asked an American colleague if he had understood a question our British colleague made and he answered: “No, because he is not speaking American, he is speaking British!”. So, I found that he was 100%correct, in reality English was the original idiom which generated 2 very distinct languages: American and British…


Examples of (A)merican and (B)ritish words meaning the same things:

A- Trunk: part of the car where you put your luggage. You can carry your boots, for example, inside your luggage.

B- Boot: part of the car where you put your trunk. You can carry your wellies, for example, inside your trunk.

Easy,huh? No it is NOT! I had to draw it for 10 minutes before writing it above. But basically:

Car Trunk in American is the same as Car Boot in British, which is called Wellies in British. Boots in British is the name of a drugstore too.

On the other hand, Trunk in British is the same as Luggage in American.

Car is Car in both languages, but the Steering Wheel is in different sides depending on the country. In the UK it is in the Right side of the car, which is not the Right side in the US, right?

Not happy huh? You need more examples of (A)merican and (B)ritish words meaning the same:

– At the restaurant, you ask for the…

A- Check

B- Bill

– Pay a bill with a…

A- Check

B- Cheque

– Just pay it at the…

A – Cashier

B – Till

– Fill it up with…

A – Gas

B – Petrol

– The last letter on the alphabet:

A – Letter Z

B – Letter Zed

Even easier…almost every word you write with Z in American, you must write with S in British.

A- Realise

B- Realize

A- Organise

B- Organize

Sending a letter? Use either

A- ZIP Code


B- Post Code

Don’t want to take the stairs:

A – Elevator


B – Lift

A- Excuse Me

B- Sorry

A- Sorry

B- Excuse Me


B- Caravan

A- Truck

B- Lorry

– Can I have a salary increase?

A- No

B- I’m afraid not

– Name a ball game you play with your feet:

A- Soccer

B- Football

– Have a nice day.

A – You too

B- And you

A- How are you?

B- Are you all right?

Excuse me/Sorry for a little digression: the first time someone asked me if I was all right in the UK I checked myself for some bleeding and checked if  I had forgotten the fly open…and asked back: Why? I don’t look OK? The person answered back: I’m just asking how are you? And I responded: Then why you just didn’t ask me How Am I? Took around 15 minutes in this discussion, pointless anyway.

– Nike is a brand of:

A- Sneakers

B- Trainers

A- Thanks for your business!

B- Thanks for your custom!

– You buy at McDonald’s:

A- French Fries

B- Chips

– You buy at the supermarket:

A- Chips

B- Lays


B- Motorway

A- Exit

B- Way Out

A- Subway

B- Tube

I could keep going forever, but I don’t have enough vocabulary for such a thing.

So, if you are American or British and felt a little confused about all that. Can you imagine what happen with us, poor foreigners, visiting or living in your countries? NO?! I thought so!

But it is no problem, in a near future when Mandarin becomes the World Business Language and then we will talk again…And if you are planning to learn Mandarin to be ready, I really hope you choose the correct version of it. Different than British and American English, there are 14 versions available:

ISO 639-3 ↓ Ethnologue name  ↓ Common name  ↓
gan Chinese, Gan Gan
hak Chinese, Hakka Hakka
czh Chinese, Huizhou Huizhou
cjy Chinese, Jinyu Jin
cmn Chinese, Mandarin Mandarin
mnp Chinese, Min Bei Min → Min Bei
cdo Chinese, Min Dong Min → Min Dong
nan Chinese, Min Nan Min → Min Nan
czo Chinese, Min Zhong Min → Min Zhong
cpx Chinese, Pu-Xian Min → Puxian
wuu Chinese, Wu Wu
hsn Chinese, Xiang Xiang
yue Chinese, Yue Cantonese
dng Dungan Mandarin → Dungan

Source: Wikipedia

Good Luck 😉



Written by paulohala

November 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Memorias...

One Response

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  1. That reminds me how similar Canadian English is to British English. Better this way. I don’t feel bad asking for “cutlery” in a fast food restaurant. In the US, people would think I’m asking for silver fork and knife.



    November 11, 2009 at 5:08 am

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