English usage

I have always been fascinated by the differences between British and American English. As George Bernard Shaw pronounced, “Britain and America are two countries separated by the same language.”
I noticed something quite subtle, at airports in America the arrows point to “baggage claim, ” but in Britain they point to “baggage reclaim.” This is symptomatic of the differences between the two forms of English, British English is more pedantic but accurate, while American English is more general and informal.
Here are some usages that to me, having lived in both countries, are quite distinct. In America, everything is “great,” a word that is hardly heard in Britain, but on the other hand Brits say everything is “brilliant,” which in America has only one meaning, as applied to very clever people.
There are many well-known differences, such as boot/trunk or hood/bonnet in a car and queue/line or lorry/truck. But there are other less common differences, such as nought/zero and mac/raincoat. Two interesting differences are the word “yonks” that no American would know, meaning for a long time, as in “I haven’t seen you for yonks.” Another is “yob” meaning a tough guy, and comes from the backslang for “boy.” Also, “chockers” coming form “chock full” or “chock-a -block” menaing really full. Another British usage is the verb “to sort out” meaning to beat up or “take care” of someone.
In America there are also usages that no Brit would understand, for example in New England, “an English” refers to muffins. But, Brits get more exposed to American usage through the movies, while Americans don’t see so many British films. Still, now they can listen to David Beckham, and say to themselves, “wot’s that bloke talking about, wot’s soccer?”
PS. The strike was resolved in 1 day with as predicted a 5% raise in public sector salaries.


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