DpChallenge: Manner of speaking: He says tom(A)to, I say tom(AR)to

02 May
You say tomato, I say tomatoe

You say tomato, I say tomatoe (Photo credit: dynet)

Being British and married to an American it’s not unusual for us to debate language… In particular the pronunciation of certain words…or just ‘anything with an ‘A’’ as my husband often says.
He says Ass, I say ARse
He says pAss, I say pARss
He says lAst, I say lARst

One that always makes me l(AR)ugh is the way he says hOrrible. He says whore-able so I always make fun of him for that one; I say patronise while he says pate-ronise -like patriot which he always uses as his argument for being right on that one. (I realise from the examples I’ve used it seems like we don’t say many NICE things to each other lol but that’s not the case)

We have fun with it, its not unusual for him to pick up on a word or phrase I’ve said in my accent…and then mimic it…in the worst cockney accent EVER. In fact, when we first met he would frequently say the words ‘guvnor’ and ‘me lord’ in THAT cockney voice – terrible. I mean WHO – apart from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins- sounds like that?? To get him back I’ll do my best American accent and reply with ‘totally aweeesuuuummm’ or (my favourite) ‘don’t you thiiiink, this is kiiiiiiinnd or ridiculouuuus?’ However my American accent sounds like a reeeally camp Lloyd Grossman (Google him) …the total opposite of my husbands deep Mississippi twang.

Aside from pronunciation and accents…(Not to mention the spelling…but don’t get me started on spelling!!) there’s also the complete replacement of certain words. Pants instead of trousers, trash or garbage instead of rubbishcart instead of trolley…At first it was amusing, endearing and a novelty but after a while you adapt, it merges and it becomes part of your own language. I will often purposely say the american version i.e. are your ‘pants’ (meaning jeans) clean or dirty? -If only to make life easier and to avoid having to clarify which word I mean every time I say something but the whole ‘as in pants pants? or underwear pants?’ conversation still happens because he assumes I’m going to be stubborn and stick to ‘my’ words. *sigh* I may as well say it MY way every time.

Fanny Pack!

Fanny Pack! (Photo credit: jrambow)

There are a few things I flat out refuse to say and vow I will never convert to. I will NEVER call crisps… ‘chips’ (thankfully I don’t eat them often enough to ever warrant me having to ask for them in public) I will NEVER call my bum my ‘fanny’ (eurgh) and I will NEVER call jam ‘jelly’…he feels the same about saying some of ‘his words’ my way…and neither of us call cigarettes ‘fags’ so I think that’s a fair compromise.

I do often forget that he’s American and I’m not…or that I’m British and he’s not… because hearing it everyday becomes the norm. Its only when we confuse each other with alien vocabulary or one of his American friends asks me to say a certain word in ‘my accent’ *rolls eyes* that I’m reminded of the difference…I’m sure one day my accent will fuse into the British/American slur that I have managed to avoid so far and those friends will stop asking…so for now I’m embracing our differences and MY British words in MY British accent…

More tea me-lord?



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24 responses to “DpChallenge: Manner of speaking: He says tom(A)to, I say tom(AR)to

  1. beetleypete

    May 2, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Spot on B. We have to resist this intrusion wherever possible!
    There are some examples here too, one of the best known is Scone. Should it be ‘SKOAN’, or SCONNE’? I go with ‘SKOAN’, and cite the pronunciation of BONE and TONE as evidence. Nobody ever says ‘I have a BONNE in my body’ do they? And no musicians ever refer to the ‘nice TONNE’ of an instrument either.
    My own take on the American ‘question’ was posted on my blog in August 2012, here is a link;

    As ever, Pete. X

  2. Charles Yallowitz

    May 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Maybe I’m not up on my condiments, but I always thought jam and jelly were two different things. Jelly is kind of flat while jam is thick and wiggles like jell-o. As for the different words, I think it happens to most couples. I’m from southern New York (Long Island) and my wife is from northern New York (Buffalo). Even from the same state, we have words that the other finds bizarre. Mostly, she says pop instead of soda. Drives me nuts since I’m the one who drinks it and she can’t stand the stuff.

    • Annabel Lee

      May 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      My family is from NYC and Mass. my grandmother used to call the sofa a davenport – does that sound familiar to you?

      • Charles Yallowitz

        May 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        I’ve only heard the term as a fancy last name for fictional characters. I only know of sofa or couch.

    • Comfortably Numb

      May 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      For us jelly is the stuff you have with ice cream and jam is what you spread on toast xB

      • Charles Yallowitz

        May 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        Never had jelly on ice cream. I’ve had hot chocolate syrup and melted peanut butter, but never jelly. I learned something new. 🙂

  3. belovedahava

    May 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I’m American and my husband is Australian. We have the same discussions. He thinks I say anything with “ash” in it funny. Like, nasally, I guess. Meanwhile, I always inwardly giggle when he calls pizza “pizzar” or sofa “sofer”. He adds R to words that don’t have it, because he steals them from words that do. “Babe, I’m gonna leave the cah at the ayport and bring a cab. Will you get me a pizzar and have it waiting by the sofer when I get home?”
    And, I a midwest chick now call people “gits” or “sooks” (not sure about the spelling) and ask if they want lollies.

  4. Doggy's Style

    May 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    This is funny, at home it’s Spanish and English, I’ve given up English, but he knows there’s something wrong when I start speaking English, it means I’m either drunk or totally pissed. I can’t argue in Spanish, can’t find nice curse words.

    • Comfortably Numb

      May 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Ha ha see for me totally pissed is the same as being drunk 😉

      • Doggy's Style

        May 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        hahahaha I thought about it when I sent it the message.

  5. Annabel Lee

    May 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    This made me smile! I’m with you, Charles – I always thought jam had bits and chunks of fruit in it and jelly didn’t.

    • Comfortably Numb

      May 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Exactly. Jam is what you spread on toast – or scones lol, jelly is gelatine, wobbly and served shaped like a breast with ice cream…

  6. beetleypete

    May 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    They are never going to get it B. Pavement/Sidewalk/Elevator/Lift/Underground/Subway/Sofa and Couch; it is just never ending. Treat them like the ‘foreigners’ they are! We wouldn’t debate it with someone from China, or Bulgaria, in the same way. We are right, because we are English. Everyone else is wrong, because they only ‘borrowed’ our language… (Only joking- Honest!) X

    • Comfortably Numb

      May 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      ha ha so basically they steal our language, twist it and throw it back at us

  7. WyndyDee

    May 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Wyndy Dee.

  8. greenembers

    May 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I shall leave with you with a joke that I read in Reader’s Digest so very long ago. An American was visiting England and at the hotel he got into the small argument with the bellhop about the terminology of the elevator. The American insisted that it was an “elevator” and the bellhop insisted that it was a “lift”. The American getting frustrated and finally said, “Look, it is called an elevator, it was an American who invented the thing!” He grinned thinking he had won the argument with that statement but the bellhop responded, “Right, but we invented the language.”

    Can’t argue with that, lol!


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