Fun talk:British English

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I've made a substantial re-write of this introduction as "British English" is the language spoken in the UK. Other forms of English such as "Australian English" or "Indian English" are not the same as British English.--Bob_M (talk) 08:58, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Wondered how long it'd take. (not signing Bob?)Keep garlic for vampires 08:07, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Sig now. .-)--Bob_M (talk) 08:58, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
As far as I understand it, Noah Webster was the driving force behind minor spelling reform in the US - but as this is about British English I'm not going to debate the point.:-) --Bob_M (talk) 09:01, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
I thought it was Dewey, but according to WP it was Webster. humanbe in 13:35, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
I wonder, would the whole "ghoti" thing fit in here? It certainly amuses me.
Also, Canadian English doesn't differ terribly in spelling from British, but there is some crossover with American English in terms of vocabulary. --Kels 11:41, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
Long live ghotiolomans. ThunderkatzHo! 11:46, 18 August 2007 (CDT)


Adding a few headers made my head hurt with how this article is not organized. Can various parts that are similar in subject be moved around so it makes a coherent-reading article? humanbe in 13:35, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Good idea H - you're nominated. (It'll have to be someone who can see more than 1 line @ a time- not me) Keep garlic for vampires 13:46, 18 August 2007 (CDT)


An interesting thought occurred to me. If it weren't for the USians being so wildly successful and making such a point of trumpeting the language differences, would the British have been quite so resistant to natural change in the Mother Tongue? --Kels 13:37, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Oh kels, we're not - we're stillaccumulating & inventig words from all over the place. You wanna see resistance - te French have even made laws about it! Keep garlic for vampires 13:43, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

I live only a few km from the Quebec border. Believe me, I know language laws. --Kels 14:05, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
Like being an Anglophone living in Wales in this disUnited Kingdom. You gotta larn t' live with it, huh? Keep garlic for vampires 14:17, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
(I know, rather late, but whatever.) Japan has also considered that. China I think has some as well, but considering the complexity of the characters, it makes some sense. Researcher 15:33, 8 January 2008 (EST)


Hey, my edit was sourced. --Trust No One 14:32, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes but it was contentious, such edits should be discussed here before sticking in. Especially @ the top of the article. If you'd re-iterate it here ... ? Keep garlic for vampires 14:38, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

It's not true till we're taken over. Which may or may not have already happened. We're pretty ignorant of current events. ThunderkatzHo! 14:40, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
*sigh* For those who missed it: there is no such thing as "US English", or "American football" or "French fries" for that matter. And no amount of contention is going to change that. [source]. --Trust No One 14:47, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Sooorry that falls outside the five year elegibility deadline for acceptable lols. Although I do remember when it was funny. Keep garlic for vampires 14:54, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

Yo. Boring already. I'm off to find some funnier place on teh internets. Enjoy your goat & Adieu. --Seven Years of Trials and Tribulations 15:13, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

'Wiedersehen. Keep garlic for vampires 15:19, 18 August 2007 (CDT)


I have changed the line: "there are many differences within British English in both pronunciation and spelling. to "there are many differences within British English in both pronunciation and vocabulary." British spelling is described in dictionaries which have a national scope. --Bob_M (talk) 15:58, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

"Cut ize"[edit]

I have cut this line: in many words ending in '-ised' this is retained where it is replaced with '-ized' (a more onomatopoeic version) in American. as it suggested in context that "ize" was a newer form. This is far from clear, and furthermore the "ize" form if the one preferred by the OED, which rather complicates the issue.--Bobbing up 15:29, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Yeah, I believe they are both acceptable (and common?) in both regions, as long as you are internally consistent.


