Divided by a Common Language: A Guide to British and American English

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Press:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (September 26, 2007)
Publication Date:2007
Author Name:Christopher Davies


Puzzled by signs warning you to “mind the gap” in the London Underground? Wondering what will be on your plate if you order “toad in the hole” in a London café? In Divided by a Common Language, Christopher Davies explains these expressions and discusses the many differences in pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary between British and American English. 
He compares the customs, manners, and practical details of daily life in the United Kingdom and the United States, and American readers will enjoy his account of American culture as seen through an Englishman’s eyes.
Davies tops it off with an amusing list of expressions that sound innocent enough in one country but make quite the opposite impression in the other.
Two large glossaries help travelers translate from one variety of English to the other, and additional lists explain the distinctive words of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Divided by a Common Language is the ideal travel companion for both British visitors to the U.S.
and American visitors to the U.K.
It is also the perfect book for Britons interested in American culture and Americans enjoying British novels, movies, and television at home.

From the Author

Serious reference or humorous, yours to decide... 
Having grown up in England, I ventured forth at the aged 20 to visit relatives in New Zealand.
How could I possibly know at that time that England was never going to be home again....
After seven years down under, I settled in the United States in 1980.
Twenty years later I am still fascinated by American culture.
The linguistic differences are enormous.
The words "tailback" and "dustman", mean nothing to the average American and probably never will in the foreseeable future.
Brits coming over on "holiday" still use the terms, "bathing costume", and "flannel", much to the amusement of Americans within earshot.
In this book, I have tried to cover every aspect of the differences between British and American English, from spelling differences to pronunciation differences; even comparing different idioms and expressions used on the other side of the pond.
I hope you enjoy the book with all its intrinsic humor, but I think having read the book, you'll be just as fascinated as I am by the vast linguistic gulf that separates the two countries.
By the way, did you know that Americans have not always driven on the right? The details are in the book.
Christopher Davies (CDavies324@aol.com)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER DAVIES was born and raised in England and spent several years living in Australia and New Zealand. 
In 1980 he settled in Florida.
The many unfamiliar expressions and pronunciations that he encountered in American English led him to write Divided by a Common Language.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

HERE ARE SOME WORRDS FROM THE UK - US LEXICON   Dustbin day =Garbage day  Dustcart =Garbage truck  Dustman =Garbage collector  Dutch courage =Alcohol induced courage  Earth wire =Ground wire  Eiderdown =Comforter  Elastoplast =Band Aid (brand names)  Elevenses =Morning tea break  Emulsion paint =Latex paint  Envisage =Envision  Estate agent =Realtor / Real estate agent  Estate car =Station wagon  HERE ARE SOME WORRDS FROM THE US - UK LEXICON    Cornstarch =Corn flour  Costume party =Fancy dress party  Costumer =Costumier  Cot         =Camp bed  Cotton  =Cotton wool  Cotton candy =Candyfloss  Councilman =Councillor  Counterclockwise =Anticlockwise  Coveralls =Boiler suit  Coyote  =Wild wolflike dog  Crack, to =Open slightly (window or door)  Cranky  =Irritable  (see cranky U.K.)  Crazy quilt =Patchwork quilt  Cream (slang) =Smash up / Beat up  Cream of wheat =Semolina

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Travel,Reference,General,Politics & Social Sciences,Social Sciences,Linguistics,Words, Language & Grammar

