Monday, January 26, 2009

BRITISH Words!!!

Driving home from the London Temple Saturday reminded me of my very first drive there almost four years ago… Some of you have heard this story before, but I found a particular need to post it today, mainly to preserve it for future prosperity. Since we are moving from England soon, and it will eventually become a lost story mangled with other bits of memories and daily crazy happenings:

So as any other American who comes to England for their first time realizes, we are a “Country Divided By A Common Language”… Or in other words, They don’t talk like us… Ok so we know the English/British don’t have the same accent as us, but they don’t talk us either. They use completely different words for different meanings!

For example: Pants to us mean, well.. uh pants… (Jeans, sweats, trousers, slacks, khaki’s… anything that is long, thicker than tights and covers your legs.)
The definition of Pants in England is: Underwear… as in Panties or briefs or boxers…
Yeah, so if you happen to be traveling on the train with say with a bunch of different UK citizens… they don’t want to hear you tell your friend that your pants are dirty. And no one wants to know if they’re holey or ripped either. Also if you ask a complete stranger if she likes your pants, or if they look OK.. you are asking to get slapped. All true experiences of instances that have happened to me or my friends…

The list goes on and on: French Fries in the UK are called Chips and Chips are called Crisps, A pavement is really a sidewalk, not the road. A pacifier is called a Dummy (??? Don’t wanna know why!) A Diaper is a Nappy. Braces are the word for suspenders (Not something to fix your teeth) and Suspenders is their word for Garters. A Hood on a car is really a Bonnet over here (don’t ask why) and the Trunk is called a Boot. When you order Yorkshire Pudding in England, expect to get a Roll called a Popover in the States. Pudding is a word they use for ALL desserts and Custard is what we call Pudding. These are just a few, if you’re somewhat fascinated by our different use of the same language, you call follow this link and find a WHOLE lot more:

My blog today is all about the Word: Queue. Yes, this is a REAL word. It is used here everyday by millions of Brits. We say it too… except the spelling looks like this: Cue, or Que (If you’re Spanish) or my favorite Q. Yep, the letter, q. That is exactly how you would pronounce this word. But what I didn’t know was this meant Traffic Jam or Waiting in Line (Waiting in a Queue)…

So as my hubby and I trekked out to the temple for the first time in 2004, we were amazed to see this completely foreign word posted on signs all around us: The signs read,
“Warning Queues Ahead Drive Carefully” Or
“Slow DOWN! Queues!” and my favorite:
“Please start slowing your vehicle now or you may find yourself experiencing an accident or casualty as there are queues most likely ahead.” YES! Actual British road sign written in small print to fit it all. Of course, as we drove past at 65-70 miles per hour I could only read: Please start slowing- before we were past the sign. (Took us about 8 times to finally read the whole sign! Hahaha!)

Well there we are, freaked out and completely curious to what a Queue is. We had become convinced it was some sort of animal…our conversation went something like this:

Wife: A Kwe-we? What’s a Kwe-we?
Hubby: Kwe-we? I don’t think you’re saying it right… I think it’s Kway-wa.
Wife: Kway-wa? No, are you crazy…? It’s Spelled Q-U-E-U-E, Kwe-we…OH! We’re slowing down! Look around, tell me if you see one!
Hubby: What do you think a Kway-wa looks like?
Wife: I don’t know… but if a Kwe-we is in the middle of the road it’s gotta be something like a cow. Or-
Hubby: Maybe it’s a new species of Deer?
Wife: Yeah! You know how they have those road signs in the States for deer crossing… Maybe this is Kwe-we crossing.
Hubby: Kway-wa.
Wife: I really think you’re right, it probably does look like a deer… look at the hedges it has to jump over! Ooh, honey do you see anything??? Do you think it’ll have gigantic curling horns???
Hubby: What? Uh-I don’t know, maybe..?
Wife: I can’t wait to tell the kids!
Hubby: Seeing a Kway-wa would be something. MAN, I wish I’d brought my camera with me… Wife: Kwe-we.
Hubby: Kway-wa. I can’t believe I forgot my camera!
Wife: Wow! We must be getting close, we’ve actually slowed to a stop.. Look ahead, do you see anything?
Hubby: Just rows and rows of cars….
Wife: Do you think they’re just around the bend there?
Hubby: Maybe a whole herd.
Wife: A whole herd of Kwe-wes! Greg! How cool would that be! You don’t think they’d do damage to the car do you???
Hubby: I don’t know- Hey! We’re movin’ again, look around.
Wife: I’ll look on this side, you look on that side. Do you see anything?
Hubby: Nope, no Kway-was anywhere.
Wife: Kwe-wes. Oh man! We’re going faster now… and there’s no animals at all on the side of the road… We must’ve missed them.
Hubby: They probably went right into that hedge over there… see that hole? Can you make out some movement or something?
Wife: Nothing. Wow! Can you believe it, a whole herd of Kwe-wes and we didn’t’ see one!
Hubby: Don’t worry too much, there’s signs for Kway-was everywhere, so we’re bound to have a chance to see them again.
Wife: I hope so… Hey, maybe we could google it!