I would find the reference to British English being superior amusing if it were actually funny (perhaps if Al Murray said it). But it isn't, so its just slightly offensive. I am British.Streona 21:01, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Hee, hee, so'm I & about another dozen or so of us. SusanPurrrrrrr 21:21, 15 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not "British", but I am a UK citizen (Welsh, exiled in 'Murka), and I respect both the New World attempts to reform teh speling, and the archaic beauty of the unspelling of the English language in all her glory. Or his. humanUser talk:Human 00:58, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Uhm....actually.....our American cousins retain many words and spellings that we have moved away from. English spelling in the 1600s wasn't set in stone - FFS, Shakepseare signed his name in at least 15 different ways using 15 different spelling variations. An example of one such word is "vittles", meaning food and drink. A pub in my home town of Northampton has the word enscribed above the bar, from about the late 1800s. In certain areas of the US, "vittles" is still in common use, but I've never heard anyone in the UK use in my lifetime (I'm 41, btw). But I use older, more archaic words - dank, harr, mithering, shoing, sin (as in "I haven't sin it", i.e. I have not seen/obseved it. I thought I'd point these out, just to present a balanced view here..... Nah, eyem gooin' dyne tyne wiv me bryn trysis on (as we say in Nuthumptn). Spica 18:18, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Streona - as the writer of the original superiority comment I would like to point out that I'm Irish. So therefore it IS funny. DogP 18:31, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Hmmm, just the other day I was thinking that "vittles" sounds like a country corruption of "victuals". Is "dank" archaic? Not that any of these comments matter. I do, however, think it's funny to say that Brit. Eng. is superior. It's so... imperial. So the joke cuts both ways. It's a just a very dry joke, is all. And that's so British. humanUser talk:Human 09:35, 19 January 2008 (EST)

Being Irish would not make the comment funnier, but it could arguably make it more objective.Streona 09:28, 20 January 2008 (EST)


In the US this is such an offensive word that it was even reverted from this article when I put it in to point this out. Sounds like you have been out there too long, Human. Mind how you go in the cloakroom! Streona 04:46, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Removed not becaase it was an offensive word, but because most of what was written was either wrong or not funny. And think about it, calling a toilet a "lavatory" is pretty euphemistic as well. I prefer "pissoir"... Maybe there should be a section on the separate but similar endless dirtying and euphemizing of the words in both places (and Oz, Canada, etc.?) for where we go to urinate and defecate? humanUser talk:Human 12:02, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Sorry, human, but I have to back up Streona on this one. Lavatory is not a euphemism in the UK, it's a nomal everyday word. It certainly isn't offensive. Anyway, as a Brit who has traveled extensively in the US of A I feel that Streona's point was valid and informative. Silver Sloth 12:31, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Actually this is an interestingly question which I have spoken to various Brits about at various times. Some consider both "toilet" and "lavatory" to be words to be avoided and end up with "loo" - others don't care either way. But it explains the popular hostess' "Would you like to wash your hands?" question.--Bobbing up 12:41, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Of course lav is a euphemism. It means "wash". Much as in USA they say "bathroom" as a euph. for toilet. My objection was to about half of what was there, which just didn't make sense. Like, USAians know that "bill" and "check" can be synonyms. And they don't call toilets "cloakrooms" in the US, the word is actually uncommon. If you want to try to fix it so it is more accurate, great. By the way, euphemisms are everyday words, that cover up the activity considered too dirty to name in nice company (like "enhanced interrogation techniques", or "collateral damage"). And if you look into it, in both versions of English, toilets have gone through a long history of "renaming" - each word that is used eventually becomes "dirty by association" and another one comes along to be the new polite version. For instance, "crapper" has evolved from the word for a flush toilet into a mild epithet for feces and a broad word meaning "bad" (crap). humanUser talk:Human 12:48, 16 January 2008 (EST)

"Toilet" is a euphemism - performing toilet means to wash, as in toilet water perfume. The usual word in the US seems to be "restroom", which sounds just too ridiculous for words. But look, I do not want to have a go at Americans- it just seems odd that they have an aversion to humanity's more earthier functions, unlike the Germans who have specifically designed WCs in order to examine it. Maybe this is a good thing. I am beginning to wish I hadn't even gone there.(not to the USA, but to the- metaphorical- restroom) Streona 14:14, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Haha, yes, of course it is too. I do think a section on defecation stations would be cool, but there is so much more to say about it - "water closet", not a euphemism? I suppose that a room with running water may have preceded putting a urine disposal appliance in there? And I think I do agree that USAians are probably more fastidious (in some general way) in their euphemisms for the pooper than elsewhere - along with their fascination with deodorants and showers. Can we start, perhaps, with lists of the regional words for les pissoirs? Then try to put them in historical order? Then add pictures stolen from humanUser talk:Human 14:21, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Most, if not all, of these words are examples of euphemisms for where we take a crap that referred to the other, less offensive activities that can also take place in the same room: bathroom, lavatory, toilet, restroom. What is interesting is how the euphemism over time acquires the same offensive connotation that the word it replaced had, as in the case of the word "toilet" in the United States, which really only means washing yourself.