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     The book is largely a glossary - perhaps almost half - which doesn't exactly make for Interesting reading.
  •     This book is great for anyone traveling to the UK. Funny and informative.
  •     I'm British, now living in the USA. When I was studying English at Oxford an American student arrived for the same course with this book in her luggage.
  •     This is sheer enjoyment for readers, writers, editors, and crossword puzzle enthusiasts.Christopher Davies has written a delightful dictionary that is comprised of:* Two cross language lexicons. UK-- Stone the crows! US -- Holy cow!. US -- pumps (high heels); UK -- court shoes* Cartoons that depict the US or UK interpretations in a humorous manner.* Term classifications these explanations are lists of words and what they mean to each culture. "If an American asks you to crack a window, he wants you to open it slightly."* Other variations which includes Canadian, Australian, South African terms and their American equivalent. A chip wagon is a van on the side of the road from which snacks are sold. However many Americans use colloquialisms such as lunch truck and roach coach, which are not listed in this dictionary.* Words that have different meanings such as S.T.D. (US Sexually Transmitted Diseases and UK Subscriber Truck Dialling.)* Idioms and expressions such as (UK) feel peckish (US) have the munchies.* What not to say. "Bugger" is not polite in England; the UK phrase "give me a tinkle" should be replaced with "give me a call."The chapters headings are: What happened to English in America; Tips for the Tourist; Practical Information; For the Technically Minded; Institutions and Services; Differences in Customs and Etiquette; Driving Terminology; Pronunciation; Spelling; Sundry Terms; What not to Say; Idioms and Expressions; UK-US Lexicon; US - UK Lexicon; Explanations; Notes on Symbols; Some Other Variations of English; Miscellaneous Information.I love dictionaries. At 194 pages, Davies provides entertainment and information. It is a five star jaunt into words and meanings.Victoria Tarrani
  •     Mom's going on a trip to England for the first time and she loved this book
  •     This is just the book to have when establishing a relationship with a Brit. Same language...different meanings.Good help along the way. Amusing, anyway.
  •     I plan to go to the UK next year and wanted to be understand their version of English. I love the show "Doc Martin," and wanted to understand some words I didn't know, such as...
  •     We have several British friends and together we laughed ourselves silly over this wonderful little guide to "proper English" no matter which side of the ocean you are...
  •     Very interesting book detailing some of the British and Amercan English and helps decifer the discrepancies. It is a wonderful addition to my resource library.
  •     Taking his cue from George Bernard Shaw's, "England and America are two countries divided by a common language", Christopher Davies, of Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., has penned, "Divided By A Common Language" with the subtitle, "A British/American Dictionary Plus, published by Mayflower Press. Divided, there's that word again, into sixteen sections interspersed with humorous illustrations, Davies takes us an historical, as well as practical, journey, even pointing out the differences between American and British plumbing! In the vocabulary portions we find the U.S. word "diaper" translated into "nappy", (familiar to watchers of British TV, ie, telly, shows).The U.S. slang "shut up" becomes "belt up" in the U.K. The examples are numerous and sometimes funny, sometimes surprising. In the restaurant section I was intrigued with "spotted dick" which is a suet or sponge pudding with currants. Also "bubble & squeak" which is a fried mashed potatoes and veggies patty. The handsome red, white and blue cover sports the two countries' flags, tempting you to sample its contents. Do, you won't be disappointed. A must-read for transatlantic travellers plus those who just love words and their derivations. Davies has appeared on many television shows and his book has been showcased on nationwide PBS channels and featured in the British publication Union Jack. Buy it--you'll like it! I await, with anticipation, the sequel.Iris Forrest, Editor Ageless Press, Sarasota, Florida
  •     This book provides some good information (and some not so good, too), but the problem it that the book is so poorly organized that it is utterly useless as a reference.
  •     This review is for the KINDLE edition in particular.While I found the content of the book itself a lot of fun to read and very interesting. . .It was absolutely horrible on the Kindle due to the many pages that contained lists of words comparing British English to American English.The print on these lists could not be magnified in any way, thus a lot of the information simply was impossible to read!If you're going to buy this, buy the print edition.
  •     I am an American and I have a very good friend from London. Recently my friend came to visit America, and while he was here I pulled out my copy of this book to see what he thought. While many of the terms were accurate, there were a significant number of entries that were outdated, completely off the mark, or close but not quite applied correctly. I handed my friend a red pen and he proceeded to rewrite some entries. He commented several times that the author "must have never been to England or spoken with actual English people" as there were so many phrases with inaccurate UK definitions or usages.We did like the pronounciation comparison charts, though, and had a good time saying each of the words and comparing pronounciations. And making fun of the other person where necessary.Overall I'd say, it's a good reference for an overall picture, but if you plan on incorporating any of the phrases into your vocabulary, have it checked by a native first.
  •     It has been recommanded by some English person I met in the waiting-room of my veterinary !!! It was a great meeting for me because I have now the answer for so many words used by...

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