As you may remember, I spent many of my formative years in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. One of the first things I realized upon arriving to that fair city was that speaking English for years in Greece had not prepared me for the thrill of actually communicating with the natives. Specifically, I was caught unawares of the wonderful nuances that make all the difference.
“How are you today?” I’d ask my fellow students.
“Aye, not too bad, actually” they’d reply.
“Why, what’s wrong?” I’d ask, clueless to the fact that this is a Scotsman’s understated way of saying, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
So, when I found a hilarious post on The Idealist Revolution website on the subject, I just had to share as a helpful guide to my American friends, anyone setting their scenes in the UK and anyone wanting to visit…
British English Translated: what they say and what it means
‘I might join you later’ — Translation: I’m not leaving the house today unless it’s on fire.
‘Excuse me, sorry, is anyone sitting here?’ — Translation: You have 3 seconds to move your bag before I get really annoyed.
‘Not to worry.’ — Translation: I will never forget this!
‘Bit wet out there.’ — Translation: Don’t forget your snorkel before heading out.
‘Right then, I really should start to think about possibly making a move.’ — Translation: Bye!
‘It’s fine.’ — Translation: It really couldn’t get any worse, but it probably will do…
‘Perfect.’ — Translation: Well, that’s ruined then!
‘A bit of a pickle.’ — Translation: We’re thoroughly screwed, as a result of a catastrophically bad situation with potentially fatal consequences.
‘Honestly, it doesn’t matter.’ — Translation: Nothing has ever mattered more than this.
‘You’ve caught the sun.’ — Translation: You look like you’ve been swimming in a volcano.
‘That’s certainly one way of looking at it.’ — Translation: Only an idiot could look at it this way.
‘If you say so.’ — Translation: What you’re saying is the height of idiocy. You’re an idiot.
‘With all due respect…’ — Translation: Not only are you an idiot, so is your mother and every member of your extended family.
‘It could be worse.’ — Translation: It couldn’t possibly be any worse, unless a giant asteroid was headed our way and we only had 5 seconds to live.
‘Each to their own.’ — Translation: You’re too much of an idiot for me to even discuss things with you.
‘Pop around anytime.’ — Translation: If you show up around my house, I’ll release the hounds.
‘I’m just popping out for lunch, does anyone else want anything?’ — Translation: I’m getting my own lunch now, please don’t ask me to get you anything.
‘No, no, honestly it was my fault.’ — Translation: It was absolutely your fault and we both know it.
‘No, yeah, that’s very interesting!’ — Translation: Your story is so boring that I’m quietly slipping into a coma.
‘No harm done.’ — Translation: You have ruined everything.
‘Just whenever you get a minute…’ — Translation: Now!
‘I’m sure it’ll be fine.’ — Translation: The situation is deteriorating rapidly, and it’s all your fault.
While pondering the famous “two nations divided by a common language” saying, why not enjoy my award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile for free?