It's interesting that here in Spain a lady can say "I'm going for a piss." without any problem. The word "piss" is the same in both languages. First time I heard it I almost blew a mouthful of wine across the table. There are scatological swearwords here of course - but the more usual ones are weird super-blasphemous religious phrases. --Bobbing up 15:03, 16 January 2008 (EST)

That used to be the case in Britain as well. Doesn't "bloody" refer to "blood of Christ?" Even in the States we still use "Jesus" "God damn" and the like, or if you're an evangelical, euphemistic substitutions like "Gosh darn." PoorEd 15:23, 16 January 2008 (EST)
BTW, Streona, you ended up using a euphemism of a euphemism yourself: W.C. I have to say water closet is a rather weird way to refer to the place you pinch your loaf. PoorEd 15:26, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Actually, PoorEd, "bloody" comes from "by our Lady", referring to the Virgin Mary. --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 15:31, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Interestingly "crap" (verb) was first recorded in 1846 - Thomas Crapper, developer of the flush toilet was born in 1836 - coincidence? ( I understood that "bloody" -> "by our lady") SusanPurrrrrrr 16:26, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Could we find a nicer word than "euphemism" ? Streona 17:59, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Good one! :) humanUser talk:Human 10:31, 18 January 2008 (EST)
The OED seems to think we don't know what the derivation of "bloody" is, and suggests that all the blasphemous derivations are spurious. That's no fun. PoorEd 09:48, 18 January 2008 (EST)
I think that the 'by our Lady' derivation was invented by T.H.White in 'The Sword In The Stone' Silver Sloth 10:38, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Spawn of Satan[edit]

What? No article on international English? --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 15:21, 16 January 2008 (EST)

No such thing ;) Spica 18:41, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Srpringfranglish. humanUser talk:Human 20:00, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Iechyd da! Spica 18:10, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Other Englishes[edit]

There's also "ad-english" words that are only used in adverts - haunting me now is "proven" (pr-oh-ven) which was definitely archaic but has been supplanting "proved" in (particularly) hair care product ads. Don't know why it gets my goat but: grrrrrr. Over here we also suffer from the mid/trans-Atlantic accent; puts me off the product rather than having teh intended effect. SusanPurrrrrrr 11:17, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Proven is also part of one of the three Scots judicial outcomes - guilty, not guilty and not proven. Spica 18:12, 17 January 2008 (EST)
I remember reading about that somewhere. "Not proven" is "Not guilty, but don't do it again," right? -Master Bra'tacKree! 18:48, 17 January 2008 (EST)
"Other ways of speaking"?--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 18:57, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Think it was a way of sneaking round the double indemnity thing (which has now been remove in UK). Allowed the "felon" to go free but be charged again @ a later date. SusanPurrrrrrr 19:03, 17 January 2008 (EST)

I think I must take issue with Miss Susan. "Not Proven" remains a part of Scottish law, and the accused presently still has protection from double jeopardy in Scotland.--Bobbing up 04:42, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Mea culpa. SusanPurrrrrrr 11:04, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Indeed, Bob. In essence, it's a sort of "aye, we ken ye did tha deed, but we hae nae got the evidence to put ya away fur a verrrry lang tyme" sort of thing. It's related to open crimes - Not proven charges can remain open files. Spica 18:21, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Adverts in Britain are often voiced over in a US accent for children's toys and cosmetics. I don't know why. In the US the only ad I saw with a cockney/East London accent was for Geico insurance. In the UK rather soft Scottish accents are often preferred for financial services. People rarely want to buy anything from an Essex or Birmingham accent and West Country accents appear to have moved from being portrayed as stupid to hypomanic- especially Hampshire. My wife -who had recently arrived from Pakistan originally thought that a Glaswegian accent was how homeless alcoholics spoke when drunk. I realise this is quite a sleight upon Glaswegians, but is unintentional as I used to live in Glasgow. Working with homeless alcoholics as it happens... Streona 09:38, 20 January 2008 (EST) Streona 09:35, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Geico is in a British accent here stateside, too. At least, the Geico gecko is. humanUser talk:Human 11:56, 20 January 2008 (EST)
You should read James Kilpatrick's Writer's Art column, Susan. He specializes in stuff like this. --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 16:05, 24 January 2008 (EST)


