Language Barriers

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When I tell people I am playing basketball in England they always do one of two things: Ask me if they speak English in England (the answer is in the question), or they say “Cheerio mate” to which I reply “except they don’t actually say cheerio”.

It has been nice playing in England though because there isn’t a real big language barrier, but let’s be honest, a lot of the things we say in America are not the same over here. I decided to write some of these things down.

1. Boots/kit – this is referring to basketball sneakers and uniform. Oddly enough, still doesn’t sound right when I say “I have my kit” or “Let me just put my boots on real quick”

2. Having a laugh/taking the mick/taking the piss – we usually just say, “you joking me?” The first time someone asked me if I was taking the piss, it was through text, and I literally looked out of every window to see if someone was watching me go to the bathroom.

3. Tuna/Tube/Tune – So actually these mean the same thing, its the way they are said that is different. Chuna/Chube/Chune. Me and Steph got a real kick out of listening to Vanessa and Ellis try to explain why they put a CH in front of words that start with a T.

4. Duck/petal/flower – People say these when they are talking to you. “Hiya duck, you alright?” well, the first time I heard that I turned to my friend and asked why some guy just called me a duck. I didn’t like it.

5. Physio – athletic trainer. I actually like this word because athletic trainer is just too long to say. Thanks England.

6. Solicitor – Sarah told me she was a full-time solicitor. I was confused at first because I pictured all the signs at home that say “No Soliciting” and I was pretty sure they were the same words. Then I thought, maybe my definition of soliciting was wrong. Over Christmas break I watched Woman in Black and that’s when I realized Sarah was a lawyer (which makes sense, she’s so intelligent) not someone who goes around trying to sell people things they don’t want.

7. Vest top – which is actually a better name for what we call a wife beater (politically incorrect on so many levels) I think the actual name is an A-Tee in American stores.

8. Jumper – So I’m warming up for a game when I was playing in Nottingham, shooting and what not. I mentioned to my teammate I was cold to which she responds “you should have brought your jumper” (cue blank stare). I looked at the ball and then the basket and said, I always have my jumper. Then I realized she meant my hoodie.

9. Dinner/tea – This is always confusing. Because in America, we have breakfast lunch and dinner, sometimes brunch. In England, there is Breakfast, Dinner, Tea and Supper. This isn’t the tea you drink either, its a meal. No, I still don’t get why they call it that.

10. Jelly – I’ve never liked peanut butter in my life, my mom always used to make me jelly sandwiches as a kid. I figured I could get jelly in England to make sandwiches when I didn’t feel like cooking. Big mistake. I bought jelly, and thought it was weird that it wouldn’t spread properly on my bread. I forced it to work anyways, finished making my sandwhich, took a bite, and realized I had made a jell-o sandwich. Wasn’t a high point in my life.

Lastly, I love it when people ask me if I speak “American”.



  1. Terri Wrice  January 13, 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. Excellent.

  2. Tobin Wrice  January 15, 2013

    Funny, funny, funny. Your American English teacher would be proud of your “Lost in Translation”. Lol


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