Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Common Language

When I was in my early 20s, I dated a Liverpudlian. We argued playfully about the usual British vs. American English words: lift vs. elevator, car park vs. parking lot, sidewalk vs. pavement.

Now I'm married to a South Indian. We don't argue about Indian vs. American English so much as translate them in our heads. Sometimes he says fingers when he means toes, and he knows that when I say stroller, I mean perambulator.

Last weekend, we were dividing up the cleaning, and I said I'd vacuumed the basement, the stairs, the hall and the kitchen. Hours later he was puzzled about why there was dog hair on the dining room floor if I'd already cleaned it. I said I hadn't. He looked confused and said yes, you said you vacuumed the living and dining rooms, the basement and the stairs.


And this is how I learned that for my husband, "hall" means living room and dining room.


  1. Does he say that your dogs "yell" too? That's the one that always gets me with my husband - in American English, dogs bark, growl, whine, but do not yell. :-)

    Just stumbled across your blog - I'm looking forward to reading more!

  2. You know, I think he does, but I'm not sure -- at this point some of the language things have stopped registering.

    Thanks for reading, Gori Girl!


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