Life & Stuff

Speaking English in England


I spent two and half months in Germany without a problem, but as we touched down in England, I am having communication issues.

What language do they speak in England? Trick question of course, but not the English that you’d expect to hear. At least for me.

The ‘Quilt’

It happened as soon as our first day. Having moved into our new flat, we were in need of supplies and household items. So I walked into one of the many charity shops on the high street looking for good quality beloved items.

“Excuse me. Have you got any donnas?”

“Doonas?” The shop volunteer looked quizzically at me.

“Err… quilts?”

“Quilts? Ah they are all hung up there.”

I go where the shop volunteers indicated and found a row of donna covers. Right. Quilts are covers. Lesson #1 learned.

I tried again.

“Have you got any blankets?”

“Sure, they are piled here.”

Of course, blankets are blankets. I was out of options.

“Sorry, I can’t seem to get the right word. Have you got those things that you put inside the quilts?”

He thought for a while. “You mean duvets?”

DUVETS! That’s the word!

The ‘Pants’

This is something I am glad I didn’t learn the hard way. Pants are pants, right? No. Pants are underpants. Trousers, are the ‘pants’ you wear. Trousers, not pants. Remember.

The ‘Brew’

Back in 2006, I had already experienced the differences in our English language. We were visiting my husband’s cousins in Manchester and upon having just woken up, I greeted everyone in the kitchen.

“Good morning there Amy! Want a brew?”

I narrowed my eyes at my husband. It’s 10am. I’ve heard about the British enthusiasm for a drink, but this early?

“Darling, a brew is a cup of tea.”


Have you also encountered any funny situations where you thought you understood the language, but really didn’t?

Share your thoughts below!