London Warnings Or Dangers Tips by grandmaR

London Warnings and Dangers: 667 reviews and 460 photos

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Bob reflected in mirror with bum bag - London

Bob reflected in mirror with bum bag

The Case for a Bum Bag or What is Lemonade

English English is quite different in some respects from American English. They say garden, and we say yard. To us a garden is somewhere to grow vegetables, and to them, a yard is a stable yard. Most of these differences are fairly benign, and understandable from context without extensive translation.

One slightly more risque difference is between the English "knock up" (which means to knock on someone's door perhaps to wake them up) and the American "knock up" (which means to make pregnant). [My dad almost decked the guy who asked if he wanted him 'to knock up' my mom. Fortunately my dad considered the context before he acted.]

Another potentially hazardous phrase is "fanny pack". That's obscene to the English (apparently refers to a part of the female anatomy which is hidden even when topless). To be less offensive, call them 'bum bags' or 'waist bags'.

The most difficult difference in terminology for our daughter occurs when she is working with American contractors in England. When the Brits say that they want 'to table' something, they mean that they want to discuss it, whereas to Americans, tabling something means to put it aside to discuss later.

My most difficult transition from American to English was accepting that 'lemonade' meant a carbonated drink like Sprite. It seemed really perverse to me to call something lemonade that wasn't. It wasn't even as though the English didn't HAVE lemonade.

I wanted something to drink which was non-carbonated, non-caffine non-bottled-water.

Later on during our visit, I discovered that I could ask for squash which is a sweetened juice concentrate. And sometimes a bartender would give me canned pineapple or some other type juice - a very small can, but regular juice. Or I could ask for tap water, but I don't remember the English term for it.


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  • Updated Jun 20, 2006
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