Smalltalk auf Englisch
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Grammatik auf Englisch
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Smalltalk auf Englisch - Kommunikationsunterschiede: USA / GB

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch, Smalltalk Englisch, Kommunikationsunterschiede: USA / GB

With so many Web sites and publicat ions proclaiming ( as if we didn’t know ) that English is the ‘international language’, you’d think once you know how to speak English, that communicating in the UK and the US would be easy. The truth is, despite a shared language, even these countries use the language differently. The varying usage reflects differences in attitude, humour, and tradition. The great playwright Sir George Bernard Shaw said that the UK and US are ‘two countries separated by a common language’. But it’s not just about different spellings. Do you know the subtle differences?

Different pronunciation

In the UK, if you need to look at your calendar before committing to a meeting, you need to look at your schedule ( pronounced shed-jewel ). In the US, you’d use the same word, but it’s pronounced sked-jewel.
If you say sked-jewel in the UK, they’ll think you’re using an American pronunciation. If you say shed-jewel in the US, you’ll create the impression that you are pretentious and possibly pompous, even though they know you are European. This is because there are certain words that Americans associate only with the spoiled British upper crust. Leaving a British upper crust impression in the US may not work in your favour, so it’s best to avoid it.
The British also use a shorter sound for the vowel ‘a’. The word ask, for example, is pronounced much like the short ‘o’ in the word hot. In the US, the ‘a’ sounds more like hat. Words following this rule include: task, afternoon, and answer.
One other prominent difference in pronunciation is with the letter ‘u’. In the US, ‘u’ nearly always sounds like ‘oo’ as in moon. In the UK, ‘u’ usually sounds like yew. Consider the following pronunciations:

Word - UK - US
stupid - styewpid - stoopid
student - styewdent - stoodent
aluminium - alyewminium - aloominum*
Jaguar - Jagyewar - Jagooar

Some common business words are spelled and pronounced the same in both countries, but the stress is often different. Examples:

address - address
magazine - magazine
controversy - controversy
aluminum - aluminium

There is no formal rule for this, but as a general assumption, Americans tend to stress the first syllable of words having three or more syllables. The British often stress the second or third. It’s just something you have to learn, but it does make both languages sound very different.

Different meaning


You’ll hear the word quite in both countries, but it usually has a different meaning. In the UK, quite means somewhat. In the US, it means very. Consider the impact this sentence would have in the UK and in the US:
It’s quite hot today.

One word you’ll hear in business is moot:
That has become a moot issue.
In the UK, moot means the issue is open for discussion, while in the US, the issue has already been judged to be pointless, handled, or no longer worth considering.

The word homely can also be a problem. In the UK, homely is much like gemütlich. In the US, it means hässlich. Consider the impact this can have:
Your house is very homely.
Consider the complexity of throwing in the word quite:
I find this restaurant quite homely.

In the UK, the toilet is the room containing the toilet and the sink. So if you’re in London and say I was just in the toilet, you won’t raise any eyebrows. In the US, the word you want is bathroom or lavatory. Toilet refers to the porcelain throne itself. The word is considered crude and is seldom used. If you were to say I was just in the toilet in the US, you’d probably raise a few eyebrows. Someone might even hand you a towel.

In the US, pants is the word for Hose. In the UK, it’s the word for Slip. At first this doesn’t sound like it would be a problem, but consider the impact of the following sentence in both countries.
Susan spilled wine on her pants during lunch and decided to go home.
In the UK, the word you want is trousers. Trousers is, however, rarely used in the US except in the men’s clothing department, so it’s best to learn both words and use the right one for the country you’re in.

In the US, smart means intelligent. In the UK, it usually means you are well dressed. Consider the meaning:
I don’t think Robert was thinking about whether he looked smart or not when he made that suggestion.

Cultural differences


You might hear an American ordering in a restaurant the way a German orders in a bakery, and decide to order the same way in English wherever you go:
I’ll have the steak.
Not a good idea. In a UK restaurant, this is rude. Always use please when ordering in the UK:
I’ll have the steak, please.
In fact, no matter where you go, always say please, even if the natives don’t.
Learn to use have instead of get when asking for things. The following work in both countries:
Could I have one of those, please?
I’d like to have…

You could use get instead of have in the US, like the natives do, but in the UK, get sounds rather uncouth.

Mobile phone
In the UK, the word for Handy is mobile phone, or mobile. In the US, it’s cellphone. You can also use mobile in the US, but cellphone in the UK is likely to draw a blank. For greatest flexibility, learn to use the word mobile.

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch, Smalltalk Englisch, Kommunikationsunterschiede: USA / GB

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