Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Language Bloopers

Part 2

As a continuation from the last post, here are some more confusing American / British terms:

bloody - covered with blood (American), bloody -expletive used to express anger as in, “This bloody car is stalling again!”(British)

brackets - small accessories used to hold shelves in place (American), brackets - punctuation used to enclose words, what Americans call parentheses (British)

chaps - leather leggings worn by cowboys (American), chaps - men or boys (British)

dead beat -an idler/ someone who does not pay his debt (American), dead beat - exhausted, very tired (British)

international - something that is foreign to the US (American), international -something that is common in more than one country (British)

…and the list goes on. Wikipedia offers two lists: (A-L): (M-Z):

Here are a couple of language related stories from the mission field:

A missionary aunt told me she once gave her cook instructions for preparing dinner. For dessert they were to have a fruit salad so she brought each fruit that was to be in the salad & told him to chop each one up to make the salad. But when dessert time came, he didn't bring anything so she asked him about the fruit. He responded, "Please ma, you say I should chop it - so I did." He had eaten it. ("chop it" in Pidgin English meant to eat it - "chop" is the Pidgin word for food and if you “chop it up” you eat it up.)

Another friend told of a letter his father received where the writer was asking for prayer that his wife might conceive a child. In explaining that she had not yet been able to conceive, he wrote: “My wife is unbearable. She is inconceivable. She is impregnable, like a fortress.”

But sometimes the shoe was on the other foot. My father preached a sermon in which he called Hezekiah the “monkey” of Judah, rather than the “king” of Judah. The Yoruba word for king is oba, pronounced “awbah” and the word for monkey is obo, pronounced “awbaw”. He confused the two and the little children giggled throughout his entire sermon so he knew something was wrong. But he didn’t know until it was over what he had said.


  1. I was lead to your blog by means I can't explain. I've enjoyed reading your posts and chose to follow you. Would you consider following mine at

  2. I followed you. :) I think I remember meeting you at the Ky Christian Writer's conference several years ago in a class taught by Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress. Does that sound familiar to you?