Hamming it Up – British Style

One of the things I really enjoy about social media is being able to converse with people from different countries on a daily basis, and soak up a little of their culture. Many of these friends are American and over the last year, Tammy Maas’ daily blog, ‘Animaasity’, has introduced me to many Americanisms. It makes for a hilarious read and always puts a smile on my face. On Twitter, I’ve experienced the thrill of the US Independence Day celebrations and the importance of family gatherings for Thanksgiving. I’ve made some wonderful new friendships, far too many to mention here. Recently, Edward Greenlee has made me chuckle with his charming American sense of humour and his recent post ‘Hamming it Up’. This post is dedicated to all my friends across the pond, new and old. You make my days richer in every sense.

I was very fortunate to take a road trip across the States, from the west coast to the east, several years back. What struck me were the little differences. We all eat, work, sleep, love our children, and enjoy the company of those dear to us. But there are little nuances in the way we do these things that is enchanting, and one of the most delightful of these is in our language.

My daughter still chortles when we watch a Hollywood movie and somebody refers to their trousers as ‘pants’. For us, pants are underwear. You have Hershey bars, we have Cadburys. You enjoy takeouts, whereas we indulge takeaways. Your children wear diapers and are pushed about in strollers. Ours wear nappies and travel in pushchairs. In writing, you use the ‘period’; we use the full stop. My American friend, Tammy, giggled when I talked about dancing around my lounge. I understand your lounges only exist in bars. We also have lounges in bars, but many of us refer to the front rooms in our houses as lounges too. I could go on and on…

I come from a land where the appearance of our courtroom resembles a circus: barristers prance around in ancient wigs and gowns; judges preside in robes that are almost clown-like. Buckingham Palace, the home of our Queen, is guarded by men who can barely see beneath ridiculously large fluffy helmets and look as though they have just stepped out of a cartoon. I’m not complaining. I love the quirks in my own culture, just as much as those in others. Quirks build the layers of fabric that make up our world. And what an eclectic mix we are.

I’m sure in my reserved culture there are many ‘hams’ just dying to break out. I’m off now to dance around my lounge with Bollo whilst eating a Cadburys bar. (Think I might have some competition for the chocolate…)

14 thoughts on “Hamming it Up – British Style

  1. I also love those differences. It’s funny how the exact same word, can have completely different connotations depending on where you are. There are also instances of the same thing within one country, for example, use the word junk in one setting (I’m talking in the UK now) and you would be thinking all the useless rubbish you accumulate in your home, garage or loft etc. Use it in the world of drugs and you have another thing altogether.

    Words are amazing things and I think that’s why we, and many people love them Jane, as writers, we see so many wonderful ways they can be used, and misused.

    A wonderful post.

  2. I love it! I am going to tell my friends that we are having a takeaway party, here at my lounge, and that only pants are required. We shall have one chortle of a time. We will laugh so hard they will need nappies on standby.

    See, you are indeed one big Ham. You have inspired me. I’m thinking of creating a middle aged troupe of men and call it Monty Hamlet. Keep writing about our differences. I want more, more, more.

    • Rofl! I’m posting the nappies as we speak. I love ‘Monty Hamlet’. It sounds like the name of an eccentric gentleman who chuckles his days away on wonderful memories. Perfect!

  3. Hi Jane, great post about the differences, I often tell people that since I moved to the USA from Canada I am now bilingual, I speak English and American.

    Hope all is well ~hugs~

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