The USA and UK both speak English, right? But I swear sometimes, it is like I am learning a foreign language, because so many of our words for things, and their meanings are different. I find myself almost daily in a situation where I am talking about one thing, and they are talking about another, but we use the same word. I have decided to call these situations and mistranslations “Englishisms“.
A particularly funny double incident of Englishisms happened recently when I went Hobby Craft with a friend. We were buying supplies for our new Girl Guiding troop. (For you American readers, Hobby Craft is like a Joanne’s or Michaels) We filled a cart up on the first floor, but still had shopping to do on the second. (That is another common thing about life in the UK, because there is limited space, stores tend to go up rather than out like in America).
Unsure of how to get our stuff to the second floor I asked a clerk
“Do you have an elevator we can put our cart in?”
The clerk looked at me flabbergasted and stuttered out
“I’m sorry a what to put your car in?”
At this point my friend Maria stepped in and translated
“She means do you have a LIFT we can use with our TROLLEY”
They both proceeded to burst out laughing at the silly American.
So my Englishism this Friday is that Elevator=Lift and Shopping Cart/ Cart=Trolley.
I would like to add that in New Orleans, a trolley refers to a tram or streetcar. A mode of public transportation that is quite popular in San Francisco.