Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Do You Call That?

One of the things I love about blogging is that I get to meet so many different people from different places. Places that I will probably never be able to visit. It's a way to peek into other cultures. To see how we are different, but mostly to see how much we are all alike.

Many years ago, my brother D.E., became friends with a girl from England, named Fiona. She came for a visit one year and spent Christmas with us. At some point, we started talking about the differences in the words we used to  name things. So, we started a "game". I must remind you that this occured probably 20 years (ack!!) ago, so it is quite possible that I might not have the right words. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Us: We call this a television, what do you call it?

Fiona: A telly

Us: We call the front of the car a hood, what do you call it?

Fiona: A bonnet

We would pause for a moment, talk about how interesting it was, then move on to name something else.  This went on and on until finally, we said, "We call this a table, what do you call it?"

She looked at us kind of strangely then said, " Uh,we call it a table, too."

Of course, the tables (haha, unintended!) were turned on us when we took her to the mall. Since this was in December in Ohio, and the weather was cold, we drove up and down the parking lot looking for a spot that was close to the door. After several minutes of searching and not finding a close enough parking spot, she said, "I don't understand you Americans. You spend all your time driving around trying to find a close spot, when you can just park, and walk in. Look at all these empty spaces where you could park."

We tried to justify that it was cold and windy, but she wasn't buying it! So, we sheepishly parked the car, far, far away, then hurried into the mall.

At one point, we thought we lost her. When we found her, she explained that she had heard some girls talking about wanting to "hang out". She didn't know what that meant, so she started following them to see what they would do. She was disappointed that she never got to see them hang out. We kind 
of laughed and told her that what she witnessed was "hanging out". 

"But, they didn't do anything! They just walked around."

"Well, yeah," we said, "that's pretty much what hanging out is."

I don't know what she was expecting to see, but we could tell she was pretty bummed out that it wasn't more exciting.

And, now, here is a little quiz for you.
Do you know what this is?

I'll tell you the answer tomorrow.


  1. My daughter just got engaged to a Brit, embarrassing he was the first to comment on my last blog post.

  2. I don't have a clue!!!! I know more British phrases. If you are coming to visit someone, you are coming round to knock them up! A pretty girl is a bird. Your stories are funny, though!!!

  3. Well because it looks like a plumber's friend (plunger) that's my guess but it seems to obvious so I will look forward to the reveal!

  4. When DH and I got married there were several linguistic differences too with me growing up out west and him here in the midwest. Such as I called it Pop and he calls it Soda. We still laugh about it sometimes.

    I think your item is an old fashioned laundry plunger, to agitate the laundry to help it get clean.

  5. Yes, it's funny how, although we both speak English, so many words are different, such as your elevator and our lift. Your trunk and our suitcase. Your sidewalk and our pavement. And of course, the spelling is completely different to in lots of words. I can't really guess what that instrument is, I'm afraid.

  6. What a cool post! Its so true about the different terms for the same things. As a camp counselor I bunked with girls from England and we would laugh at all the differences. The first few days they would follow me aroiund just to hear me say words in my New York accent! LOL!
    Blessings, Joanne


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