When I went to Massachussets I visited Gloucester and Worcester, where they are pronounced exactly the same as in England. Streona 09:25, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Yes, pretty much all the "copied" English place names in New England are. humanUser talk:Human 12:00, 20 January 2008 (EST)
Really? So "Gloucester" is pronounced "Gloss-ster", "Worcester" is pronounced "Wuss-ster" and "Towcester" is pronoucned "Toaster" (and yes, that *is* how it's correctly pronounced)? Spica 15:50, 24 January 2008 (EST)
Absolutely. humanUser talk:Human 15:54, 24 January 2008 (EST)
I've always thought the English propensity to name places in America after places in England demonstrated a certain failure of imagination. But I suppose they were not alone in that regard. PoorEd 14:08, 25 January 2008 (EST)
It may have been homesickness, too. Also, there are a plethora of Native placenames - like, most of the states themselves. What's funny is the repetition - some town names are represented in virtually every Eastern state, and many are in several... Dover, Portsmouth, York, Lee, Durham, Charleston (OK, that's French, I think), etc. humanUser talk:Human 16:42, 25 January 2008 (EST)
We are quite different in the Midwest. Detroit was obviously a French possession, sitting on the Straights of Detroit (falsely called a river). Most of the suburbs have meaningless names like "Southfield", or vanity name. One is called Novi, apocryphally from being No. VI on a particular train route. 16:46, 25 January 2008 (EST)
Your state is called "Michigan". Native name. Oh, and Novi is mentioned, I suspect in the Michigan article here. We're funny like that. humanUser talk:Human 23:59, 25 January 2008 (EST)

And how many different ways can you pronounce "Cirencester", apart from exactly how it is written ? Streona 05:54, 28 January 2008 (EST)

27? Do I win? humanUser talk:Human 12:51, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Only if you can list them, and even then nobody else pronounces it any differently than if it were spelled with "Siren-sester", whether in the USA or the UK.

Habla español?[edit]

For an April Fool's Day joke, could someone re-write the whole page in Spanish, with only the examples of British/American differences left in English? 'Cause that would just make my day (even if I wouldn't be able to read it).  :-) --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 16:25, 5 February 2008 (EST)

How about a sister article called British Spanish (a la cabra)? humanUser talk:Human 19:17, 5 February 2008 (EST)
Ahhh, FUCK! I forgot this, oh well... NightFlareSpeak, mortal 17:14, 7 April 2008 (EDT)


Unless 'tush' is a lady's front bottom then it aint American for fanny. SusanPurrrrrrr 22:10, 5 February 2008 (EST)

Oh, ok, so fanny should go to "cunt", which can then be british for the american "bitch"?
By the way, since there are zillions of these things, and half of our list are funny and half isn't, shall we slowly excise the sanity and make it hilarious-only? humanUser talk:Human 22:17, 5 February 2008 (EST)
PS, my favorite was "tomato/tomato". I fell off my chair when I added that... humanUser talk:Human 22:18, 5 February 2008 (EST)

Gear went out with the 1960's[edit]

So did "groovy". I just thought is was amusing to continue what we've been doing with different use of the same words. Amuses me, anyway. :-)Rational Ed5 or 6 edits 13:06, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

What's weird about Midddlesbrough?[edit]

It seems fairly reasonable to me, now Edinburgh pronounced Edinburrough (ish) is a nother thing. SusanG  ContribsTalk 13:54, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Fair enough. I'd add a village from near to my home town called Happisburgh (pronounced Haysbrur), except that nobody has ever heard of it and most Brits wouldn't know how to pronounce it either. But we Brits certainly know how to mangle our own language! Bondurant 14:00, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
Not mangle - enliven? SusanG  ContribsTalk 14:04, 30 August 2008 (EDT)
I'd put it all down to long usage and familiarity. The town where I grew up was called Snorbins by everyone who lived there but, if you put that down as the official pronunciation you would have the residents of St Albans up in arms. Similarly the village of Wheathampstead (officially pronounced as written) was called Whampsted Silver Sloth 14:09, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Number of words[edit]

We say:

  • English is reputed to have the largest vocabulary of any language in the world - although this does rather depend on how you define a "word". This is largely due to the addition of many words based on Latin and French, to what was originally a Germanic language. It is also due to the fact that the English language became dominant at a time when technology was changing so rapidly that countless new words were first coined in the English language.

