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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Dec 2008
    • Posts: 91

    Vocabulary in American and British English


    When I come out a new word that has different equivalents in American and British English (like faucet & tap) shall I study both variants? Will Americans understand those 'British' words and expressions? And inversely, how will it sound for a British man if I say, for instant, 'Turn on the faucet, please' ?
    So, this is the question about the learning strategy.

    P.S. In pronunciation I try to stick to British variant.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,269

    Re: Vocabulary in American and British English

    We (Americans) do fine with most British words (lorry, boot).

    A few still take me by surprise until I remember (jumper, vest, pants), but then, I read a lot of British novels.

    Some people will be utterly confused or not know why you think it's funny when they referred to someone's "pants."

    However, it's nothing to worry about, and you'll have the opportunity to fix any misunderstanding. If you're modeling your pronunication on British English, I'd stick with BrE vocabulary as well. (It's the same for the vast majority of the words. Even with your example of "faucet" and "tap," both are widely used in the US.)

  3. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,849

    Re: Vocabulary in American and British English

    An American visitor complained that he had learned that fag is a cigarette and had practised saying it only to find out that everyone was calling them tabs.

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