QUESTIONS AND TASKS 1. Which is more useful to you — British or American English? Work in pairs and say why.
2. Read the dialogue and find the differences between the English and the American languages. American ‘Bill’. A ‘bill’ is paper money. You have a ‘dollar bill’, a ‘five-dollar bill’ and so on.
Englishman Right. We call that a ‘bank note’. ‘Trousers’ are an item of clothing.
American Oh. I know what trousers are! Yes… we call them ‘pants’.
Englishman Oh, right.
American Oh, the snack food that’s round and flat and fried and thin and very crisp, we call them ‘chips… potato chips’.
Englishman Oh, right. Cold, you mean? We call those, ‘crisps’. You buy them in a packet… ‘crisps’. ‘Car park’, is a place where you park cars.
American We call that a ‘parking lot’. If I need some medicine or something like that I go to see the ‘druggist’.
Englishman Right. Oh, is that a place or a person?
American No, the place is the ‘drugstore’, the ‘druggist’ is the person who’ll give me the medicine.
Englishman Right, we call that a ‘chemist’ — but that’s the name of the shop. A ‘state school’ is a school, which is funded by the state, it’s the opposite of a private school, in other words.
American Oh yes, we call that ‘public school’.
Englishman Oh, right.
American Water in a sink comes out of a ‘faucet’.
Englishman Ah yes, we call that a ‘tap’. ‘Traffic lights’ — do you know what those are? When you’re driving along the road, and you have to stop because there are lights…
American You have to stop. So we call them ‘stop lights’.
Englishman ‘Stop lights’. Right…
American When I get a hamburger I also like to get ‘French fries’ which are the strips of fried potato.
Englishman Oh, right — ‘chips’, we call those. When you travel around, for example in London on the train under the ground, that’s called the ‘underground’.
American No. It’s called a ‘subway’, that’s what we call it. I fill my car with ‘gas’.
Englishman Ah yes, we call that ‘petrol’. There’s another item of clothing — a ‘waistcoat’.
American Oh, yeah, that men wear. We call that a ‘vest’.
Englishman That’s right, it doesn’t have any sleeves, yeah? ‘Vest’… yeah.
American Every town in America has a ‘main street’ where all the shops are.
Englishman Oh, right… No, we call that the ‘high street’. Same thing, ‘high street’.


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