Britishisms, Americanisms and What Our English Says About Us
With a foreword by Lynne Truss. An expat’s witty, insightful exploration of British and American cultural differences through the lens of language
A lifelong Anglophile, Erin Moore spent holidays in the UK, worked as an editor with British authors and married into an English-American family. So, when she finally moved to London, the last thing she expected was a crash course in culture shock. And the first thing she learned was to take nothing for granted, even the language these two countries supposedly share.
In That’s Not English, the seemingly superficial variations between British and American vocabulary open the door to a deeper exploration of historical and cultural differences. Each chapter begins with a single word and takes the reader on a wide-ranging expedition, drawing on diverse and unexpected sources. In ‘Quite’, Moore examines the tension between British reserve and American enthusiasm. In ‘Pull’, her theme is dating and sex; ‘Cheers’ is about drinking.
American readers will find out what the British mean when they say ‘proper’ and why it is better to be bright than clever. British readers will discover that not all Americans are Yankees and why Americans give – and take – so many bloody compliments, and never, ever say ‘shall’. (Well, hardly ever.)
That’s Not English is a transatlantic survival guide and a love letter to two countries that owe each other more than they would like to admit.
“Lively, thought-provoking book”
Brian Viner, Daily Mail
“As many of us know, straddling the Atlantic can be quite uncomfortable—and it doesn’t help that the word ‘quite’ doesn’t always mean what you think it means. This is a brilliant guide to the revealing differences between two branches of English from a writer who is funny, smart, and almost worryingly observant. I was charmed from first to last. As an English person I will say, ‘Oh, jolly well done,’ but I’d like to add: ‘Good job!”
“The ocean that divides England and America is awash with linguistic wreckage and cultural tumult. But Erin Moore’s study of these infested waters is serene, assured and hugely entertaining. They should hand her book out at border control”
Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type
“As an American expatriate and book editor who lives in London, Moore is in an ideal position to see the truth to the longstanding joke that British English and American English are different languages. In this witty book, Moore delves into specific linguistic differences, unpacking what they say about our respective cultures. Moore manages to create a text that is eminently readable, clever (in the sincerely-intended American sense) and thought-provoking, gently breaking down some of the cultural stereotyping that plagues both Americans and British. The end result is something readers can readily share with friends on both sides of the ocean.”
“clever, witty and thoroughly engaging”
“A new fascinating exploration of the words that Americans and Brits both use and how they can have different meanings altogether… Moore is a very engaging writer… an excellent springboard for more research into the history of our magnificent and maddening language.”
Anglotopia, Book of the Year