Monday, March 16, 2009

The Clash of Cultures

No not between me and Africa. Rather, the US and the UK!

In the Office/Guest House, lives Renee (Canadian, but fairly US-unized because she lived there for so many years). Now Me, and long long term is Ruth. Ruth is from Manchester, England.

So, last night we somehow got on the topic of words we say differently. I think it started with Renee asking Ruth if she says "Pop" or "Soda". Ruth seemed confused, so Renee clarified by asking what she calls carbonated beverages. While Ruth was thinking, Renee said she says CB. "May I have a CB please?" Ruth says she says Fizzy Drink. And as we looked on in questioning belief, she said that when she's at a restaurant, she asks if they serve fizzy drinks. So, on the conversation went, until the inevitable topic of ALUMINUM foil came up. Of course the British say "Aluminium" (a-loo-MIH-nee-uhm). But seriously, there's no extra "i" anywhere in the packaging. I have done a THOROUGH search of this, and even Ruth concedes that there's no extra I in the word, but THAT IS THE WAY IT IS PRONOUNCED. She says the ENGLISH KNOW their ENGLISH.

I even looked it up on Wikipedia, and THIS is the first sentence in their entry:

Aluminium foil (known as aluminum foil in North America) is aluminium prepared in thin metal leafs, with a thickness less than 0.2 mm / 0.008 in, although much thinner gauges down to 0.006 mm are commonly used.
As opposed to OUR Aluminum foil (correctly spelled and pronounced, Renee and I might add).

But, SERIOUSLY, THIS is how it's spelled:

Renee thought we could settle the dispute by seeing how the Kenyans spell it, seeing as how they were a British colony until the 1960's, this seemed reasonable. So, she pulled open the drawer where we keep such supplies and, Voila! this is what we found...
I need your help - please weigh in your thoughts on this topic. WHICH way is correct?


  1. Concede. English is from England - so linguistically speaking, the language originates with them and we have adapted and Americanized it. That's my two cents anyway, if you wanted input from a random stranger! :P
    Nice blog!

  2. Thanks for reading AND commenting, Sarah, even though that's one vote for Ruth. :) How did you come across my blog? I always think it's so interesting the connections.

  3. this post is MY LIFE. seriously- mick and i have these "to-MAY-to", "to-MAH-to" conversations nearly every day of my life. so who is right? everyone is right. if the brits and the aussies want to stick extra letters in anywhere they please, well, i guess it's their right. if we want to take them out and simplify things, i guess we can. cause we're bigger. so there. ha!

    when i was living in indo w/ canadians, americans, brits, aussies and kiwis it made for some very interesting conversations. but this was my fav: my friend louise (from melbourne) was calling home to some friends after she had been teaching in indo for a while and they wanted the scoop on the american teachers.
    friends:"so what are the yanks REALLY like?"
    louise: "ummm... they are really nice."
    friends: "no really. what are they like after they stop being fake? rude?"
    louise: "ummmm.... noooooo.... they are really some of the nicest people I've ever met."
    friends: "OH COME ON!!! give us the scoop!!!"
    louise: "sorry... i really like them!!!"

    our reputation precedes us and our foreign policy doesn't help, but one at a time we are pretty tolerable!!! :-)

  4. This discussion totally cracks me up. I think I will begin calling foil Aluminium foil just for something different! I usually call it tin foil anyway!