Ask an American to explain the rules of baseball and they’ll begin ‘Oh, it’s really very simple…’ Then they’ll give some of the most complex instructions you’ve ever heard. Ask a Brit to explain the rules of cricket and they’ll start with ‘Oh, it’s rather complicated I’m afraid…’ Then they’ll launch into rules of equal complexity.
Both are being polite and friendly in their different ways: the American aiming to include and the Brit apologizing for imposition.
Welcome to my world! I’m a British English teacher living in the US and learning to speak ‘merican. Pragmatics and the structuring of the discourse have been my biggest learning challenge. To function well, I have to frame my thoughts differently in the two varieties.
It took me many years to get to a point where I could blog about ‘merican English, but my ‘merican colleagues say I’ve now reached intermediate. Yay! It’s time to share…