What different words do you have for the same things?

Does the question even make sense?

What I meant was;

In my country we say robots, but in the UK they're traffic light.
Or we say braai and they say barbeque.
Or tekkies, and trainers.
There's so many of these!


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Well, I think this question only works well for people who actually come from some English speaking country.
    However, I do have something that might amuse you a bit too. In Switzerland, our society, media and economy have made up a lot of pseudo-English words. This has different reasons but one of them is of course that English is considered a prestige language in most western European nations, including Switzerland. The funny thing about these words is that while they sound very English, they're not actual English words (you wouldn't find them in any decent dictionary such as the Merriam Webster and you would most likely not be understood by native English speakers). Still, most of these words are already so ingrained in our culture that we use them on an every-day basis (some of them have even replaced the original Swiss word) and most people don't even know that these words are only "fake" English.
    Here's a few examples:
    - Probably the most commonly used is "Handy". A "Handy" is a cell phone. You can probably guess where this comes from: it's a device that is or comes in handy.
    - A scooter (for kids) is a "kickboard" in Swiss English
    - A voicebox (on your phone) is called a "mailbox" in Switzerland
    - An "Oldtimer" has nothing to do with a senior citizen because in Switzerland, that's a vintage car
    - A "public viewing" has absolutely nothing to do with some kind of public funeral or any of that sort. In Switzerland, a "public viewing" is a public outdoor screening. For example during the soccer world cup, our cities put up huge screens in the parks where you can have a beer and watch the game with hundreds of other people
    - A "shooting star" is the name for a successful newcomer in the music or movie industry
    - A tramper has nothing to do with a homeless person but it is a neutral (non-perjorative) word for the real English hitchhiker. "Tramping" consequently means to be hitchhiking.

    There are many more of these words and sometimes it can be extremely hard not to mix them up with the real English word when talking to a native speaker (even for a person like myself who studies English linguistics). It happens so fast that you say something like "Last Sunday I drove my oldtimer to a nearby public viewing with a couple of friends" and the native English speaker you're having a conversation with just looks at you in complete confusion ;-).

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    • That's so cool! Public viewing I would have guessed correctly if someone said that to me, and I could probably have figured out Handy and Oldtimer, but still!

What Guys Said 2

  • Are you south African?

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    • Yuppp

    • Show All
    • Ja, most of us south Africans are like that :) I'm living back in the mother land now though haha, but I've picked up songwriting slang that people here don't understand :L guess I'll always be the girls with the strange words haha

    • Nah, if they take the time to get to know you, they will understand you. It's good to be different, it's attractive, especially if you live in a different country to your own. But it could still apply to you, as you brought new words back home nobody has 😀

  • I say Chaysus instead of Jaysus, which is what you're meant to say instead of Jesus.

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What Girls Said 1

  • Umm.. Idk? Is there any example? :3
    But I think mostly they are the same..

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