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That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 236 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As many of us know, straddling the Atlantic can be quite uncomfortable—and it doesn’t help that the word ‘quite’ doesn’t always mean what you think it means.  This is a brilliant guide to the revealing differences between two branches of English….As an English person I will say, ‘Oh, jolly well done,’ but I’d like to add ‘Good job!’”
–From the foreword by Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves
 
“I’m mad about this book! I don’t mean ‘angry’  in the American sense, but Britishly ‘enthusiastic, gobsmacked.’ Much has been written about the language barrier between Britspeak and Americanspeak, but, more than any other explorer, Erin Moore puts a human face on the subject.”
–Richard Lederer, author of Anguished English
 
“The ocean that divides England and America is awash with linguistic wreckage and cultural tumult. But Erin Moore’s study of these infested waters is serene, assured and hugely entertaining. They should hand her book out at border control.” 
–Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type 

“Moore manages to create a text that is eminently readable, clever (in the sincerely-intended American sense) and thought-provoking, gently breaking down some of the cultural stereotyping that plagues both Americans and British.” 
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Erin Moore grew up in Key West, Florida, and is a graduate of Harvard who also attended King’s College, London. She lives in London.

Product Details

  • File Size: 837 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1592408850
  • Publisher: Avery (March 24, 2015)
  • Publication Date: March 24, 2015
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L9AY4F2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am an American writer and former book editor living in London. I'm fascinated by the cultural differences between England and America, especially as they are expressed through language. In March 2015, Gotham Books (Penguin USA) will publish my book, THAT'S NOT ENGLISH: BRITISHISMS, AMERICANISMS AND WHAT OUR ENGLISH SAYS ABOUT US. I live in Islington with my husband, our children, Anne and Henry, and our cat, Sukha.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Yes, this book is a very, very witty examination of two cultures through the prism of a shared language that will entertain anyone who is interested in the warm and tricky transatlantic relationship between the US and the UK. No doubt about that! In my opinion, though, the even greater pleasure of this elegant book is its author's generous invitation to come along for a thrilling ride on her sophisticated stream of consciousness which is anthropological, historical and fun! Buckle up for it!
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Format: Hardcover
As anyone who reads my reviews probably knows, I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I like British novels and British TV & movies, so I’ve picked up a few Britishisms over the years. Well, I know quite a few, though not many have worked their way into my language. Based on what I’ve learned from Ms. Moore’s funny and informative book, however, that’s probably a good thing.

The typical Anglophile probably knows things like flat = apartment, boot = trunk, trainers = sneakers, and crisps = chips. Of course, there are still things to learn. I was interested to learn of the use of the word “whinge” as the rule to the exception of the “stiff upper lip”. I also really liked the word “skint” as an intense alternative to “broke”.

However, what Ms. Moore has done is much more than teach us words we might not know. She explains how, even if we know what a word means, we often don’t know what it means across the Pond. For example, being middle class is something different in the U.K. than in the U.S. And no fan of the current incarnation of Doctor Who can be less than surprised at how redheads (i.e. “gingers”) are treated in Great Britain. I was also pleased to finally understand the true meaning of a bespoke suit.

In the end, I felt myself well warned about the dangers of the fast and loose using of Britishisms. I do occasionally say “cheers” and I have a great desire to bring the words “fortnight” and “gobsmacked” to America, but I know that risk of too much word transfer is great. Even in England, as Ms. Moore shows quite clearly, I would easily stand out as American in my inaccuracies in tone and meaning (and accent). I have a couple of English friends who live here in America and I now better understand their difficulties in trying to master what is in many ways a foreign tongue.
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Format: Hardcover
We thoroughly enjoyed this book. We laughed out loud and reminisced about our early days of language and culture shock, in our case as immigrants from England to America. This book is a "must-read" for anyone interested in the two countries ... and even if you're not, it's a delight. it is beautifully written ... acute observation delivered with a light touch.
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Format: Hardcover
How many books about British vs. American English have we seen over the years? I think anyone who's the least bit interested in the topic already knows that it's 'football' in Britain (and the rest of the world) and 'soccer' in America. So Erin Moore, an American from Florida who married an American whose parents are British, doesn't waste our time with trivia like that. Instead, she takes an approach that has the anthropological bent of Kate Fox (Watching the English, Second Edition: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior Revised and Updated) with some Sarah Lyall humor (The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British) thrown in and the result is brilliant (in the British sense of very good, not in the American sense of being a work of Einsteinian genius).

One topic that Moore covers is that while many words are making their way from Britain to America and others are emigrating the other way, there are some words that simply will not travel. While Brits are well aware of the American "dude," they simply can't bring themselves to use it. And while Americans are willing to adopt just about any British phrases that catch our fancies, we often get them wrong. Lynne Truss, in her introduction, describes an NPR host asking her during an interview whether she considered herself a "berk or a wanker" which left Truss well and truly gobsmacked.

Moore goes beyond words and phrases and also talks about how Brits and Yanks differ in their amount of vacation time, the ceremonies involved in serving tea and in celebrating Christmas (Panto!
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perceptive and entertaining. Acute insights into the differences in English and American cultures and attitudes, as reflected in language.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entertaining and informative. Written by an American who now lives in England, this book makes commentary on the "foreign" words in the not-so-common language shared by these two countries. She takes it further by describing the cultural differences that bring these words in use. Her writing style is engaging and intimate; she lets you inside her mind's conversation. Her point of view allows her to stand on either side of the Atlantic and poke fun at both cultures.

I highly recommend this book. It makes a great gift for your transplanted friends whether American or British.
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