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That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us by [Moore, Erin]
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4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 236 pages Word Wise: Enabled 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: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,259 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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
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
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!
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Format: Hardcover
I liked this book and I believe I have good knowledge of both British and American English language usage and both cultures. I was born and raised in England, spending twenty years there, 1955 - 1975 first 5 years on Tyneside and then the remainder in Berkshire. So frankly my first hand knowledge on the British side is now dated, as I have lived almost my entire adult life in California. Here are some point where I think the author's explanation of the meaning of words and mine would differ:

YANKEE. In all my time in England I never heard a British person use "Yankee" to describe an American. It was always "Yank." A famous joke from the WW2 invasion of the U.K. by thousands of G.I.'s was "How can you tell a girl is wearing an American bra? One Yank and it's off."

The four letter C-WORD. I never heard this used towards a female growing up. It was used like "a-hole" among my male friends against other males. In the U.S. it seems to be primarily used as a slur against females.

MIDDLE CLASS - Weirdly, I observed very little profanity among middle class people in my parent's social circle. However upper class and working class people use it often. In Richard Henry Dana's book "Two Years Before the Mast" the author mentioned the unique prolific swearing of English seamen in the early 19th Century.

TRAINERS - I remember hearing shoes for exercise referred to as "pumps" at school, never "trainers."

WHINGE - I've only ever heard this word used by Australians to describe British immigrants in Australia who complain a lot... "Whingeing Poms." I don't recall hearing the word used in Britain.
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