  1. LOL. That totally sounds like something I would do. You're killing me. I love that conversation between you and Mark. Mark? Or Marc? Hmm. "K" or "C" Whatever, they're pronounced the same way (unlike the rare deer from your story).

  2. goofy!

    I've been studying out the british phrases and have gotten pretty good at understanding them these days. I've got some british people in my wip. I still worry that is will sound totally american trying to sound british, so I have some brits lined up to read when it's ready. Whew!

  3. You 2 are hilarious!!!! I am just laughing my bum off!! I can't wait to get there just to laugh at you 2! Speaking of, I need to book my flights...and I want to connect with you if possible. We need a good 3-way to plan it all out!

  4. Hahahah! believe it or not, I know the word queue! AND I know what it means in British! Yay me! LOL Of course if I got over there and they expected me to drive on the wrong side of the road they should just send the ambulance along behind me.

  5. hehe. Fun with words. I had Brit friends in college and love watching me some BBC, so am pretty familiar. "Luv, might I pinch a fag?" :)

  6. kasie--LOL! It's Mark. LOL! And glad you love our arguments! hahaha! They crack me up too!

    Lois-Smart! You definitely want to have some Brits looking at it! LOL They realy do speak so much differently than we do.

    Kari-LOL! YES! Hurry! let's book flights! I can't wait to see you!

  7. Jenn--LOL! Don't even get me started on driving on the wrong side of the road! ACK! That was so terrifying at first. Of course now the trick will be to learn how to drive in the US again!

    Angie--hahahah! It took us forever to learn that they were asking for a cigarette! hahah! Gotta love Brit Speak! LOL

  8. When I was over there last October, my friends were all talking about the "scrummy puddings" they always had. And I thought, really? Pudding? You always have pudding? Doesn't it get a little boring? Hahaha...

  9. I love how you guys deduced all on your own what a Queue was and then were totally bummed when you didn't see one!! Hilarious!

  10. melissa! hahah! We were so excited to eat our meal that came with Pudding LOL! Imagine our surprise when we found out it was a popover. so odd. And then when the waiter came over and asked if we wanted some pudding after our meal, I think we both looked at him like he was nuts! LOL!

    Candi--yeah, can you tell we've lived in countries where we didn't speak the language? LOL! You have to do a lot of making stuff up! hahah!

  11. Amazing how we can speak English, yet the words have such different meanings in England.That's funny about the pants.

    Morgan Mandel

  12. I think it would be so much fun to hear the language like that and learn it! We went to Paris for vacation once and it was awesome! BTW, the word for line (can't spell it) is almost the same in French--maybe it is but my memory is gone!!
    When do you move?

  13. As a Brit it is just so funny to see how Mad we look to you guys!!
    I think the only really weird 'word moment' I had in the States was when my friend talked about erbs. We were Totally Misunderstanding each other until she pointed out an erb, and I saw she meant HHHHHerb. Phew. Problem solved.
    Great post!

  14. Morgan! Holy cow, those pants thing is soo funny! We still do it ALL the time! LOL!

    Terri--Yeah, queue is french, and it means waiting in a line or traffic jam here! LOL We move to Provo, UT on the 5th of June

    Ladybird--Welcome! And thanks! LOL! I know... I couldn't believe ya'll didn't have more trouble with my accent and sayings over here.. until one of my friends pointed out that she grew up on american TV and movies... and then it was like Duh! LOL!