One of the things I initially struggled with a bit upon moving to the UK is what to do about the language differences, something I alluded to in this post. Do I take on British pronunciations? Should I use British terminology? If I use British words will I come off as mocking them since I will say them with an American accent? These are questions I never fathomed I would consider prior to moving here.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I plan on retaining the American pronunciation of various words. Perhaps I’m being obstinate, but I just find it so very odd to say tomato in the way the British do (pronounced tomato, with a short “a”). However, another issue (pronounced iss-oo here in the UK) is whether or not I should use British terminology. Just to give you an idea, here are some examples:
Instead of that’s “great” or “wonderful” it is quite common for people to state that’s “brilliant”
Instead of saying something is “crap” or “garbage” it is commonly referred to as “rubbish”.
Instead of figuring things out, one “sorts” them out.
Instead of stopping by someone’s office, one “pop’s by”.
Instead of trying something, one “gives it a go”.
A list of objects that don’t quite go together aren’t “odds and ends” but are “bits and bobs”.
Finally, something isn’t sketchy or off, but it is “dodgy”.
Some of these different words I quite like and have started to incorporate into my vocabulary. For example, at a recent lab meeting in which I was describing a compound known to have a lot of off target effects, I noted that the drug was a bit dodgy. This comment got a couple of chuckles as I imagine it sounded odd stated with an American accent. I also like sorting things out, giving things a go, and describing poorly constructed lab equipment as “rubbish!”. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say “brilliant” the way the British do with a straight face. All I can think of is those ridiculous Guinness commercials from several years back where they advertised Guinness being sold in a bottle….BRILLIANT!
I’m curious to see how many of these new words stick with me when I go back to the states, and if I get any odd looks from my US friends and colleagues when they inevitably slip out. You can take the American out of the UK, but how much of the UK will stick with the American?