Mind The Gap!

Mind The Gap! has been prepared to assist all comers to these British shores in navigating that most perfidious and obscure of all expat challenges, the lingo.

In truth, this could be a useful tool in reverse for Brits abroad but everywhere else, we mean what we say so the point is probably moot.

The below represents the views and experiences of the author and whoever else she can earbash at the time. All idioms, ideas and idiosyncracies have been pinched without prejudice...and without apology.

The Definitive Anglo-EU Translation Guide

When they say: It was quite good
...others think: I did a good job/thing
...but what they meant was: I was mildly disappointed

When they say: I was a bit disappointed that...
...others think: Oops sorry (and I've moved on now thinking that you will too)
...but what they meant was: I am most upset and cross

When they say: I'll bear it in mind
...others think: Good - the idea is on the table
...but what they meant was: I will do nothing about it

When they say: I'm sure it's my fault
...others think: Really? I'm sure it was mine but obviously I'm off the hook
...but what they meant was: We both know it's your fault

When they say: Could we consider some other options?
...others think: OK, let me do some more work
...but what they meant was: I have a much better idea than yours
...others think: They have not yet decided
...but what they meant was: I don't like your idea

When they say: I hear what you say
...others think: He accepts my point of view
...but what they meant was: I disagree and do not want to discuss it further

When they say: With the greatest respect...
...others think: He's listening to me
...but what they meant was: I think you are an idiot

When they say: That's not bad
...others think: That's poor
...but what they meant was: That's good

When they say: That's a very brave proposal
...others think: He thinks I have courage
...but what they meant was: I think you are insane

When they say: Quite good
...others think: Quite good
...but what they meant was: A bit disappointing

When they say: I would suggest...
...others think: Think about the idea but do what you like
...but what they meant was: Do it or be prepared to justify yourself

When they say: Oh incidentally/by the way
...others think: That is not very important
...but what they meant was: The primary purpose of our discussion is...

When they say: Very interesting
...others think: They are impressed
...but what they meant was: That's clearly nonsense

When they say: You must come for dinner
...others think: I will get an invitation soon
...but what they meant was: I'm just being polite, it's not an invitation

When they say: I almost agree
...others think: He's not far away from agreement
....but what they meant was: I don't agree at all

When they say: I only have a few minor comments
...others think: There are just a few typos
...but what they meant was: Please rewrite it completely

Cockney Rhyming Slang
or What The F**k Are You Talking About?

I found this great clip on youtube which has inspired me to add a section on this extremely confusing element of the English language...have a butcher's at this:

Returning the Favour

OK so perhaps when I said everyone else means what they say, I stretched the truth a little. After all, Aussie slang is amongst the most confusing in the world. To this end, The Australian Times have put together a series, A Guide To Aussie Slang to help you navigate dialogue Down Under. It's a little ripsnorter.


Anonymous said...

Made me laugh. So true. We either understate what we mean or mean the exact opposite.

Unknown said...

Phew! Agreement from a Brit...thought I may get a few 'protest too much' type comments from readers of the indigenous kind! It's obviously safe to go back in the water...