Monday, September 5, 2011

British Word of the Day

It has come to my attention (not mentioning names of course, KATHY) that Brits secretly snicker at Americans when we say 'pastel'. Apparently, we say it funny. Pa-STELL.

If you are in London, be sure to say it this way: PAH-stl. Barely give that second syllable any attention. All the emphasis is on the first. And of course make your A sound like an O. There, you have it!

(That's ok. Americans secretly snicker at how Brits say "Aluminium".)

11 comments:

  1. Where I live there is an American women who owns a oil & vinegar shop, when I went in to look at her stuff I had to try really hard not to laugh at how she kept saying the word "Basil".
    English say it more like Baaa-sul, but she said it more like Bay-sul.

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  2. It is a very affectionate giggle!

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  3. P.S You really say Aluminium like that???? Giggle giggle giggle!

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  4. I clicked the link, secretly hoping to snicker at aluminium. But once again, I think the British make it sound very classy (drat)!

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  5. But the way you say Aluminium IS funny!!! Say after me - AL-U-MIN-I-UM. Not AL-OOO-MIN-UM. And I won't start on the way things are pronounced "up north"! Or here in Wales..... you have heard of Wales haven't you! ;o)

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  6. I heard the British word "twee" for the first time a few years ago. What a handy word that must be. Is it commonly used in the UK?

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  7. I am Irish living in the US and have given up trying to order tomato and basil soup in restaurants because it makes everyone laugh.
    Also I had to teach a class about 'vitamins' and explained to the students beforehand that they would just have to accept the European pronunciation as I wasn't going to be able to remember it all the way through class :D
    I will say though that following the rules of how metals are named Aluminium is more correct than Aluminum - sorry :O

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  8. I have noticed what you say about pronunciation though and it isn't just 'pastel' - I think we tend to emphasise the beginnings of words and in the US it's the ends. The one I always notice is adult - we say A-dult and Americans say a-DULT (or at least in my experience). But there are plenty of examples when you start to listen out for them.

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  9. Toastie, if you laugh at us for basil we get to laugh at you for tomato. Snicker snicker.

    Ann, of course I have heard of Wales! Wouldn't it be funny to have a Welsh word of the day? You'll be interested to know that my ancestral maiden Lewis family was supposedly from Wales at some point. Who knows if that one is true though? I'd LOVE to visit the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Maybe someday.

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  10. Shelly, I've never heard twee. But it is fun to say.

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  11. eilf, we may laugh but secretly we find it completely charming. Agreed about the general tendency to emphasize different parts of words. Then when you throw in the fact that your vowels sound different on top of that, it is a wonder we can understand each other.

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