Since we moved to Geneva last year, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to learn my husband’s native tongue of French — but I’ve also had the pleasure of expanding my English vocabulary from a purely American repertoire to one that understands that your Irish friend has not, in fact, just declared that she’s high (more on that later). Indeed, it turns out that the differences between American, British and Irish English extend quite a bit beyond the occasional “bloody hell,” and often can lead to some rather amusing confusion. I’ve been keeping a list of some of those particularities since I started grad school last semester, courtesy of my dear — American dear that is — classmates who call England and Ireland home. So without further ado, here it is: An American’s Guide to Understanding Your British and Irish Friends!
It’s been trendy in the states for a while now to put random French phrases on clothes and bags, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for the French tees that line the shelves of J.Crew and Madewell. That’s why I’ve been somewhat amused that, in many of the clothing shop windows in Geneva, what do I see? English, English, English.