Extract from a letter to a British friend

It’s odd for me to cast my mind back to England. British TV programmes that people rave about on Facebook are a mystery to me; British weather forecasts seem shockingly cold (it was 0c in the UK last Friday whilst we walking around in shorts and 32C sunshine). It’s weird how your memory can’t remember if you had to wear a jumper in May in England. Then of course there’s the fact that I no longer say “jumper” to talk about a “pullover” since a “jumper” is a little girl’s school dress. The same language, used differently. I get annoyed about UK prejudices toward America and American misunderstandings of British ‘ways’. I would say it makes me mad – but then that does not make sense here where you must instead say “it makes me cross”. Mad people are…well, crazy people…although, confusingly, crazy people are cross. It’s a wonder I manage to understand a word people say sometimes.

It was a long letter…sometimes saying “no” nicely requires it.


2 thoughts on “Extract from a letter to a British friend

  1. We must continue to discuss the niceties of US v. UK English when we’re less than 7,000 miles distant. In my little midwestern and southeastern corners of the US, “It makes me mad” generally meant “It makes me angry.” “It makes me cross” would likely be heard from my maiden aunt, who was rather strident about precise use of language. Some of my exploits as a child made Mrs. Pittman, my 4th grade schoolteacher “cross,” and at the same time made my father “mad.” “Mad” as a substitute for “crazy” was seldom used except by people referring to the proverbial Hatter. “Mad” would have ruined Roland Gift’s lyrics in any case. I hope that clears it up.

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