British Abbreviations. Learn about English short forms

There are abbreviations in British English that Americans don’t use – words like brolly and chippie. I wonder if you know them? This video is about some differences in British and American abbreviations and you’ll learn some common British short forms. We made this video after the collaboration we did with other ESL YouTubers for the World Story-Telling Day Project.


Click here to see the story we made for World Story-Telling Day
Click here to learn about lots more British and American differences.

Abbreviations Video Transcript

Hi everyone. This lesson’s a little different to normal because last Sunday was World Storytelling Day. We got together with five other YouTube teachers to create a story. Did you see it? Click here if not.
Do you remember the names of the girls in the story? They were called Lilly and Philly. Now Philly is an abbreviation of Phyllis and it’s also the abbreviation for Philadelphia – the city where I live.
Philly is in the United States, but I come from England originally. And I’ve noticed something interesting. We seem to have some abbreviations in British English that they don’t have here in American English. So I thought I’d try some on Jay.

You know what my theory is, Jay.
What’s your theory?
You hear me but you don’t listen.
Of course I listen.
OK, here’s your first question.
When do you need a brolly? A brolly.
When it’s raining.
Very good. What is a brolly?
It’s an umbrella.
Excellent. Excellent. OK, second question. When do I wear a cossie? A cossie.
I have no clue.
I’ll give you a clue. When we go on holiday, I like to wear a cossie.
A swimming costume. That’s what we call a bathing suit.
A swimming costume. You call it a bathing suit in American English, but in British English it’s a swimming costume. Bathing suit sounds very old fashioned to us. It’s a bit strange in British English. OK, next question. OK. What would you find at a chippie? At a chippie.
Saw dust?
Ummm. You can find something to eat at a chippie.
A chips place, like, like…
Yeah, fish and chips. French fries and fish.
No, fish and chips. Or shish and fips as we used to say when I was a kid.
Right, erm…
The last question. Now this one’s different to the others. It’s an odd man out question. I’m going to give you four words and you have to tell me which one is the odd man out. Here are the words. Cabbie. Hubby. Postie. Brickie.
OK, a cabbie is a cab driver. We say the same thing in America. Hubby we also say is short for husband. Postie I’m guessing is a mail man.
You’re doing better than I thought you would.
And I don’t know what a brickie is.
A brickie is a brick layer. Someone who lays bricks.
Ah. So the brick layer, the cabbie and the postman, or mail man, they’re all workers. The hubby may or may not be. So the hubby is the odd man out.
That’s right. So you did pretty well there, Jay.
Well, I’ve been around you long enough to have picked up a few things.
OK, in that case you can translate for us now.
I’ll try.

Let’s take a break.
Yeah, let’s have a cuppa.
She means a cup of tea.
Let’s have a cuppa and a bickie too.
A biscuit. She means a cookie.
Let’s have a cuppa and a chockie bickie.
A cup of tea and a chocolate cookie.
Sounds good to me!

I hope you enjoyed the abbreviations and I hope you enjoyed the story. A big thank you to English with Jennifer for organising it, and the channels of all the other terrific teachers who took part. And don’t forget to subscribe to them.

Click here to see the story we made for World Story-Telling Day
Click here to learn about lots more British and American differences.

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