I take extreme exception to this. It's outstandingly subjective. Apart from the "what is a word" issue there is also the question of how words are counted. How would one count conjugations? Past participles used as adjectives? Species names which are common to all languages? Chemical names? (With these two you can dwarf the number of "normal" words in any language.) Some languages make up words on the fly by combining elements - giving rise to the 400 words of snow (or whatever) in Eskimo languages. How would you count those? Then there is the question of whether a word is actually used - it may exist but be be so obsolete that it isn't used any more. Do we count it or not? Do we count slang? Do we count regional words? Do we count a word if it is used in the UK but not in the US or in all international varieties of English (Including Indian English which has a large selection of incomprehensible words from native languages.) If a word has two spellings is that one word or two? Two past participles like "lighted" and "lit" or "dived" and "dove"?

OK, one could count the words in a dictionary and do it that way - but which dictionary? English dictionaries vary wildly in the words the include. You might say use the OED, but an very large proportion of the words in that are simply dead.

This is one of the things that "everybody knows", but it's very hard to demonstrate. Also I've spoken to quite a few Spanish people who are equally convinced that Spanish has the largest number of words.

The only thing we can really measure is the number of words used by an educated speaker and - guess what - it tends to be the same for most languages.--Bobbing up 16:20, 13 February 2009 (EST)

First, the Eskimos don't have a zillion words for snow, that's an urban myth (New Englanders and skiers do, however!). Second, I think the key to the claim is the combination of English's "willingness" to absorb words from other languages (no Academie Francaise to get in the way...), and the British Empire's reach - exposing the language to so many other language's words. That said, I agree that the claim is a complex one to analyze - cf, your note about the Spanish, the above arguments would fairly well apply there, too (although, the BE was more extensive). Surely linguists have studied this and keep track of roughly how many words are "current" in many languages? On another note, similar to the species/chemical names (especially chemical names), languages like German (as I understand it) essentially have an infinite vocabulary, due to the rules it uses for "assembling" new, longer words out of other words - IOW, in English we would always say "small black dog" - three simple words, whereas in German there could easily (and probably is) be a single word (eine klieneschwartzhunde?). At least the text says "reputed"... Also, regarding the technology thing, if a French-speaking person says "le fax", or "les innertubes", aren't those really also French words now as well? ħumanUser talk:Human 17:01, 13 February 2009 (EST)
I know the Eskimos don't have a zillion words for snow - that's my point. It all depends on how you define a word. The way their language works you take what would three words in English "cold wet snow" and their language (technically an agglutinative language) makes one "word" out of it. But it's not "word" in the sense that we would recognise. As you note, German does something similar.
My understanding is that linguists would not make such a bold claim. Indeed, my copy of "The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of the English Language" criticizes the claim on the same basis that I have. (And which is probably where I got my objections from some years ago.)
Referring to it briefly, in addition the the points I made they also mention such things as abbreviations, and millions of flowers and insects as causing problems.
Interestingly, they also maintain that it is difficult to even estimate the size of the average person's vocabulary for various reasons. Partly because we have an active and a passive vocabulary and partly because we can often "know" words we have never seen before either because of their context or because they are made up of other parts of words we already know.--Bobbing up 17:28, 13 February 2009 (EST)

Variant pronounciations[edit]

There is a broad south-north division that can be summarised in the pairings- 'us/uz' and 'book/buuk.' Mention should be made of the non-self-descriptive glottal stop (which should be glo'al stop) and Tim Wonnacott. (talk) 16:11, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Oriental Gentleman[edit]

No it doesn't. "Unsupported folk etymology has long explained it as being an acronym for "Westernised )or "Wily")Oriental Gentlemen" used by the British in India and Pakistan, referring to the educated indigenous populace. " According to the other wiki. SophieWilder 07:38, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

