Friday, December 14, 2007

More words

There are so many everyday expressions that are different here.

We say, "I want a round-trip ticket to London." Brits say, "I want a return to London."

We all know what shove off means, but the Brits use it regularly to say they're leaving. "We decided to shove off." But if you tell someone to shove off, it means "get lost."

Words I've heard in the newsroom from colleagues:
I'm chuffed with my apartment. (really pleased)
I feel like I've been faffing about all day. (working in a scattered, ineffectual way)
That's kind of naff. (old fashioned, out of date)
He's a dosser. (a layabout, do-nothing person)

"Cracking" is an all-purpose positive modifier that has a connotation of sharp positivity. It was a cracking goal. They were a cracking good group. That company had a cracking year.

If you slag someone off you are basically trashing them. "He's always slagging off his competitors."
Last week, one of the young women in our office actually used the word "blimey" to express surprise. A Londoner on the staff uses what I thought was an Australian expression of surprise -- crikey.

"Rubbish" is a great all-purpose negative. That's rubbish. He's rubbish. It's a rubbish newspaper. They have a rubbish football team. Rubbish. And with a northern accent, it sounds even better -- the U has a nice long sound.

An oddity of speech here is how they use auxiliary verbs. We leave off part of the verb in the States, but Brits don't. Will you go to the game? We say "I will." They say, "I will do."
Have you called him yet? "I have," we say. They say, "I have done."

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