Are You Speaking English?

Did you know that English speakers sometimes have difficulty understanding each other? Having worked with and gotten to know people from different English-speaking countries while living here in Japan, I have been exposed to a few of the many English dialects. English dialects differ between countries and also regions within countries just like in Japan. English dialects differ in pronunciation, word usage, grammar and spelling. To those not accustomed to a certain dialect, it can seem like the other person is not speaking correct English or in some cases, English at all. This happened to me when I took my first trip out of the U.S. I went to the U.K. with my family to visit some relatives who live near London. At the airport in London, an airport worker asked me, “Are you here on holiday?” To this I answered, “No, I’m here on vacation.” The airport worker chuckled, and my father quickly informed me that “holiday” meant “vacation” in the U.K. So, what caused the confusion? It was a different understanding of the word “holiday”. Below is a chart that explains the differences.                                                                                         Erik


                                   What to use? Holiday or Vacation

 Holiday in the USA                                                 Holiday in the UK

 A single day when banks, schools                            A time when we do not go to school

 and offices are closed.                                            or work, and can travel or relax.

The holidays                                                           Vacation in the UK

The time that includes Christmas,                             A period of the year when universities

Hanukkah and the New Year.                                    are officially closed for the students.

 Vacation in the USA

 A time when we do not go to school

 or work and can travel or relax