Chapter 8-1: English is not American
Apr 18, 2021
Most of the word changes are slight, there are no life-threatening differences. Most of the misunderstandings cause minor irritations. It took me quite a few years to remember not to order chips with sandwiches in America as I'd end up with crisps, and not the French fries I was eagerly anticipating, that a torch is a flashlight, and telling a child to walk on the pavement will not be appreciated by their parents who would prefer their children to walk on the sidewalks. I keep my spare tire in my car boot, the engine is hidden under the bonnet. Perhaps really confusing is describing the British education system where the public schools are private.
My most embarrassing moment occurred on my first day as a teaching assistant in Saskatoon. I arrived on time to find twenty students waiting for their lab to begin. The only problem was that the blackboard was totally covered in writing and I could see no blackboard rubber in sight. I was already nervous and as the minutes ticked by still failed to see anything that resembled a rubber. I turned around and asked the students sitting in the front row if they'd seen the rubber, and as soon as the words slipped out of my mouth, I knew that what I had asked was 'Has anyone seen the condom?' Grins spread over the faces of the four young men sitting in the front row and I felt a bright red blush creep up my face. I turned back to the blackboard inwardly cursing myself and out of the corner of my eye saw the rubber lying on the floor, and picking it up loudly stated "Ah, here's the blackboard rubber, or eraser as it's known in Canada,” and boldly proceeded with the lab.