Monday, 11 July 2016

That's Not English

Erin Moore: That's Not English. Britishisms, Americanisms and what our English says about us

To put it in British terms, this book is not bad at all.
If I say it's quite good, I mean it the American way.
If this confuses you, just read the book. :)

This is recommended - might even say required - reading for everyone who loves the English language and comes into contact with both British and American usage.

It's especially useful for someone like me. I'm not a native speaker of any variety of English and thus I often find it hard to get all the nuances and subtle differences. With all my experiences of cross-cultural communication, there are still more pitfalls for me to discover... I'm so thankful that I can read books like this and learn about at least some of them without having to embarrass myself.

When reading this book, I realized that I tend to use certain expressions in the American sense and others in the British sense, unaware that they're different in the other.  A good example is the first chapter: "Quite", with this subtitle: In which we find out why Americans really like quite and the British only quite like really.

This book is both informative and humorous. Moore doesn't just discuss the differences in vocabulary and grammar, she also explores cultural differences. An American Anglophile, married to a British-American family and living in the UK, she has a pretty good grasp on both cultures and also the culture shocks that one enounters when moving from one to the other - despite speaking the 'same' language.

I put this book on my To Be Re-Read list immediately after finishing it.