I think this is what is known as a "backronym" and a sly attempt to legitimise a racist slur. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmutatingModerator 09:08, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to legitisise anything, I just pointed out that the article defines wog wrongly. And I'm from the UK. Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:21, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't referring to you dear, but to the original exponents of the worthy oriental gentleman thing. P.S. I know damn well where you're from as I went to KE6. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 19:14, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard oriental people (i.e. E.Asian) referred to as wogs. It was originally a (racist) term for black people (golliwog dolls being an example) but by the mid twentieth century was more usually applied to Indians or Pakistanis. Hence this. I don't think it's a very commonly used word nowadays; not that there isn't still a lot of racism in the UK, but it's quite an old-fashioned word. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:03, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
In the eighties I heard someone call a ghetto blaster a "wog box" so it was still being used for blacks then. There's also "wogs begin at Calais" so it could apply to almost anybody. SophieWilder 20:13, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I heard an English co-worker refer to a boom-box as a wogophone in the eighties... that's as far as my survey extends. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 21:02, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
In 60's and 70's Britain 'wog' was quite common. It died out as racial equality began to bite - OK, yeah, we've still got a way to go. Alf Garnet (Archie bunker to you Yanks) might have used the word 'wog' but nowadays it's shock value is so extreme that even racists know they shouldn't. Innocent Bystander (talk) 21:54, 21 September 2012 (UTC)


"Indeed, before the British had the rather strange idea of using "an" to precede any word starting with a vowel, the word "an" meant "if"."

Actually, the original was an, and the n got dropped before consonants, just like how mine hands became my hands, compare German mein. The "if" bit is true, though. (talk)

URGENT - Off mission Article Crisis - URGENT[edit]

So we've got an "off-mission" template...

I'm not disputing that, but am noting this article has been here for six years, is interesting and inoffensive, and is reasonably well-written. AFAICT there is no discernible way of rewriting the article to make it on-mission. VOXHUMANA 00:10, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Option 1 - remove template and just ignore the alleged 'off-mission-ness' of the article[edit]

  1. VOXHUMANA 00:10, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. --DamoHi 01:50, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  3. If the thunder don't get you/Then the lightning will. 01:51, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  4. Arrant pedantry is a form of authoritarian fundamentalism. Snartical should stay. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:57, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  5. Template was slapped on by someone who had a lot of their own pet articles "missionized" so I regard it as pique. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmutatingModerator 08:27, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  6. --Alice 13:12, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Option 2 - Move article to Fun[edit]

  1. Either cut this down significantly or funspace it. Osaka Sun (talk) 00:12, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  2. Move to fun, keep the useful bits in English, which needs to be an article again. SophieWilder 01:39, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  3. It's mostly just banal trivia lists. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:48, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Option 3 - Delete the article[edit]

Option 4 - Delete the article, delete any other article which even references the US-UK-ETC English variation topic and send the Westboro Baptists to picket the homes of anyone who ever edited this topic[edit]

Option 5 - Get so outraged by this article you immediately LANCB[edit]

Option 6 - Goat[edit]


In some places near the midwest Canadian border with the US, "trough" is pronounced "troth." Is that the case in any idiom of British English? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:47, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

It normally rhymes with cough over here. SophieWilder 02:00, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Farmers in Scotland traditionally pronounce the gh as guttural. The English seem unable to handle the velar fricative anymore (they call Bach, Baaak) as do some of the people in Edinburgh.-Albannach (talk) 16:22, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

largest vocabulary[edit]

The text states:English is reputed to have the largest vocabulary of any language in the world - although this does rather depend on how you define a "word". This is largely due to the addition of many Latin and French words to the older Germanic base. It is also due to the fact that the English language became dominant at a time when technology was changing so rapidly that countless new words were first coined in the English language.

"Largest vocabulary" is a bit debatable - though it does acknowledge that it depends on what a "word" is. But more importantly the sentence - It is also due to the fact that the English language became dominant at a time when technology was changing so rapidly that countless new words were first coined in the English language. - is obviously wrong.

The existence of these new technological words in English would not result in the English vocabulary being bigger. These technological words would be equally necessary in other languages where they would either be taken from English or created in the other language. In any event they would soon become words in the non-English language and would not contribute to any difference in the total number of words between the two languages.

