British and American vocabulary differences

How do Americans pronounce the word gyro? And what about the word mandatory? I was surprised!

Here’s another video in our series with Super Agent Awesome on British and American English vocabulary differences. In this video we look at differences like drapes and curtains and barrette and slide and we explain what we’d call them in British and American English. Some of the other words we explore include shot, jab, pit, stone, mono and glandular fever.

14 British and American English Vocabulary Differences

Hi. I’m Vicki and I’m British. And I’m Super Agent Awesome and I’m American. And together we’re going to look at some words that are a little bit different.
What do you call that. That looks like a gyro. And I would call it a kebab. You said “yeer-oh.” Yes. I’m glad you taught me that because I’ve always read it, in America, and I thought it was pronounced “ji-roh.” And that… But now I know how to say it properly. Yeah.
Gyro. Kebab.
When you start to drive and you pass your test, what will you get? Oh, you would get a driver’s license. We say driving licence in the UK and we spell licence with a ‘c’ not an ‘s.’ How old do you have to be drive. 16 in America. It’s 17 I think in the UK. And when you’re learning you have to put signs on the car. We call them L-Plates. The sign indicates to all the other cars around you that this is a learner. And so they should be careful and give them extra room. Oh yeah, we have those in America. But it… we have the magnet on the rear of a car that says Student Driver – Please Be Careful. Ah, same sort of thing. But in England, it’s different because L-Plates are compulsory. Learner drivers have to use them. Wait, compulsory. Oh wait. Is that another word… It’s another word for mandated. Oh ok. You might say it’s mandated? What… mandatory. Oh, it’s mandatory. Yeah we say that. OK, so you might say it’s mandatory. Wait, “manda tree?” Oh, I don’t know. What would you say? “Manda – tory.” Oh, right. Ok. Driver’s license. Driving licence. Student driver. Learner driver. L plate. Mandatory. Compulsory.
Oh no, not the flu shot. Anything but that. You called it a flu shot. Yes. We’d call it an injection. Or, if we’re speaking informally, we might call it a jab. Like that? Yes.
I hope you never experience this. This is an illness where your glands swell up and it goes on for months and months. And it often happens actually to young people, to teenagers. In the next few years you might find some of your friends get this. Really. Wait, how? Um, sometimes it’s called the kissing disease. Oh, uh, I think I heard it once or twice, but I think it’s called mono. Mono is the short form for it. Jay, what’s the full name. Mononucleosis. In British English it has a completely different name. We call it glandular fever. Shot. Injection or jab. Mono or mononucleosis. Glandular fever.
Imagine these things are in front of a window. What are they? Uh, we call those drapes or curtains. Ok, we could call them curtains too, but we don’t normally call them drapes. So what are these? Oh, they’re blinds. We might call them blinds too or we’d call them venetian blinds. And what about these? They’re also blinds. We could call them roller blinds. Ok, that does make sense. Why do we confuse these two? Drapes or curtains. Curtains. Blind. Venetian blind. Blind. Roller blind. This is Jay and I’d call this a shade.
What’s this? Scotch tape. And I would call it sellotape. I think Scotch tape is actually a brand name. Oh. It’s so common in the states that everybody refers to it as Scotch tape. Oh, they’re bobby pins. I would call them hair grips. Hair grips? Or just grips. And there’s something else that women will wear in their hair. Oh, they’re barrettes. And we would probably call them slides. Why slides? Do they slide off your hair? Sometimes they do, but I think they mean that they slide into your hair. Scotch tape. Sellotape. Bobby pins. Hair grips. Barrette. Slide.
What’s this? That’s a peach. And what’s this thing in the middle? That looks like the pit of the peach. Yes, we could say the pit in British English too, but I think we’d normally say stone. Peach pit. Peach stone.
That’s what we’d say. But you might say it differently ’cause there are a lot of regional differences. So, you can tell us if that’s the case. Yeah, you can contact us. And teach us. Yeah. Perhaps, if you’re Australian, you can teach us even more. If you enjoyed this video, please give it a like and share it with your friends and family. That is all I have to say and see you later.



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