Unless somebody can point out where I'm wrong I'll be bold and edit it later.--Weirdstuff (talk) 21:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Ok, I've cut it.--Weirdstuff (talk) 15:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

British Englishes[edit]

There are 'many' versions of BritEnglish - Lallands, Scouse, Channel Islander, 'proper grammatic English', legalese, Red Top (newspapers)... (talk) 16:26, 3 September 2013 (UTC)


I don't see how this or the American English page serve the missions. They're mostly just trivia lists, not analysing or refuting anything. So some words & phrases differ between continents, so what? I suggest moving to funspace. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:48, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Agree, they're nice articles but they don't fit in. Move them. SophieWilderModerator 20:57, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Fun.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 07:56, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Fun, fun. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you. Moderator 10:12, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
It's funny. To funspace. :-) Refugeetalk page 18:44, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm liking this trend. No need to delete stuff if it can be improved or is funny enough to move to Fun. Very cool. --Kels (talk) 21:36, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh yes, there are lots of ways to save something that's good but off-mission. I moved a bunch of pet projects into userspace a while back. SophieWilderModerator 21:49, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Many BritEnglishes[edit]

There are a range of dialects (the Watford Gap divides us/book (south) from uz/buuk (north), regionalisms and accents which can be mutually incomprehensible (see episodes of Taggart). This is partly due to there having been historically a number of versionso f English involving different contributory languages. (talk) 18:13, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

My rollback[edit]

I was going to give a reason but I didn't get that option. I think it was originally reverted because new words for things that have never been seen before are often going to be in the language of the culture you got them from. And that's going to be in in American English and British English. AMassiveGay (talk) 20:11, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

French words and French derived words also exist in American English as well. And some loanwords (particularly those of Indian extraction or those originating in a few square miles of snow) are indeed unique to British usage. (talk) 22:45, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Canadian loanwords are unique to British English? Huh? WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:57, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Clever mustelid! For example, USAns would use the word "chinook" where Blighty's denizens might say "Foehn". (The one named after a Salish village is an Alpine wind in the Pacific Northwest.) Alec Sanderson (talk) 23:18, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I guess they might. I've never known them to. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:25, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I guess it would have been better for me to say I don't know of a UK equivalent, and the German loan word might be more familiar to you. Alec Sanderson (talk) 23:32, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
If we subscribe to the simple dichotomy of British and American English, where does that put the language spoken by Anglo-Canadians or in Australia... ? (talk) 00:01, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
If we subscribe to the simple dichotomy of UK and US English, we would be ignoring facts on the ground too numerous to record. It is no accident that ignoring and ignorance use many of the same letters. Alec Sanderson (talk) 15:00, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── My point exactly: The dichotomy is pointless to the point of being meaningless. Even in written English it does not work. One crore, anybody? (talk) 15:47, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Hence the location in fun space. Here, it is OK to paint with a broader brush, without getting into finicky detail about (often almost mutually unintelligible) regional idioms or the anglophone diaspora. Potato, potahto. Half a crore of one, fifty lakh of the other. Alec Sanderson (talk) 15:59, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
So? Should we mention the propensity for Brits to use pretentious French words and spell good old American words pretentiously French (centre? flavour? mon dieu!). Or is this something not worth mentioning? (talk) 16:05, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
It's not pretentious if everybody around them says it the same. And then, what to do with courgette/zucchini? The Italian name is a "good old American word" if I ever heard one. Alec Sanderson (talk) 16:14, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Don't all the Brits talk with the pretentious boarding school accent of upper class twits? </sarcasm>. I'd go with zucchini any time, even though next to nobody can stand the taste... Where does courgette even come from? (talk) 16:29, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Couldn't say. I now live in a corner of the US where the local folk sound funny. I've been here long enough that it is beginning to sound normal to me. Ciao, Alec Sanderson (talk) 16:36, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

British use of understatement[edit]

This should be mentioned - there are whole lists of such terms ('Quite nice' = 0/10; and in some joint US-UK military intervention the 'UK-chap-in-charge' said "We have a slight problem" which the 'US-chap-in-charge' took at face value). (talk) 15:55, 24 November 2015 (UTC)


... is one means whereby one's class can be determined the instant one open's one mouth (along with U and non-U terms, fish knives and other signs and symbols).

There is also 'raise up' and 'raze to the ground' (and 'to cleave together' and 'cleave assunder'). (talk) 18:07, 24 November 2015 (UTC)